Dodgers beat Phillies 3-0 behind Kuroda’s 1-hitter

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Hiroki Kuroda(notes) didn’t realize he had a no-hitter going until the fifth inning. It should have come as no surprise, though. He’s been at his best against Philadelphia.

Kuroda took his no-hit bid into the eighth and Rod Barajas(notes) homered in his home debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who won 3-0 Monday night to move within 5 1/2 games of the Phillies in the NL wild-card race.

Kuroda walked Jayson Werth(notes) in the eighth before Raul Ibanez(notes) reached on a fielder’s choice groundout. Shane Victorino(notes), hitless in seven career at-bats against Kuroda, hit a clean line-drive single to right field on Kuroda’s 97th pitch of the game to break up the no-hitter.

“I got a good fastball to hit over the middle of the plate and belt-high, something I could handle,” Victorino said. “Every other guy was going up there trying to get a base hit, too, but it just didn’t happen.”

Kuroda received a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 44,896 when he left one batter later.

“I knew the fans wanted it and I knew my teammates wanted it. I felt I betrayed the fans and my teammates,” he said through a translator.

Before that, Kuroda hit Werth with a pitch in the second and walked Carlos Ruiz(notes) in the sixth.

The 35-year-old right-hander from Japan beat Roy Halladay(notes), who tossed a perfect game against Florida on May 29, winning 1-0.

Kuroda (10-11) struck out seven in 7 2-3 innings for his second straight win, reaching double digits in victories for the first time in the majors.

“I was hoping he was going to get it,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “His stuff was electric. He had great location, he mixed it up, he overpowered some and finessed others. He had them swinging early in the count because he was throwing a lot of strikes.”

Kuroda has a 0.68 ERA and limited the Phillies to a .084 average in each of his four starts against them. Each time, he’s tossed at least six innings and allowed less than two hits.

“We waited a long time before we got a hit, didn’t we?” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “If that lineup doesn’t hit, then we’re in trouble. That was the lineup we wanted to put on the field from day one.”

Halladay (16-10) allowed three runs and 10 hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one. It was the fourth time he gave up 10 or more hits this season, and the most since he allowed 13 at Cincinnati on June 30.

“I felt like I was a little sloppy all night. I made a couple of good pitches and I made some bad pitches along the way, too,” he said. “I knew early on it was going to be a little bit of a grind for me. My location wasn’t as good and in the first couple of innings I was kind of struggling to get the ball where I wanted to.”

Kuroda hasn’t pitched a complete game since his one-hit shutout against Atlanta on July 7, 2008, at home.

“Two years ago, I didn’t think I was able to make such an achievement, so I was doubting myself,” he said. “Today, I trusted myself and said, `I’m a great pitcher.”’

He notched his first hit of the season in 45 at-bats when he singled to center in the seventh.

“I’m so glad I was able to hit off one of the greatest pitchers in the game,” Kuroda said.

Hong-Chih Kuo(notes) relieved Kuroda with two out and two on in the eighth and retired all four batters he faced for his seventh save.

“I wasn’t disappointed at all,” Kuroda said. “We’re not playing for my record. We’re here to win the game.”

It was the 15th shutout victory by the Dodgers’ staff this season, and the 11th shutout loss for the Phillies, who dropped three games behind Atlanta in the NL East standings.

The Dodgers’ offense accounted for 11 hits on the same day slugger Manny Ramirez(notes) left to join the Chicago White Sox on a waiver claim.

“I don’t think our goal has changed at all,” Kuroda said. “Manny is gone, but we have a great team.”

Los Angeles led 1-0 in the first on James Loney’s(notes) RBI single.

They added a run in the second when Casey Blake(notes) singled to lead off and scored on a double-play grounder by Barajas, who joined the Dodgers last Tuesday after being traded from the New York Mets. He has three homers in five games with the team.

The Dodgers extended their lead to 3-0 when Barajas led off the fifth with a homer over the wall in left field on a 1-0 pitch from Halladay.

“This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me in Dodger Stadium,” Barajas said. “To be part of a well-pitched effort and hit a home run off one of the game’s greatest pitchers is special.”

Notes: The Dodgers held an opponent to a season-low one hit. … Dodgers RHP Vicente Padilla(notes) threw 33 pitches in his first rehab start for Class A Inland Empire, allowing two hits and striking out one in three scoreless innings Monday night. … The attendance pushed the Dodgers over 3 million for the 15th straight season. … The last Dodgers’ no-hitter was by Hideo Nomo(notes) of Japan at Colorado on Sept. 17, 1996, a 9-0 victory. … On July 10, the Phillies were no-hit through eight innings by Cincinnati’s Travis Wood(notes) before Ruiz got a leadoff double in the ninth. The Phillies won 1-0 in 11 innings.

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