LOS ANGELES -- In proclaiming his admiration for the cavalcade of potent veteran hitters Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake and younger rising stars Matt Kemp and James Loney, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel realized he'd forgotten someone in the Dodgers' lineup. Jeff Kent. "I wouldn't want to face him, either," Manuel said of the 40-year-old and still dangerous second baseman. "I've seen him for a long time. He can take the ball on the outside part of the plate and hit it down the left-field line. That's good hitting."
Painfully accurate, Manuel likely winced as Kent's two-run double sliced just beyond third baseman Greg Dobbs' glove in the eighth inning Wednesday, tying a game the Dodgers would eventually win, 7-6, on Nomar Garciaparra's walk-off homer in the ninth. "Perfect placement," Dobbs said of Kent's double. "They have some good hitters, man," Manuel said. "They're hot right now. We couldn't hold 'em at the end. They got a big hit last night and two big hits tonight." The Dodgers' second consecutive walk-off win created ties in two National League divisions. In the West, the Dodgers pulled even with the D-backs. In the East, the Mets joined the Phillies in the top spot by defeating the Nationals. Garciaparra hit Clay Condrey's fourth pitch to left field to cap a comeback that saw Los Angeles score three runs in the final two innings, negating early two-run home runs by Ryan Howard, Dobbs and Jayson Werth. Four of Philadelphia's six runs came in the first inning, as they pelted Brad Penny, scoffing at his 3.33 ERA in 19 career starts against the Phils. Werth added his two-run shot in the second, his first homer and RBIs against his former team, and matched his career high in homers in a season with 16. Then the offense stopped. Like a day earlier, the Phillies didn't collect a hit after the third inning, and watched helplessly as the Dodgers found their way back. "When they started creeping up on us, I was thinking that we needed more runs," Manuel said. "They shut us down and they did a good job of holding us. We hit three home runs, then stayed in the yard after that. We couldn't manufacture any runs. They shut our offense down after we scored six runs and kept coming at us. They caught us. It was the same story as last night." "We outplayed them for two innings. They outplayed us for seven. That's how I look at it." Joe Blanton nearly gave the lead back when he allowed two singles and two walks after getting the first out in the first, but recovered to retire the side without further damage. When Manny Ramirez clubbed a two-run homer in the third and Andre Ethier made in 6-4 with a solo home run in the fourth, there was a sense that the Dodgers weren't done. "I didn't have it tonight," Blanton said. "The offense gave me runs early. That's when you want to stick it to them. I didn't. It's frustrating when you get a lead and let the team climb back. At the same time, if you don't have it, you don't have it, and forcing it is just going to make it worse." Blanton survived five innings and allowed nine hits. Ryan Madson worked two scoreless innings before giving way to Durbin, who was working in his 51st game, 15 more than in any season as a professional. Martin singled and pinch-hitter Juan Pierre walked on four pitches. "I was just trying to throw the ball down the middle," Durbin said. "You want to make him put the ball in play. Walking him doesn't make any sense." Asked if Durbin's workload, in his first full season as a reliever, may be affecting him, Manuel said, "He's pitched a lot. The bullpen this year has been new to him and we've used him in a lot of different situations." When it was mentioned to Durbin that the bullpen has shown cracks over the past two games, Durbin quickly pointed out, "Not the bullpen, just me. You can blame this one on me. Madson did an incredible job, and I didn't hold it through to [Brad] Lidge."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.