Los Angeles Dodgers' closer Jonathan Broxton did not record an out in the ninth inning as the Philadelphia Phillies came back from a three-run deficit to defeat LA, 10-9.
The Phillies were down seven runs in the eighth inning, but scored four runs off relievers Ronaldo Belisario, Kenley Jansen, and George Sherrill. The rally included a two-run single by Jason Werth and an RBI double from Ben Francisco.
"We came got close in the eighth and then went from there," Francisco said. "Then we got the first two guys on there and were right back in it."
Then came the ninth.
The powerful, right-hander began the inning by hitting Placido Polanco before walking Mike Sweeney and Jason Werth. Broxton just did not seem comfortable on the mound, he was overthrowing and his breaking ball snapped too close to the inner-half of the plate.
Ben Francisco, the next hitter, seemed to hit a potential double play to third baseman Casey Blake. Alas, the Dodger infielder had the ball go right through his legs for a crucial error.
Two runs scored.
"If I don't walk the guys the error doesn't matter," said Broxton. He is just 2-2 with a 9.82 ERA, one save and three blown opportunities against the Phillies.
Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel had a possible sacrifice bunt situation with no outs and Carlos Ruiz at the plate. But the veteran manager let Ruiz hit. He followed the error by Blake with a double into deep left.
"I always like that moment," said Ruiz. "He gave me the confidence to get a big hit right here in a bunt situation. I was looking for a pitch to hit and got a slider down the middle."
The Dodgers offense produced last night, piling over five runs over the seventh and eighth innings. Matt Kemp led the charge with three hits, including a home run. They totaled 15 hits, but it seems—when their offense is coming through—the bullpen blows the lead.
The win puts the Phillies just two games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves.
On the other hand, the Dodgers' meltdown dims the hopes of returning to the playoffs.
They are currently nine games back of the San Diego Padres plus they still sit behind the San Francisco Giants (second place) and the Colorado Rockies (third place).
It's ironic to see the Dodgers so far beyond with a little over 40 games left to play in the season. After losing to the same Phillies in the NLCS last season, most experts had the Dodgers coming out of the NL West.
L.A. is currently three games above 500. They are 59-56 and now travel to Atlanta to play the first-place Braves as well as hosting the Rockies and the Reds.
All three are playoff-contenders.
I love Joe Torre, but the Dodgers are done. I look for them to struggle over this brutal stretch.