Phillies done in by a rookie Dodger

Carlos Ruiz ducks away from an inside pitch from Rubby De La Rosa in the third inning.
Carlos Ruiz ducks away from an inside pitch from Rubby De La Rosa in the third inning. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 08, 2011

A half hour after the Phillies lost, 6-2, to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chase Utley entered the clubhouse and dumped his bat and glove at his locker. Nine innings Tuesday night had stained his white jersey green and brown and mandated a detour up the dugout tunnel to the nearby video room at Citizens Bank Park, where a secluded Utley studied his four plate appearances.

"We couldn't find that big hit early on," Utley said.

Invariably, Utley's eyes returned to the 94-m.p.h. Rubby De La Rosa fastball he sent flying to center field with two outs and the bases loaded in the second inning. It was a pitch high, on the outside edge of the plate, and one Utley likely would want another hack at.

A bunch of his teammates could say the same about a pitch they saw from the 22-year-old rookie righthander early in this game, before the deficit was insurmountable.

"The way we played the first three innings, it was just a bad game," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Everything about it was bad."

The Phillies drew five walks and had four hits in the game's first three innings against De La Rosa, who was making his first major-league start. They scored once, only when De La Rosa walked Placido Polanco with the bases loaded in the second. When the door was nudged open for Los Angeles via two Phillies errors in the third, they scored three times off Roy Oswalt to take a 4-1 lead.

The home team had five hits, one for extra bases. In the first six games of June, the Phillies have a grand total of seven extra-base hits, or one for every 29.3 at-bats. The lone such hit Tuesday was a run-scoring triple by Utley in the seventh inning.

A feeble Phillies offense neutralized De La Rosa's inability to throw strikes. He threw more balls (50) than strikes (46), and yet the Phillies scored just once off him. De La Rosa walked five in the first two innings, none in the next three, and the Phillies stranded seven men on base with him on the mound.

"We didn't score, plain and simple," Shane Victorino said.

The offensive malfunctions took many forms. In the first inning, De La Rosa walked two, but the Phillies could not hit the ball out of the infield. Victorino was thrown out trying to go from second to third on a ball hit to the second baseman.

An inning later, the bases were loaded with no outs. One run scored on the walk. Before that, Oswalt struck out and Victorino grounded out to the pitcher. That left Utley, who flied out to center to ensure no crooked number.

The last out of the third inning was recorded at home plate when Raul Ibanez was thrown out by Andre Ethier while trying to score from second on a single to right by Wilson Valdez.

An inept offense was exacerbated by a momentary Oswalt brain cramp. His third inning started with a five-pitch walk to De La Rosa in his first big-league plate appearance. A single by Dee Gordon put runners on first and second. Ryan Howard played off the bag for the next batter, but Oswalt mixed up the signs.

"When I turned to throw," Oswalt said, "I didn't see anybody but the baserunner, so I tried to hit him with the ball. He was able to move out of the way."

The ball careened down the right-field line in foul territory and allowed one run to score and another runner to reach third. Two pitches later, a Casey Blake single increased the Dodgers' lead to 3-1. They added another run in that inning.

The Dodgers had done what the Phillies could not do.

"For some reason," Manuel said, "we couldn't get the big hit with runners out there."


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com or @magelb on Twitter

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