Published November 20, 2014
Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the Dodgers' primary run producers, failed miserably when it came to hitting in the clutch.
The Dodgers got nine hits against Roy Halladay in 6 1-3 innings on Monday night, but managed only one run against the reigning NL Cy Young winner in a 5-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
"Halladay is tough. But I'm really proud of our guys," manager Don Mattingly said. "We got down early and we really could have folded up shop, but we hung in there. We scratched to get back in it and gave ourselves a chance to win the game."
Kemp stranded two runners in each of his first two at-bats, then struck out in the ninth inning against Ryan Madson while representing the tying run. Ethier struck out with two on to end the fifth, then grounded into an inning-ending double play in the seventh on a 3-0 fastball from reliever Antonio Bastardo with the Dodgers trailing 4-2.
"I wished that was me," Halladay said with a grin. "It's a great feeling for a pitcher when guys come in behind you are capable of getting outs. At that point, it's a two-run game, so he's basically saving the game at that point."
Michael Stutes and Brad Lidge gave up RBI singles in the eighth, but Lidge hustled after Tony Gwynn's bid for a bunt single to the right of the mound with runners at second and third and shoveled the ball to first baseman Howard to preserve the Phillies' one-run lead.
Shane Victorino, who is appealing a three-game suspension he received Monday, gave Ryan Madson an insurance run to work with in the ninth with his 12th homer. Madson got three outs for his 20th save in 21 chances.
Halladay (15-4) took over the league lead in victories. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins each drove in two runs, helping the Phillies improve the majors' best record to 75-40 and maintain their 8½-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East.
Hiroki Kuroda (7-14) gave up four runs — three earned — and nine hits through 6 1-3 innings, making him 2-11 with a 3.16 ERA over his last 14 outings. The hard-luck right-hander had allowed only three earned runs over 32 innings in his five previous regular-season starts against the Phillies, whom he beat in Game 3 of the 2008 NL championship series.
Victorino doubled in the first inning on a full count after Kuroda got ahead 0-2. Howard drove in Victorino with a two-out infield single that ticked off the top of Kuroda's glove as he tried to make a play on the high chopper.
"They caught a break in the first. Hiro makes a good pitch on Howard and he nubs one off the end of the bat and off the end of his glove," Mattingly said. "But they're a good club. They swung the bats good. We battled, but they just keep coming."
Howard drove in the Phillies' fourth run in the seventh with a double after another double by Victorino. The RBI was Howard's NL-leading 89th, four more than Milwaukee's Prince Fielder and five more than Kemp, who has gone five straight games without an RBI.
Halladay allowed a run and nine hits over 6 1-3 innings and struck out four. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.22 ERA since his 6-1 loss at Wrigley Field, when he was forced out after four innings because of heat exhaustion. Both walks Halladay gave up were to Casey Blake, who is 8 for 19 with six RBIs against the eight-time All-Star.
"I would have liked to go a little deeper, but they put some hits together and made us work at it really the whole game," Halladay said. "I felt like my stuff was a lot better than it was last time out and I was able to control things."
The Phillies made it 3-0 in the second on Rollins' two-run double, giving Halladay a 3-0 lead. He is 165-19 when he gets at least three runs of support and has won 24 straight under those circumstances.
Notes: Kemp grounded into his team-high 14th double play in the first inning. ... Juan Rivera, 0 for 14 against Halladay, didn't start for the third time since joining the Dodgers in a trade on the day of the All-Star game. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single off Lidge. ... Victorino received his suspension for his part in a bench-clearing incident at San Francisco on Friday, and prolonging it by shoving an umpire. It started when Ramon Ramirez hit Victorino in the back with a pitch, moments after Rollins stole second with a six-run lead ... Howard, who averaged 143 RBIs from 2006 through 2009, is 11 away from becoming the first Phillies player to have six straight 100-RBI seasons. He and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein are tied with five.