Same old story: Phillies too much for Dodgers in 5-3 win
Once they were near equals. The Dodgers and Phillies met in the National League Championship Series in 2008 and 2009.
The Phillies used that platform to win a World Series, advance to another, return last year to the NLCS and, this season, jump out to the best record in baseball.
The Dodgers? They've sort of gone in another direction. Like the polar opposite.
The difference in how the teams have developed was on display Monday, the Phillies downing the Dodgers, 5-3, before an announced crowd of 35,380, many of whom wore red.
For the Phillies, this made it 10 victories in 11 games, took their record to 75-40 and kept their lead at a comfy 8½ games over Atlanta in the NL East.
The Dodgers fell to 52-62 and remained 10 back of the Giants in the NL West.
The Dodgers are living an ownership nightmare, their payroll is in retreat and they appear headed for a second consecutive losing season.
Even with Roy Halladay at something less than his Cy Young Award best Monday, the Dodgers could not cash in on enough opportunities.
With one out in the first, they had runners at first and second and Matt Kemp grounded into a double play. With two outs in the third and runners at first and second, Kemp popped out. They had runners at first and second in the sixth, this time with no outs, and couldn’t advance a runner. They had runners again at first and second with two outs in the seventh, and Andre Ethier bounced into a double play.
Meanwhile, the Phillies were having uncharacteristic success against right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
Kuroda had allowed only three runs in his previous 32 regular-season innings against the Phillies. He allowed three in the first two innings Monday.
Kuroda (7-14) lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) and nine hits, walking one and striking out four. He was OK for the most part.
Halladay (15-4) gave up a run in the fifth on Casey Blake’s RBI groundout. Like Kuroda, Halladay also went 6 1/3 innings, also allowed nine hits and also struck out four . . . but he left with a 4-1 lead. He wasn't overpowering, but good enough.
The Dodgers did score twice in the eighth against the Philadelphia bullpen to get within 4-3. Kemp singled, stole second and scored on Aaron Miles' basehit. After a one-out walk, pinch-hitter Juan Rivera singled in Miles.
Rivera, however, may have cost the Dodgers a run when he ran into second baseman Chase Utley, who was trying to field Dee Gordon’s grounder. Rivera was called out for interference, and then limped off with what appeared to be a tweaked left knee. Gordon was safe at first and, perhaps crucially, pinch-runner Eugenio Velez, who'd gone to third on Gordon's grounder, was sent back to second.
A Brad Lidge wild pitch advanced the runners, but only to second and third -- and when Tony Gwynn Jr. curiously tried to bunt his way on, Lidge fielded it cleanly and threw him out for the final out.
Shane Victorino hit a solo home run off Mike MacDougal in the ninth to complete the scoring, the Phillies rolling on.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake, center, can’t put the tag on Philadelphia’s Chase Utley as he steals second base in front of umpire Laz Diaz, left, during the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ 5-3 loss Monday. Credit: Alex Gallardo / Associated Press