Dodgers take another dive

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By Dylan Hernandez

August 31, 2010

Scott Podsednik did something Tuesday night that Manny Ramirez never did in his two-plus years with the Dodgers: He tumbled head-first into the field-box seats at Dodger Stadium in pursuit of a foul ball.

But the grit illustrated by the seventh-inning catch made by the replacement of the departed Ramirez, as well as a mid-game rally that trimmed a five-run deficit to two, could take the Dodgers only so far.

They fell to Philadelphia, 8-4, and dropped 61/2 games behind the Phillies, who lead the wild-card race.

Ramirez or no Ramirez, this wasn’t a game the Dodgers could win, primarily because they couldn’t pitch.

Carlos Monasterios had a start that ended without him recording an out in the third inning, Ramon Troncoso served up a three-run home run to the first batter he faced and closer-turned-setup-man Jonathan Broxton had the kind of key-moment letdown that has typified his games with the Phillies.

“We crept back into it,” Torre said. “We just couldn’t hold them at bay.”

Making his second spot start in place of the sidelined Vicente Padilla, Monasterios ran into immediate trouble, plunking Chase Utley in the first inning to put men on first base and second base with one out.

But he got Ryan Howard to ground into an inning-ending double play, which allowed the Dodgers to take a 1-0 lead when James Loney drew a bases-loaded walk from Kyle Kendrick in the bottom half of the inning.

But there would be no such escape for Monasterios in the second inning. The Rule 5 draft pick gave up a leadoff double to Jayson Werth, walked Shane Victorino and served up a one-out, three-run home run to Brian Schneider, who began the game batting .206.

The Dodgers were down, 3-1.

“Nothing was wrong. They just hit me,” Monasterios said. “They were reading everything.”

When Monasterios gave up consecutive singles to Placido Polanco and Utley to start the third inning, Manager Joe Torre had seen enough. Monasterios was out, Troncoso was in.

“He’s just a kid,” Torre said of Monasterios. “I just didn’t want to wait any longer. He’s still learning.”

Troncoso, recalled from triple-A Albuquerque on Monday to take the roster spot that belonged to Ramirez, promptly served up a towering home run to Howard that cleared the center-field wall.

The Dodgers’ deficit was 6-1.

But the Dodgers manufactured a run in the fifth inning, which started with a single by Rod Barajas, who advanced to second base on a pinch-hit single by reliever Kenley Jansen, a former catcher. Barajas scored on a groundout by Jamey Carroll to trim the Dodgers’ deficit to 6-2.

A two-run home run by Loney the next inning got the Dodgers to within 6-4.

Ryan Theriot has a hyperextended knee, and his Kirk-Gibson-style pinch-hit try later in the inning resulted in a fly out to right for the third out.

They wouldn’t get any closer.

Left-hander George Sherrill loaded the bases in the seventh inning, issuing consecutive walks to Howard and Werth, then intentionally walking Victorino with two outs to face the left-handed Schneider. But Manager Charlie Manuel sent Carlos Ruiz to hit for Schneider, prompting Torre to counter by calling in Broxton, who has had some of his career-defining failures against the Phillies.

Broxton gave up a two-run single to Ruiz, resulting in him being showered with boos as he retreated to the dugout at the end of the inning.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com