Cole Hamels was his usual brilliant self against the Dodgers, out-pitching Hiroki Kuroda as the Phillies took the finale 2-0 on Wednesday night. Hamels allowed just six hits in eight scoreless innings, striking out nine. It was a close game, and there were a few pivotal moments that nearly all were bad news for the Dodgers.
After a 29-pitch bottom of the fifth, complete with a walk of the pitcher and a wild pitch that somehow didn't score Michael Martinez from third even though the throw by Rod Barajas happened to hit two people, Kuroda had no time to rest as the Dodgers had a 10-pitch top of the sixth, which featured a five-pitch at-bat by Kuroda (a strikeout). Then, after striking out Placido Polanco to begin the inning, Kuroda allowed a line drive home run to Ryan Howard and a double to Raul Ibanez, and all of a sudden Kuroda's night was done, out after 5 1/3 innings down just 1-0.
In the top of the seventh inning, Andre Ethier led off with a double and Matt Kemp followed with a single to right field, putting runners at first and third with nobody out, the Dodgers' best scoring opportunity of the night. Unfortunately, Juan Uribe popped out to second base on the first pitch, and was followed by a Marcus Thames strikeout and Rod Barajas pop out.
After a leadoff triple by Shane Victorino in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Dodgers brought the infield in and got what they wanted, a sharp ground ball off the bat of Domonic Brown to Jamey Carroll at second base. Unfortunately, Carroll's throw to home plate was wide to the first base side, allowing The Slidin' Hawaiian to score.
James Loney was sent to pinch hit off Hamels with one out and a runner on first base in the top of the eighth, and drew a 3-0 count. Loney, hitting .242/.292/.312 on the season and just .176/.232/.196 against left-handers, swung 3-0 and popped out weakly to left field. Keep in mind, the one thing Jerry Sands has done consistently well this season is hit left-handers, to the tune of .294/.400/.588, yet he sat on the bench against the southpaw Hamels.
Hamels is 3-0 in five regular season starts against the Dodgers with a 1.18 ERA. Counting the playoffs, Hamels is 6-0 in nine starts with a 2.19 ERA against the Dodgers.
Kemp and Ethier were each 2-for-4 on the night, but the rest of the team was just 3-for-25. In the Dodgers' last 13 games, their offense has been Jekyll & Hyde, scoring six or more runs six times, and scoring one run or less six times (they scored three runs in the other game).
Speaking of offense, it's off to Colorado for four games beginning Thursday night. Clayton Kershaw faces Juan Nicasio in the opener.
WP - Cole Hamels (8-2): 8 IP, 6 hits, 9 strikeouts
LP - Hiroki Kuroda (5-7): 5 1/3 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Ryan Madson (14): 1 IP, 1 hit