Bullpen allows one to slip away as Cole Hamels is once again denied win no. 10.

The Phillies’ bullpen allows a win to slip away as another good outing by Cole Hamels is wasted as the Phillies lose to the Dodgers, 4-3. The Phillies would score their first run in the first inning, as Chase Utley, batting second against Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw, would hit a solo shot, his thirtieth home run of the year, to give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Dodgers would tie the game in their half of the first, as, with two men on, and two outs, Casey Blake would hit a RBI single, scoring Matt Kemp, who has earlier doubled. The Phillies would retake the lead in the second when Cole Hamels would help his own cause by hitting a RBI single, knocking in Chris Coste, who has earlier singled and has gone to third on Eric Bruntlett’s single, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead. The Phillies would increase their lead in the third as Pat Burrell would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier doubled and then stole third, to make it 3-1 Phillies. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Kershaw and Hamels, with Kershaw confounding Phillies’ batters, as he would end up striking out eight Phils and not giving the Phils the clutch hit they needed to increase their lead, before he is finally lifted in the sixth. The Dodgers would make it 3-2 Phillies in their half of the sixth, as, with two men on, and one out, Manny Ramirez would hit a RBI single, scoring Juan Pierre, who has gotten on based earlier with a bunt single and has moved to second on Kemp’s single, while Kemp moved to second. After a Blake ground out, pitcher to first, for the second out of the inning would move the runners to second and third, Hamels would intentionally walk Nomar Garciaparra to load the bases. Hamels would then get out of the inning by getting Russell Martin to line out to Utley. After getting a 1-2-3 seventh, Hamels would be lifted for a pitch hitter in the eighth, handing the ball over to the normally spot on bullpen which, before last night’s game, had only blown eight save opportunities, the best in the National League. Well, the bullpen would blow their ninth save opportunity, as Chad Durbin would, with no one out, load the bases via a single (Kemp), a walk (Jeff Kent) and a hit batman (Ramirez). He would then give up a sacrifice fly to Blake, for the inning’s first out, scoring Kemp and leaving runners on first and second, tying the ballgame. He would then end the inning by getting Garciaparra to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. In the ninth, J.C. Romero, pitching in place of Durbin, would lead the inning off by hitting Martin on the foot. James Loney would then move Martin over to second as he grounds out, first to the pitcher, for the first out of the inning. Andre Ethier would then end the game with a walk-off single to left, scoring Martin, and giving the Dodgers a 4-3 victory.

Cole Hamels gets a no-decision as he is for the seventh straight start denied victory number 10. He would go seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits, while striking out seven Dodgers. Chad Durbin receives his third blown save of the year as he goes an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit, a walk and a hit batter. J.C. Romero would take the lost as he goes a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and a hit batter. His record is now 4-4 with an ERA of 2.30. Clayton Kershaw would also get a no-decision as he pitches six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, while striking out eight. Joe Beimel would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Hong-Chih Kuo would get the win, as he pitches two innings, giving up no hits and no runs. His record is now 4-2 with an ERA of 1.70.

Once again the Phillies’ offense has hurt the team as it is unable to do anything after scoring its third run in the third. It didn’t do anything in the middle innings, and blew an opportunity with a runner on second and one man out in the sixth to do further damage. The lack of a pure contact hitter within in the bottom part of the line-up keep hurting them when they need such a hitter the most. Although the bullpen will be the one that folks will be pointing the finger at for the lost, the real culprit will be the still inconsistant offense.

The Phillies (64-55) will continue their four games series with the Dodgers (60-59, 2nd National League West) as they now look to split the series. The game will be played at Dodgers Stadium and will start at 10:10 pm Eastern (7:10 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-12 (1-0), 4.71), who is coming off a no-decision against the Pirates on August 8, where he threw seven shutout innings, giving up only one hit, in the Phillies’ 2-0 lost. Blanton will be looking to continue his present string of quality starts while hoping to give the Phillies their first win on the road trip while trying to muzzle Manny Ramirez’s hot bat. The Dodgers will be sending to the mound Brad Penny (6-9, 5.66), who is coming off a win against the Giants on August 8, after coming off the disabled list, where he went only five innings, giving up an earned run on one hit and walking three, in the Dodgers’ 6-2 win. He hopes to get his second straight win after coming off the dl which hoping the Phillies’ bat will continue being inconsistent.

With the lost, the Phillies’ lead over the Met shranked to one game, as they defeated the Nationals, and to one and a half games over the Marlins as they beat the Cardinals. The Phillies’ lead over the Braves is presently at eight and a half thanks to a rain out, but they are now playing a day/night doubleheader with the Cubs and are presently trailing them in the first game, 4-0 in the top of the fourth. The Phillies hope to come back from their second straight defeat to the Dodgers and try to salvage a series’ split while hoping that their opponents will not get any closer.

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