How low can they go? Lower, still lower …
To the Dodgers’ swelling list of season lowlights, make room for Wednesday afternoon’s nifty little fiasco.
That would be the one where they jumped to an early 6-0 lead over the Phillies, only to see their defense, starting pitcher Chad Billingsley and the bullpen blow it in a staggering 9-8 loss before an announced crowd of 41,807 (there was maybe half that actually in attendance).
The saddest part?
Even after the Dodgers jumped on Phillies starter Vance Worley for five runs in the first and added one more in the third to go up 6-0, the lead never felt safe. A Philadelphia comeback somehow seemed inevitable.
It was some kind of combo vibe between how well the Phillies have been playing, and how disappointing the Dodgers have been.
The comeback gave the Phillies the three-game series sweep and handed the Dodgers their fourth consecutive defeat.
The afternoon hardly appeared headed toward the Dodgers’ 64th loss of the season when they knocked Worley around for five runs in the first.
Worley came in 8-1 and with a 2.35 earned-run average -- and he’s their No.5 starter -- but was fortunate to escape the first.
After a pair of one-out walks, Matt Kemp singled in the first run before Juan Rivera drove a three-run homer to left. It was Rivera’s first home run since his first at-bat as a Dodger on July 15.
Another walk and a Dioner Navarro double quickly gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead.
The Phillies, however, remained calm. They reeked the confidence of a team with the best record in baseball.
Even after the Dodgers pushed it to a 6-0 lead in the third when Kemp doubled and scored on a Rivera single, the Phillies seemed in the eye of the storm.
The Phillies got three back in the fourth on a two-run homer by Hunter Pence, a James Loney error and single by Worley. Philadelphia pitchers continued to hurt the Dodgers at the plate.
Philadelphia added two more in the fifth after a walk and Ryan Howard hit. An error by Casey Blake allowed one run to score, and a groundout scored a second.
Billingsley left after giving up five runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings, on seven hits and three walks. He did not strike out a batter.
It was a 7-5 Dodgers lead when Philadelphia completed its comeback with four runs in the sixth inning. After Hong-Chih Kuo gave up a one-out walk, Blake Hawksworth (2-3) surrendered a hit to Rollins before Chase Utley singled in two to tie the score.
Not that the Phillies were done. Ryan Howard followed with an opposite-field blast for his 25th home run that gave the Phillies a 9-7 lead.
The Dodgers got one back in the ninth inning after singles by Blake and Kemp put runners at the corners, and a Rivera groundout brought home Blake. But Ryan Madson then closed it for his third save in as many games.
Dodgers, king of the limbo.
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Juan Rivera, professional hitter and worrier
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-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers left fielder Juan Rivera connects for a three-run home run in the first inning against the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times