LOS ANGELES (AP) — Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel has had Ryan Howard in his lineup for 7½ seasons, and no one has contributed more to the Phillies’ two pennants and one World Series title during that stretch.
But Manuel is a tough old bird who remains true to himself — and his word. So when he sent Howard up to pinch-hit in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and the Phillies down by a run, and then just as quickly called him back because of a pitching change, it was one of the toughest decisions Manuel ever made.
Kevin Frandsen batted for the 2006 NL MVP against left-hander J.P. Howell and grounded into a fielder’s choice started by shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s diving stop toward the middle of the diamond. The Phillies ended up losing 4-3 on A.J. Ellis’ RBI single in the ninth off rookie Justin De Fratus (2-3).
“It was a real tough decision for me to call him back — real hard,” Manuel said. “But I just didn’t feel good about sending him up against a lefty. That was one of the biggest reasons why I didn’t leave him up there. Believe me, I have all the respect in the world for him. But we just needed a single to give us two runs, and I thought Frandsen was more apt to make contact. And he’s got good numbers against lefties.”
Howard is batting just .173 against left-handers, so he didn’t play against Chris Capuano Friday night — or Saturday against Hyun-Jin Ryu. That made Cliff Lee’s job even more difficult. The Phillies’ lefty ended up with a no-decision after giving up a tape-measure three-run homer to Ramirez in the first inning. Lee allowed three runs and four hits over seven, the 11th straight start in which he went at least that long.
“That’s unreal,” Manuel said. “He pitched fantastic, but we couldn’t put two hits together against their guy.”
Ryu allowed two runs, seven hits and three walks in seven innings and struck out six. Chase Utley homered in his first two career at-bats against him, but the Dodgers were able to bounce back from a 16-1 loss Friday that was the franchise’s most lopsided at home since a 19-2 rout by the New York Giants on July 3, 1947 — during Jackie Robinson’s rookie season when the franchise was in Brooklyn.
It was Utley’s 20th career multihomer effort, and marked the first time he went deep twice in a game against the same pitcher since April 28, 2009 — when he did it against current teammate John Lannan, who was then with Washington.
“Chase Utley’s been locked in this entire series, so I’m happy we were able to keep those to solo homers,” Ellis said after the Dodgers’ seventh win in eight games. “He’s a world-class hitter who’s got small windows to go to. And if you miss those your window, you’re going to play. I’m glad we only see him one more time, because he’s heating up for sure.”
Ramirez led off the ninth with a single before Matt Kemp took a called third strike. De Fratus walked Andre Ethier before Ellis lined a 2-2 fastball to right, driving in the winning run.
It was the second loss in this series for De Fratus, who has been the pitcher of record in each of the Phillies’ last three defeats. On Thursday night, he gave up the tying and go-ahead runs on a seventh-inning single by rookie Yasiel Puig.
“After falling behind 2-0 to Ethier, I’m not going to allow him to beat me when I have two righties coming up because he’s a dangerous hitter,” De Fratus said. “This entire road trip had been a rough one, personally. I mean, we’ve had plenty of opportunities to win games, and I’ve almost single-handedly blown it. But I’m going to show up tomorrow, I’ll tell you that for sure. That ain’t going to beat me, man.”
Kenley Jansen (2-3) got the win after blowing his third save in 10 chances. He came in trying to protect a 3-2 lead in the ninth for Ryu, but was undermined by some shoddy defense by his teammates.
Michael Young led off the ninth with a single down the right-field line and continued to second when Puig misplayed the ball for an error. Young advanced on Utley’s groundout and held up on Jimmy Rollins’ shallow fly to center fielder Kemp, whose hurried throw to the plate was about 20 feet to the first base side and bounced away from catcher Ellis, allowing Young to dash home with the tying run.
Domonic Brown followed with a triple to left field that Ethier — playing out of position — had difficulty tracking. But Jansen came back to strike out Delmon Young.
Puig, who has hit safely in 21 of his first 25 major league games, triggered the Dodgers’ first-inning rally with a single before Lee walked Adrian Gonzalez. Ramirez drove the next pitch an estimated 439 feet to center field.
NOTES: The Phillies have pushed back struggling LHP Cole Hamels two days in the rotation to next Thursday at Pittsburgh, which would give him seven days’ rest between starts. The 2008 World Series MVP and NLCS MVP is 2-11 with a 4.58 ERA in 17 outings and leads the majors in losses. “He might benefit by clearing his head,” Manuel said. “He’s totally healthy. We just want to give him a blow and see if it won’t help him some, and see if it can get him feeling good about himself.” … Phillies CF Ben Revere had three hits against Ryu, giving him eight during the first three games of this series.
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