Phillies tie it, lose it in ninth to Dodgers

Phillies starter Cliff Lee went seven innings against the Dodgers, striking out 10 - but gave up a three-run homer to Hanley Ramirez in the first.
Phillies starter Cliff Lee went seven innings against the Dodgers, striking out 10 - but gave up a three-run homer to Hanley Ramirez in the first. (LISA BLUMENFELD / Getty Images)
Posted: July 01, 2013

LOS ANGELES - Charlie Manuel used 62 different batting orders in his team's first 81 games. The Phillies manager likes to think about his lineup — typically, the process consumes him. But on this night, 24 hours after his offense exploded for 16 runs, there was no rumination required. 

"See if we can't score some more," said Manuel, hours before his team did not score enough.

A 4-3 loss to the Dodgers fell on reliever Justin De Fratus, but it was the offense on Saturday that failed the Phillies. They rallied with drama in the ninth after a slew of lost chances earlier in the game. All that did was create heartbreak soon thereafter.

Hanley Ramirez ran through a stop sign and scored on an A.J. Ellis single to right when Delmon Young's throw was too late. The Dodgers walked home with a victory. De Fratus lost for the third time on this road trip. He is the first Phillies reliever to lose three straight appearances since Rheal Cormier did it in four straight in 2001. 

"We've had plenty of opportunities to win games and I've almost single-handedly blown it," De Fratus said.

That might have been overstating it. The Phillies were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. The Phillies belted 21 hits Friday and had 11 Saturday, but found it difficult to string anything together against Korean sensation Hyun-Jin Ryu. He fulfilled the hype for seven innings. Only Chase Utley dinged him for two solo homers. 

Even when the Phillies tied the game, it was because the Dodgers gifted it to them. Michael Young floated one down the right-field line that skipped past phenom Yasiel Puig. Young scampered to second and moved to third on an Utley groundout. Jimmy Rollins skied one to shallow center. Matt Kemp charged it, and Young held at third, but Kemp's throw sailed and eluded catcher A.J. Ellis. No one covered home, and Young scored on the error. 

Domonic Brown followed that craziness with a triple. Delmon Young struck out on three pitches.

"We couldn't get the big hit," Manuel said.

Another glorious chance was squandered in the eighth when the Dodgers' bullpen door opened. Delmon Young singled up the middle. He was not lifted for a pinch-runner because the best option was John McDonald. Laynce Nix rocked a pinch-hit double to left-center. Young stopped at third. The tying run was 90 feet away. 

"McDonald is not a big runner," Manuel said. "He might be a little bit faster than Delmon but not enough speed to score there." 

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called for an intentional walk of Ben Revere, just the second of his career. That loaded the bases with one out for Carlos Ruiz, who flied to right. He stranded six runners in three at-bats. 

Manuel called for Ryan Howard to act as a $125 million decoy that would force Mattingly to summon a lefthanded pitcher. Kevin Frandsen, so good against lefties, replaced Howard. Manuel had promised Howard he would not hit him against a lefty for two days. It still pained him to remove his slugger.

"I have all of the respect in the world for him," Manuel said. "I didn't want him to hit there after what I said to him yesterday. I didn't think that was right."

Frandsen laced a J.P. Howell fastball toward the middle of the diamond. Hanley Ramirez snagged it, flipped to second, and Frandsen ripped off his helmet in disgust. 

Utley emerged as a positive yet again. It marked his first multihomer game in 23 months and the 20th of his career. He is hitting with power the Phillies have not seen from their second baseman since 2009. 

After Utley homered in the first, Los Angeles responded with everything it needed. Ramirez jumped a first-pitch change-up and destroyed it. "It wasn't a good pitch," Lee said. The ball landed an estimated 439 feet from home plate and bounced into one of the center-field cameras. 

Lee posted six zeroes after the first inning. "That was unreal," Manuel said. "He pitched fantastic." And it was not enough.

Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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