Phillies 4, Dodgers 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Ricky Ledee was thinking bunt, but then changed his mind.
The Dodgers’ offensive woes continued as they failed to score more than two runs for the sixth straight game. They have totaled just five runs in going 3-3 over that span.
“As I’ve been saying for some time, it’s tough to win when you’re only scoring two runs unless your pitching staff is flawless and that is too much to ask,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
Ledee started in place of the slumping Pat Burrell. The left-handed Ledee, once a can’t-miss prospect with the Yankees, has drawn the difficult duty of starting against some of the NL’s top right-handed pitchers such as Chicago’s Kerry Wood, Arizona’s Curt Schilling and Wednesday’s starter, Kevin Brown.
“It’s not fair for (Ledee),” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “Those aren’t easy guys to hit off of. He has gotten all the stud right-handed pitchers in the league, but he knows his role and is always ready. Ricky always does something to help us win a ballgame.”
Marlon Byrd singled off Paul Shuey (4-3) to begin the Phillies’ seventh. Ledee lined with a shot over center fielder Jeromy Burnitz, who got a late jump on the ball. Second baseman Alex Cora made a strong relay throw but Byrd slid under the tag, giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead.
“When I was on-deck, I was thinking about bunting if Marlon got on,” Ledee said. “I just changed my mind when I got to the plate and swung away.”
The hit lifted Ledee’s batting average to .231, but he isn’t likely to notice.
“I don’t worry about batting average any more, I’m just looking to contribute anything I can in any spot I can,” he said.
Tom Martin relieved and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Thome, scoring Ledee with an insurance run.
Despite Ledee’s heroics, Bowa said that Burrell would be back in the starting lineup on Thursday.
Kevin Brown pitched six strong innings for the Dodgers, but didn’t help his own cause early. His three-base throwing error led to two runs in the first inning.
Ledee hit a grounder back to Brown, who knocked down the ball but threw it over first baseman Jolbert Cabrera and down the right-field line. The mistake allowed Ledee to advance to third.
Los Angeles planned its defensive strategy around its recent offensive trouble, bringing in the infield with just one out. Thome followed with a broken-bat single over the drawn-in infield for a 1-0 lead.
“I simply made mistakes,” Brown said. “The fact is I really made two errors in the first inning. We should have been ahead 2-0. I just didn’t get it done.”
Los Angeles cut the deficit to 2-1 in the second inning on Paul Lo Duca’s seventh homer of the season.
The Dodgers tied it at 2 on Cesar Izturis’ RBI grounder in the third. The play scored Brown, who led the inning off with a double.
Both starters worked to no-decisions.
Brett Myers pitched six innings, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
“I was thinking I just had to keep the team in the game and I felt I did that,” Myers said.
Brown lowered his major league-leading ERA to 2.10. He gave up two runs— one earned—on nine hits, striking out four and walking three.
“(Brown) was fine, any manager would take that kind of start every singlenight,” Tracy said.
Philadelphia has won nine of its last 11 games against Los Angeles at home. … Lo Duca’s homer snapped an 0-for-18 slump. … Thome appeared to aggravate a groin injury running the bases in the fifth inning. He remained in the game. … Brown is 0-4 with a 2.43 ERA in his last six starts. … Byrd extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a seventh-inning single. … The Phillies had two baserunners picked off and another thrown out trying tosteal.