Phillies 5, Dodgers 1

Roy Oswalt has been one of baseball’s most consistent winners

down the stretch – which is exactly what the Philadelphia Phillies

were bargaining for when they obtained him just before the July 31

trade deadline.

Oswalt pitched one-hit ball into the seventh and the Phillies

used leadoff homers by Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino in the

first two innings to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 on

Wednesday.

The Dodgers managed only three hits in support of Clayton

Kershaw and didn’t put up much of a struggle against Oswalt

(10-13), who has been a valuable pennant-drive pickup for the

two-time defending NL champions.

”He’s been a lights-out pitcher – especially in the second half

– as his career has shown,” Rollins said. ”He’s very consistent

in that regard. When August and September comes around, the man

just dominates. And that’s what we need – pitchers like that who

want to pitch in big games. And we have him.”

Oswalt is a combined 56-20 in August and September during his

career. The three-time All-Star is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA in seven

starts since the Phillies acquired him in a trade with Houston on

July 29 – including a 2-0 win over Los Angeles in which he pitched

seven innings in his second start with Philadelphia.

”He’s always tough,” Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake said.

”This park isn’t the easiest park to hit in during the daytime,

which led to his effectiveness. But he throws 92-95 (mph) with his

fastball, and he’s got three other pitches to go with that, so he

can change speeds effectively. Today he pitched, in every sense of

the word.”

Oswalt threw 115 pitches, striking out six and walking six. The

right-hander, who turned 33 on Sunday, held Los Angeles hitless

until Blake lined a clean single to right field on a first-pitch

fastball with two outs in the sixth after Oswalt issued his fifth

walk.

”I knew they didn’t have any hits, but I knew I had too many

pitches to get through nine innings,” Oswalt said. ”I was just

wild. I didn’t have any command with my fastball at any time during

the game. So I had to work my slider and my changeup pretty much

the whole day, and I got a lot of jam shots. That’s the good thing

about having four pitches.”

Oswalt finished with a winning record in each of his nine

previous big league seasons – topping out at 20 wins in 2004 and

2005. If he pitches every fifth day the rest of the campaign, he

would get six more starts to extend his streak.

”I never get caught up in wins and losses too much, and I know

a lot of people do. But it’s more important how you pitch,” Oswalt

said. ”If you throw a shutout and the team doesn’t score any runs

for you, you’re not going to win. If you give up one run, pitch

nine innings and lose 1-0, you still pitched a pretty good

ballgame.”

The Dodgers got an unearned run in the eighth off Ryan Madson on

James Loney’s RBI single off the right-field wall, which would have

been a double had Matt Kemp not missed second base and had to go

back. But Madson minimized the damage by retiring Blake on an

inning-ending, double-play grounder.

Kershaw (11-9) allowed two hits and five hits over six innings,

struck out 11 and walked two. The 22-year-old left-hander overtook

Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay for the NL lead in strikeouts with 191

and is second in walks with 76, two behind Milwaukee’s Randy

Wolf.

The last pitcher to lead the NL in both categories at the end of

a season was Houston’s J.R. Richard in 1978 (303 strikeouts, 141

walks).

”Strikeouts happen, but it’s nothing you try to do different,”

Kershaw said. ”They were swinging at fastballs a lot, so I threw a

steady diet of breaking balls, quite a few sliders and some

curveballs, just trying to keep ’em off balance.”

Kershaw is 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA in six regular-season starts

against the Phillies – including a no-decision Aug. 12 at

Philadelphia, when he left after 6 2-3 innings with a 6-2 lead and

watched the bullpen allow four runs in the eighth and four more in

the ninth in a 10-9 loss.

Rollins drove Kershaw’s second pitch just over the left-field

fence for his second leadoff homer this season and 35th of his

career, extending his own franchise record. It was the first time

this year that a Dodgers pitcher gave up a leadoff homer in the

first inning.

In the second, Kershaw got behind Victorino 2-0 and watched his

next pitch land in the left-field bullpen. Chase Utley added RBI

doubles in the seventh and ninth.

NOTES: Kershaw’s 79 starts without a complete game is the

longest stretch by any L.A. Dodger from the start of his major

league career. He has allowed fewer than three earned runs in 20 of

his 28 starts this season. … The last time he pitched at Dodger

Stadium on July 17, 2009, Oswalt threw a four-hitter on six days’

rest and won 8-1. … Two days after the Dodgers reached the 3

million mark in paid attendance for the 15th straight year, they

drew their smallest crowd of the season (37,080).