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Greinke blanks Phillies, Dodgers win ninth straight

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Phillies changed course Friday, but the Los Angeles Dodgers continued along the same torrid path.

Zack Greinke outdueled Cliff Lee and Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run homer as the Dodgers ran their latest winning streak to nine games with a 4-0 victory over the Phillies.

The Dodgers, a major-league-best 41-8 since June 22, also won for the 18th time in their last 19 road games. In doing so they spoiled the debut of Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg, a Hall of Fame second baseman for the Chicago Cubs and most recently Philadelphia's third base coach, was promoted when Charlie Manuel was fired earlier in the day.

"The plan is intact -- win every night," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said.

He was kidding, but only to a point. Once part of a high school team that won 59 straight games, Mattingly looks ahead to a start Saturday by ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, and sees victory as a very distinct possibility.

"I want to win every day," Mattingly said. "I think it's possible."

Mark Ellis and Scott Van Slyke also drove in runs for the Dodgers, who are the first team to go 41-8 over a 49-game stretch since the 1944 St. Louis Cardinals.

Sandberg called it "a roller coaster of a day."

"Emotionally I think it affects the players," he said, "and that's how the day was."

Greinke (11-3) worked 7 1/3 shutout innings to win his third straight start. He allowed three hits while striking out three and walking four.

Paco Rodriguez faced two batters in the eighth, and with the Dodgers holding a 3-0 lead, Ronald Bellisario struck out Darin Ruf with the bases loaded to end the inning.

After the Dodgers tacked on a run in the top of the ninth, Kenley Jansen retired Philadelphia in order to end the game.

Greinke called his effort "pretty good," even though it marked the 16th time in the last 20 games a Dodgers starter has allowed two runs or fewer. He also said he was not overly conscious of Lee's presence.

"He goes through stretches where for two months he's throwing complete games," Greinke said. "If you catch one of those streaks, it's pretty much impossible (to beat him). If it's not one of those streaks, you should be able to give your team a pretty good chance."

Lee (10-6) dropped his fourth straight decision, going eight innings and allowing three runs and five hits. He struck out six and walked one.

Ramirez hit a 2-1 pitch from Lee into the left-field seats with one out in the fourth, after Adrian Gonzalez singled. It was Ramirez's 12th homer of the season and the third in his career off Lee.

Ellis' two-out double in the seventh -- a ball misplayed by left fielder Domonic Brown -- scored A.J. Ellis, who walked on some borderline pitches from Lee. Van Slyke added an RBI single off reliever Justin DeFratus in the ninth.

Sandberg said during a news conference earlier in the day that "there needs to be a different energy level that's shown," since there have been "signs of lackadaisical play" on the part of the Phillies, who dropped 19 of their last 23 games under Manuel.

After the game Sandberg said his message to the players is simple: "Play the game the right way, have some life, try to win some games and everybody give their best effort."

The 69-year-old Manuel was the winningest manager in team history, going 780-636 in nearly nine seasons and delivering in 2008 the franchise's second world championship. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. tearfully called him "a special person" during an afternoon news conference Friday.

Manuel, who also attended the news conference, said his stint with the Phillies was "the highlight of (his) career."

Manuel, who earlier managed the Cleveland Indians, recorded his 1,000th victory Monday in Atlanta. He learned two days later he would be fired, but nonetheless managed Wednesday's game against the Braves, a 6-3 loss.

Amaro expressed a desire for Manuel to remain in the organization in some capacity, but Manuel said he would take some time to sort things out, adding that he still believes he is capable of managing somewhere.

"I love putting the uniform on," he said during the news conference. "I would have worn it over here today if I could have."

NOTES: The Phillies announced that first base coach Juan Samuel will now coach third, replacing Sandberg, and that assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner would fill Samuel's old spot at first. ... The Phillies placed LHP John Lannan on the disabled list with left-knee tendinosis and recalled RHP B.J. Rosenberg from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... The Dodgers recalled Van Slyke from Triple-A Albuquerque and optioned SS Dee Gordon to Albuquerque. ... Ellis, Los Angeles' catcher, took a foul tip off his left knee in the eighth inning but remained in the game after being examined by trainers. Mattingly said Ellis will be evaluated further on Saturday.
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