Phillies hit 3 homers in 7-2 win over Dodgers
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers appear headed for another postseason showdown. That wouldn’t bother anyone in either clubhouse.
Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino homered, and Philadelphia beat the Dodgers 7-2 Sunday to split a four-game series between teams with the top two records in baseball.
“October’s a long way away,” Howard said. “The Dodgers have been playing great, and obviously their record has shown that they’re on their way. They’re a more experienced team now and they’re definitely more mature than they were last year. But you can’t look too far ahead. You just focus on what’s going on now. If we were to meet again in October, that would be great. But we’ll have to wait.”
The defending World Series champions, who beat the Dodgers in the NL championship series, maintained their three-game lead over the Mets in the NL East going into a three-game series at New York that begins Tuesday night. Los Angeles’ cushion over second-place San Francisco in the West was cut to eight games.
“They’ve built a big lead, but they’ve got to hold onto it,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “I think that when Manny Ramirez gets back, obviously that will add more to their offense. But their pitching has to hold up for them. That’s the key to every team’s success.”
Antonio Bastardo (2-0) allowed two runs and seven hits over five-plus innings, striking out four in his second major league start. Jimmy Rollins, dropped from first to sixth in the batting order by Manuel, broke out of a 4-for-27 rut with a pair of singles that contributed to scoring rallies.
Rollins, who came in batting .219 and was hitless in his previous 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position, was 2 for 4 with an opposite-field single that helped build a run in the second inning.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time Rollins batted lower than fifth in the lineup since May 26, 2006, when he hit sixth for the second consecutive day. The switch-hitting shortstop and 2007 NL MVP didn’t start in Saturday’s 12-inning, 3-2 loss, but was 0 for 2 after entering as a pinch hitter.
“I just wanted to change things up, give him a breather, get him out of the 1-hole and just let him play. But he’s still my leadoff man,” Manuel said. “When Jimmy’s going, we go offensively. He didn’t win an MVP two years ago for nothing. He has all the talent in the world.”
The Dodgers, who have the best record in baseball at 39-20 and lead the NL in batting average, runs and on-base percentage, have totaled only seven runs in 46 innings against opponents’ starting pitchers over their last seven games.
“We’ll be fine. We’re going to score runs,” manager Joe Torre said. “With so many questions being asked about it, I think everyone is self-conscious about it and trying too hard. Hopefully, we come back Tuesday after a breather tomorrow and start swinging the bats a little better.”
Bastardo, a 23-year-old left-hander, was replaced by former Dodger Chan Ho Park in the sixth with none out, runners at the corners and a 3-1 lead. Casey Blake scored on a disputed double-play grounder by Matt Kemp, called out at first by umpire Chris Guccione. TV replays clearly showed Kemp was safe.
Ruiz and Victorino homered against Randy Wolf (3-2). The left-hander, who pitched for the Phillies from 1999-06, gave up six runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings and has a 5.61 ERA over his last four outings. The loss was his first in 12 starts since April 7, when the Padres beat him 4-2 at San Diego in his season debut.
The Phillies broke a 1-all tie with a pair of runs in the fifth. Rollins singled and scored from second on a single by Ruiz, whose three RBIs gave him 13 in 94 at-bats this season.
Pedro Feliz scored when Victorino hit a liner back to the box that glanced off Wolf’s glove as he tried to avoid the pieces of Victorino’s shattered bat.
The Phillies opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the second by Feliz, whose fielding error Friday night led to the first of consecutive blown saves by All-Star closer Brad Lidge.
“We could have swept, but we got ourselves in a position where we needed a win to get a split and that’s what we did,” Howard said. “There’s no sense in looking at what could have been.”
Notes:@ The Dodgers, who have outscored opponents by a 52-15 margin in the first inning, have gone seven straight games without a first-inning run since getting five at Chicago in the last game of their road trip. … The Phillies are 32-5 when scoring more than three runs, and 1-17 when they get three or fewer.