Just up the coast from yesterday afternoon's sweep of the NL West-leading Padres, the Phillies travelled up to Chavez Ravine to take on the Manny Ramirez-less Dodgers. Amazingly, Manny not only packed up his big bag of offense and went to Chicago, but took the Phillies' as well, as Hiroki Kuroda threw a no-hitter through 7 1/3 innings on the way to a combined 1-hit shutout of the Phillies, the 11th time the Phils have been shut out this season.
Meanwhile, back in Atlanta, the shrinkage-ravaged Mets fell to the Braves 9-3, so the Phillies wound up the evening 3 games back in the NL East. But thanks to more Carlos Gonzalez heroics in San Francisco, the Phillies' wild card lead remained at 1.5 games.
Early in the game, the Dodgers put up single runs against Halladay by playing an elevated game of "Batted Balls to the Right Side" as Ryan Theriot walked, was singled over to second on a ball that Ryan Howard muffed, then knocked home on another right field grounder by James Loney. In the second, Casey Blake and Jamey Carroll singled AGAIN to the right side before ubiquitous bad-luck omen Rod Barajas managed to score the Dodgers' second run on a double-play ball. As if that wasn't bad enough, Barajas then led off the fifth inning with a home run that artistically scraped the left-field wall just over his name on the display board (through his first three plate appearances, Barajas' career numbers against the Phils: .352/.377/.802. - h/t PhillyFriar), as the improbable hit parade continued.
All in all, the Dodgers rapped out ten hits against Halladay, a good four of which weren't terribly hard hit, and six of them came with two outs. He struck out four, and journeyed on into Walter Johnson territory as an impressive road pitcher who allows his teammates in the bullpen to get good and drunk the night before he pitches.
Hiroki Kuroda continued to pwn the Phillies, his mesmerizing leg kick no-hitting the Phillies through seven, allowing only Jayson Werth to reach base when he hit him with a pitch in the second inning (Raul Ibanez grounded into a double play, so Kuroda faced the mininum number of batters through five). He walked Carlos Ruiz with one out in the sixth, but Halladay failed to get the bunt down and Jimmy Rollins struck out. And I'll give Kuroda this much: his game ended before last week's 14-inning L'Affaire Astros, so I'm hittin' the hay earlier! Arigato, Kuroda-san!
In the eighth, Jayson Werth lead off with a walk, then took out Ryan Theriot on a hard take-out slide to prevent a second Raul Ibanez double play. Finally, Shane Victorino singled to right field to end the no-hit bid. After Carlos Ruiz struck out, Charlie Manuel went to Domonic Brown to pinch-hit for Halladay. Joe Torre, in retort, lifted Kuroda for Hong-Chih Kuo. Manuel countermanded that move with hugmeister Mike Sweeney for Brown. And in finality, all of this promulent thesaurisizing went for naught in one pitch, and Sweeney grounded out to shortstop and the Dodgers' shutout was preserved. And Dom continues on his impressive string of 11 at-bats in 19 games.
Kuo pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to end the combined one-hitter, leaving Phillies fans to ponder life after a Halladay loss thusly: Who's pitching tomorrow? Oh.
Yo, anytime now, Messrs. Howard and Utley. Any. Time.