The Dodgers bullpen got the necessary signatures required to submit another candidate for worst loss of the season, turning a 9-2 lead in the eighth inning into a stunning, soul-crushing 10-9 loss in Philadelphia. The tying and winning runs were driven in by none other than noted Dodger killer Carlos Ruiz, who is hitting .354/.466/.542 against them in his career.
Clayton Kershaw allowed just two runs in his 6 2/3 innings of work. He didn't walk any of the first 26 batters he faced, but back-to-back walks to Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins with two outs in the seventh inning brought the hook from Joe Torre. In his last 18 starts, Kershaw has walked 3.01 and struck out 9.10 batters per nine innings.
The Dodgers came out of the gates early today, scoring three runs in the first inning off Blanton, taking advantage with four hits and two walks. The Phillies crept closer with single runs in the second and fourth innings, but the Dodgers tacked on another run in the fifth thanks in part to a magnificent slide by Ryan Theriot. He was on third base with one out when Ronnie Belliard lined a ball to left fielder Raul Ibanez. The Tilde made a strong throw home but Theriot was able to maneuver his way around Carlos Ruiz and touch home plate with his hand in drive-by, or slide-by fashion.
The Dodgers added three runs in the top of the eighth inning, to pad their lead to a comfortable 9-2 cushion. But that's when things got interesting.
Ronald Belisario started the eighth inning, his second appearance since be activated from the restricted list. However, he did not retire a single batter, giving up three singles up the middle and a booming double to Ben Francisco, with a comical balk mixed in between. With Jayson Werth on first base, Belisario faked to third base before wheeling and faking to first. However, since nobody was on third base, MLB Rule 8.05 (d) came into play:
If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when --
The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play;
After four straight hits, Belisario was lifted in favor of Kenley Jansen, making his first ever appearance in the middle of an inning. Jansen got one out, on a tremendous diving stab by Casey Blake, then allowed another single up the middle to drive home the inherited run. George Sherrill was brought in, and retired both lefties he faced -- Domonic Brown and Ibanez -- with a walk to Rollins sandwiched in between.
The Dodgers still held a 9-6 lead going into the ninth inning, but Jonathan Broxton was terrible in the ninth inning, throwing only 10 of his 22 pitches for strikes. He hit Placido Polanco to begin the frame, then walked Mike Sweeney. After the walk to Sweeney, Torre visited the mound, imploring Broxton to "trust his stuff," but the pep talk didn't work, as Broxton walked Jayson Werth, too.
Ben Francisco followed with what should have been a double play ball, but it went right through the legs of Casey Blake, allowing two runs to score. Broxton then allowed the game-ending double to Ruiz, sealing the Dodgers fate.
- Scott Podsednik had two more hits and a walk tonight, and ended up reaching base eight times in 16 plate appearances in the series, with seven hits and a walk.
- Kemp now leads the club with 19 home runs and is second to James Loney with 67 runs batted in
- The ninth inning tonight featured Broxton unable to record an out, and Danys Baez facing the minimum three batters
- No, this isn't the worst late lead over the Phillies ever blown by the Dodgers. On August 21, 1990, the Dodgers held an 11-1 lead in the eighth inning, but lost 12-11
Hiroki Kuroda faces Tim Hudson to open the four-game wraparound series in Atlanta
WP - Danys Baez (3-3): 1 IP, 1 hit
LP - Jonathan Broxton (4-4): 0 IP, 1 hit, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, 1 HBP