Pitching has been the backbone guiding the Dodgers through the first five weeks of the season, so when they have a rare clunker it really stands out. The offense was good enough to overcome the Phillies hitting around Tyler Anderson Thursday night, but Philadelphia rallied in the ninth to take a wild series opener, 9-7 at Dodger Stadium.
In a tie game to start the ninth inning, with a save no longer possible at home, the Dodgers did not turn to closer Craig Kimbrel, who last pitched five days ago. Instead, Daniel Hudson got the ninth, pitching for a second straight day. Two balls that didn’t leave the infield went for singles, and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out.
Bryce Harper, who homered earlier, was at the plate when a Hudson wild pitch gave the Phillies the lead. Then Harper hit a sacrifice fly to widen the advantage.
It washed away the taste of what was the Dodgers largest comeback of the season, though one they couldn’t quite finish.
Trailing by five runs in the sixth inning and by four runs to start the eighth, the Dodgers rallied for to tie the game in the eighth. José Alvarado was on the mound for the bulk of the comeback, allowing five hits and a walk with only one out recorded in the eighth. He allowed a pinch-hit, two-run double by Justin Turner and an RBI single by Chris Taylor for the equalizer.
Alvarado is the fifth Phillies reliever to allow at least three runs in an inning in the team’s last 15 games at Dodger Stadium. But that he didn’t allow more than those four runs was a bit of a surprise, as he left with runners on the corners and only one out.
Pinch-hitter Hanser Alberto, now facing right-hander Andrew Bellatti, tried a safety squeeze bunt up the first base line that eliminated pinch-runner Austin Barnes at the plate, then after a walk loaded the bases, Freddie Freeman popped out in foul territory to end the inning.
Down two in the ninth against old friend Corey Knebel, the Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out, but both Austin Barnes and Cody Bellinger flew out to the corners, neither ball deep enough to score Trea Turner from third base. Taylor popped out harmlessly to end the game.
The Dodgers lead the majors in fewest runs allowed, even after Thursday’s loss, at just 2.67 runs per game. This is the first time all season the Dodgers have allowed more than three runs in consecutive games, and just the seventh time they’ve done so in 30 games this season. That’s why the Dodgers have won two-thirds of their games, despite dropping three of their last four contests.
How Philadelphia, in a relative sense, was able to shoot fish in a barrel on Thursday had to do with how often they hit the ball hard against the Dodgers left-handed starter.
Anderson allowed only three barrels — defined by Statcast as “a batted ball with the perfect combination of exit velocity and launch angle” with an exit velocity of at least 98 mph — in his first five starts combined. But he matched that total in just the first two innings on Thursday.
Harper hit the first of those smashes, a 405-foot home run into the right field pavilion in the first inning, made even more remarkable by the fact that Harper has a partial UCL tear in his right elbow that prevents him from throwing at the moment. The tear, which was revealed Friday in Los Angeles, will limit Harper to designated hitter duties for now, per Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he’s expected to miss Sunday’s game after an injection of platelet-rich plasma into his elbow.
Johan Camargo added a two-run home run in the second inning. Anderson allowed five barrels in his six innings, all resulting in extra bases. The six extra-base hits allowed by Anderson are the most given up by a Dodgers starting pitcher since 2019.
Anderson allowed a run and multiple hits in each of his last three innings, and allowed runs in five different innings. But he was allowed to pitch six innings almost certainly because of the Dodgers’ current stretch of 31 games in 30 days, of which Thursday was game number seven. In other words, Anderson was asked to wear this one.
That gave Anderson a pitching line you just don’t see much anymore, with seven runs on 10 hits in six innings. It’s just the 19th such game by a Dodgers pitcher since moving to Los Angeles, and the first since Darren Dreifort on August 13, 1999.
Anderson’s seven runs allowed are the most by a Los Angeles starter this season.
Cody Bellinger entered Thursday with four hits in 11 career at-bats against Phillies starter Zack Wheeler, with all four hits home runs. The next pitch after SportsNet LA showed a graphic displaying the trajectories of all four home runs, Bellinger hit a high fastball over the wall for his fifth long ball off Wheeler.
Bellinger nearly added a three-run home run down the right field line in the fourth, but it was a few feet foul.
Yency Almonte, who was called up before Thursday’s game after a 25-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A, pitched two perfect innings in his Dodgers debut, with four straight strikeouts.
Will Smith had three hits, a walk, and drove in three runs.
Trea Turner had three hits, a walk, and scored twice.
Home runs: Cody Bellinger (5); Bryce Harper (7), Johan Camargo (3)
WP — Andrew Bellatti (1-0): ⅔ IP, 1 walk
LP — Daniel Hudson (1-3): 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv — Corey Knebel (7): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks
Clayton Kershaw takes the mound on Friday night (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA), with right-hander Kyle Gibson starting for Philadelphia.