Loss to Dodgers drops Phils out of first

Loss to Dodgers drops Phils out of first

LOS ANGELES -- Randy Newman's "I Love LA" blared through Dodger Stadium for the fourth straight night Thursday, as the Dodgers celebrated a sweep of the Phillies with a 3-1 win, the first four-game sweep of Philadelphia in Los Angeles in 46 years.

In the nation's capital, some 2,700 miles away, members of the Mets might have been singing along, as New York vaulted into sole possession of first place with a 9-3 victory over Washington.

The Phillies are sick of the tune.

"We got outpitched, outplayed, out everything," starter Brett Myers said. "You don't get swept in a series if the other team doesn't outplay you, you know?"

The Phillies know. They hit just .194 in the series and are batting .206 in August. The Dodgers have won four in a row and kept pace with the D-backs atop the National League West.

"We're trying to find ways to get runs across," said Ryan Howard, who batted .071 with one home run in the series. "It's unexplainable. We're not getting key hits. I've never been a part of anything like this before. I'm not taking anything away from [the Dodgers pitchers]. We've been in that offensive lull."

Hiroki Kuroda, one of Philadelphia's offseason pursuits -- the Japanese League star wanted to pitch on the West Coast -- displayed remarkable efficiency, needing 79 pitches through seven innings. He retired the first 11 batters until Chase Utley doubled with two outs in the fourth.

Philadelphia scored its lone run in the seventh, when Howard's sacrifice fly plated Jayson Werth, who had doubled. The team-wide malaise wasted a performance from Myers, who continued his resurgence.

Myers limited the suddenly potent Dodgers lineup to three runs in seven innings, and has posted a 2.48 ERA in four starts since returning from the Minors.

James Loney tripled and scored on Nomar Garciaparra's groundout in the second, Matt Kemp homered in the sixth and Russell Martin singled, stole second and scored on Casey Blake's double in the seventh.

Despite the loss, Myers was able to take solace in his performance.

"You pitch well when you win," he said. "That's the bottom line. I lost. I'm not going to be satisfied with any loss. Quite frankly, I'm not going to be satisfied with any win, either. I'm always striving to get better."

Manny Ramirez went hitless for the first time in the series, though there was no truth to the rumor that it was caused by his well-publicized haircut. Ramirez stepped aside and let his teammates do the damage, so credit Blake, Andre Ethier, Loney, Garciaparra, Clayton Kershaw, Derek Lowe, Kuroda, Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo with sending the Phillies to San Diego one game back in the National League East.

The Dodgers hit .311 in the series.

"Since they came home from San Francisco, they got hot," manager Charlie Manuel said. "They're playing real good right now. We caught them at a real good moment, and they caught us in a streak where we're having trouble scoring runs."

In a quiet clubhouse, little had changed from when the Phillies landed in Los Angeles. With 41 games left, one game can easily be overcome.

"We need to win a game and get going, run off four, five or six in a row," Manuel said. "If you would've asked me if I'd take one game back with 41 to play, I would said, 'Yes.' There's no sense getting bent out of shape. We've been close all year, and it's going to be close for the next six weeks."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.