The Dodgers exploded for five runs in the first inning and built a 6-0 lead, but that wasn't enough, as the Phillies stormed back against Chad Billingsley and the bullpen to win 9-8 and complete their three-game sweep in Los Angeles.
Billingsley struggled from the outset, needing 15 pitches to retire the first batter of the game, Jimmy Rollins. Billingsley threw 30 pitches in the first and allowed a pair of baserunners, but escaped with no damage. The Phillies threatened again in the third inning, but Rollins was thrown out at the plate on a bizarre 8-3-2 putout as Rollins tried to sneak home on Matt Kemp's throw to the infield on a fly out.
All the pecking away by Philadelphia got to Billingsley in the fourth, as he allowed three runs, two on a home run by Hunter Pence, whom Vin Scully aptly noted "doesn’t do anything gracefully, but constantly does something." The Phillies scored two more in the fifth to chase Billingsley and pull within 6-5. A pair of fielding errors by his corner infielders didn't do Billingsley any favors, but it wasn't as if he pitched well at all.
Billingsley struck out none for the fourth time in his career, continuing a disturbing trend. Over his last three starts, Billingsley has 10 walks and just six strikeouts in 16 innings. Since the beginning of June, Billingsley has walked more than he struck out in four of his 12 starts, and had equal number of walks and strikeouts in two other games during that span.
Even when Hong-Chih Kuo had a positive moment, he could not avoid the wrath of the Phillies. Kuo, pitching for the first time in 10 days, got the final two outs of the fifth inning and looked better than he has in about a month. However, Kuo was sent out to begin the sixth inning and was pulled after issuing a walk to Ben Francisco, who scored later in the inning. Kuo has allowed at least one run in each of his last five appearances. That is the longest streak by a Dodger reliever since -- gulp -- Brett Tomko in 2007.
When Kuo left, the Dodgers still held a 7-5 lead, but that changed on Blake Hawksworth's watch. Singles by Rollins and Chase Utley tied the score, and Ryan Howard untied it with a two-run home run.
Lost in the debacle of the loss was the fact that the Dodger offense actually produced today. Juan Rivera and Matt Kemp led the way, Rivera with three hits including his second home run as a Dodger, a three-run home run in the first inning that gave the Dodgers a surmountable 4-0 lead. Kemp had four hits and stole his 30th base of the season.
For the third straight game, the Dodgers brought the tying run to the plate against Philadelphia closer Ryan Madson, but for the third straight day Madson picked up the save.
- Billingsley has walked 9.61% of the batters he has faced this season, the fifth-worst walk rate among 58 qualified starters in the National League.
- Antonio Bastardo inherited two runners with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning for the Phillies, and he left both stranded. Bastardo on the season has inherited 29 runners, and only two have scored, the third-best percentage in the National League among pitchers have inherited 10 or more runners (Brian Sanches of Florida has stranded all 19 inherited runners this season, while Michael Stutes of the Phillies has stranded all 10)
- The Dodgers are off Thursday, and begin a three-game series against Houston Friday night, with Nathan Eovaldi making his Dodger Stadium debut against Bud Norris.
WP - Kyle Kendrick (7-5): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts
LP - Blake Kawksworth (2-3): 1/3 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 strikeout
Sv - Ryan Madson (22): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run