Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw struck out five Philadelphia Phillies in the first two innings, struck out 11 overall and struck out the side three times in his six innings of work.
But all the 22-year-old left-hander had to show for it Wednesday afternoon was his fourth career loss without a victory against the defending National League champions as the Dodgers’ hopes for a playoff berth dimmed even further.
That’s because Kershaw also gave up early solo home runs to Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino which, combined with no-hit pitching by Roy Oswalt (10-13) through nearly six innings, led the Phillies to a 5-1 win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Despite walking six, Oswalt “changed speeds effectively and he pitched in every sense of the word,” said third baseman Casey Blake, who singled with two out in the sixth inning for the Dodgers’ first hit of the game. “He’s always tough.”
The loss dropped the Dodgers to 7 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the race for the National League wild-card playoff spot with 28 games remaining in the regular season.
After a day off Thursday, the Dodgers play host to the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series, and 24 of the Dodgers’ final games are against NL West rivals.
“We put ourselves in this situation and we’re just going to have to dig ourselves out,” Manager Joe Torre said after the Dodgers’ consecutive losses handed the Phillies their first series win at Dodger Stadium in five years.
“I still believe this ballclub has a six-, seven-game winning streak in it,” he said. “We just have to do it now as opposed to later when it doesn’t matter.”
Rollins hit Kershaw’s second pitch of the game into the left-field pavilion, and Victorino hit his homer into the same area in the second inning.
“[The] first pitch to Rollins, I was really just trying to throw a strike, second pitch of the game,” Kershaw said. “You tip your hat to him, I guess, it’s being aggressive, getting a pitch to hit. I obviously didn’t expect him to turn and burn like that.
“The one to Victorino, I’d like that one back. It was an 0-2 pitch up, just didn’t have it where I wanted to. It’s tough to come back [losing] 2-0 against a guy like Oswalt.”
After Kershaw (11-9) left, Philadelphia scored three times against relievers.
Rollins walked, stole second base and scored on Chase Utley’s double against Kenley Jansen in the seventh inning. And in the ninth, pinch-hitter Domonic Brown hit a ground-rule double against Ronald Belisario, and Rollins singled and Utley hit a ground-rule double against Hong-Chih Kuo.
It was the first run the left-handed Kuo had given up in 24 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium this season.
Blake’s hit in the sixth inning moved James Loney, who had walked, to third base but the Dodgers’ threat ended when Ronnie Belliard popped out.
The Dodgers scored an unearned run against Ryan Madson in the eighth inning. Jamey Carroll singled, reached second base when Rollins bobbled a grounder hit by Matt Kemp and scored on Loney’s single. Blake then hit into a double play to end that threat.
This was the second time this season that Kershaw, 22, struck out 11; his season high was 12 against the Chicago Cubs on July 8. . . . Second baseman Ryan Theriot didn’t start for the second consecutive game after injuring a knee on a double-play try Monday, but entered Wednesday’s game in the seventh inning. . . . Oswalt, traded to the Phillies from the Houston Astros on July 29, is 8-3 all-time against the Dodgers. . . . The Dodgers finished August with a 14-15 record, the club’s second consecutive losing month.