Brilliant Kuroda helps Dodgers blank Phillies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda flirted with a no-hitter to overshadow Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay and give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 3-0 shutout victory on Monday.

Kuroda held the Phillies without a hit into the eighth inning before Shane Victorino reached base on a single. The pitcher received a standing ovation from the crowd and was again shown appreciation when he left in the inning.

"At the beginning of the fifth I began to think about it," Kuroda told reporters of completing a possible no-hitter. "I'm disappointed I couldn't do it. The fans were really getting into it."

Kuroda was withdrawn after 7-2/3 innings of work in which he managed seven strikeouts before reliever Kuo Hong-chih recorded the final four outs without giving up a hit for the Dodgers (68-64).

On the day Los Angeles announced it was parting ways with slugger Manny Ramirez, claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox, the home team turned the page and handed Philadelphia its first loss in four games.

Halladay (16-10) allowed three runs over seven innings as the National League wild card-leading Phillies (73-58) fell three games behind the Atlanta Braves for top spot in the East Division.

James Loney gave the Dodgers an early lead with an RBI single in the first and catcher Rod Barajas added a home run in the fifth.

"You know when you go against Halladay that whatever (runs) you get is like gold," Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said.

"(Kuroda) was in a zone today. If it wasn't for the tying run coming to the plate (in the eighth) I probably would have left him in there."

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)