LOS ANGELES -- The good-natured shouting came as the Dodgers roamed the field for batting practice, and the dreadlocked former pupil of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel strolled over for a friendly greeting. A few hours later, Manuel didn't enjoy the sight of Los Angeles' Trade Deadline acquisition, as Manny Ramirez pelted a two-run, bases-loaded double off Kyle Kendrick. That third-inning hit spurred a six-run frame that held in an 8-6 Phillies loss at Dodger Stadium. "Manny's definitely held his own," Manuel said. "I've been keeping up with him, watching most of the games on TV. He's swinging a hot bat. He definitely makes them a lot better. I'm sure they are going to stay right in the middle of the race. He makes their lineup tough."More
Kendrick found that out the hard way and wished this trip to La La Land came before July 31, when the Dodgers featured a tamer and perhaps more manageable squad. The right-hander dodged Ramirez in giving up six runs to the Red Sox on June 18 but wasn't so lucky this time. He induced an inning-ending popout from Ramirez in the first inning and hoped for similar results in the third. This time, Kendrick was in trouble after loading the bases with one out, on a single, walk and hit batter. There was nowhere to put Ramirez. "Sinker in," said Kendrick, who allowed a career-high seven earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, his second-shortest outing. "Bad pitch. I just couldn't control the damage." Kendrick, who had compiled a 1.45 ERA in his previous three outings, then allowed a single to James Loney for two more runs, but he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Russell Martin's single. But Casey Blake homered to give Los Angeles a 6-0 lead. This dangerous lineup is more than Ramirez. "Once you get past him, they still have Loney, Martin and Blake standing in there," Manuel said, sounding almost envious. "That's pretty good. Blake can get big hits for you and play a lot of different positions. It's a completely different lineup by adding two players [Ramirez and Blake]. They have good balance." The Phillies were kept off-balance all night by sinkerballer Derek Lowe, who rebounded from allowing 13 hits -- tying a career worst -- to allow three runs in 6 1/3 innings. The Phillies produced three runs off the National League's best bullpen but fell in the first game of a seven-game, West Coast road swing. The loss didn't affect Philadelphia's place in the National League East standings, as New York and Florida both lost, keeping the Phillies' lead at two and 2 1/2 games, respectively. Philadelphia made closer Jonathan Broxton sweat in the ninth, when it came down to the hometown team against the hometown guy, Chase Utley, who chose UCLA over signing with the Dodgers in 1997 as a second-round pick. With the bases loaded and two outs, Utley fouled off four 0-2 pitches before blooping a two-run single to left. That brought up Ryan Howard as the go-ahead run, but Broxton fed him sliders, not giving Howard the chance to pound a fastball and hoping the big guy would ground out for the fifth time. He did, rolling to second for the final out. "I've been rolling over on balls all night," Howard said. "I didn't expect him to throw me a fastball in that situation. I've been swinging terrible. It wasn't my day." The Phillies were even treated to a Manny-being-Manny moment when the left fielder was tardy taking his position for the start of the ninth inning. Ramirez said he thought he was coming out of the game for defensive purposes, so he went to the bathroom. Broxton threw his final warmup tosses and waited as Ramirez returned. He caught Jimmy Rollins' sinking liner for the second out of the inning. The Phillies would much rather see that Manny than the .331 career hitter with the bases loaded, 18 points higher than his .313 batting average. "They have a tough lineup," Manuel said. "Not only Manny, but when they got Blake, they have more balance. Everyone in that lineup can hurt you."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less