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More Than Meets the Eye in Dodgers' 2-1 Loss to Phillies

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Just a cursory look at the box score, and nothing would seem amiss in the Dodgers’ 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Phillies’ starter Cliff Lee was his usual transcendent self pitching eight innings of shutout ball. But a closer look would show how strange a night it was at Dodger Stadium.

For one, Ted Lilly matched Lee for the most part inning-for-inning. I had to look around to make sure the apocalypse wasn’t upon us or that there was a full moon. And there were no Santa Ana winds on this overcast night to stir things up.

The only real exception to this was the third inning when Wilson Valdez, who led off with a single, scored on Jimmy Rollins’ double.

Admittedly it is a stretch to say that Lilly was on the level of Lee. Lee, after giving up back-to-back singles to lead off the first inning, retired 12 consecutive batters before giving up a single in the fifth inning. Lilly had a single here, a walk there, a horrific Jamey Carroll fielding error on a Carlos Ruiz pop-up that went in and out of his glove. But Lilly was able to escape jams.

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“Teddy threw the ball really good tonight,” Manager Don Mattingly said. “He had command of everything he wanted to do and threw the ball well.”

But the world righted itself in the seventh inning with Lilly giving up a homer. Of course on the night dripping with strangeness, it wasn’t to the normal suspects. Not to Rollins. Not to Ryan Howard. Not to Chase Utley, Hunter Pence or Shane Victorino. Nope it was to Lee.

“That’s going to bother me a while, that’s for sure,” Lilly groused. “That was a major mistake that cost us a good chance of winning the game.”

Lee was quite happy getting his second career home run, the other coming on July 9 against the Atlanta Braves. Before the game the Phillies were listing who had hit the ball out of Dodger Stadium when Lee jokingly said he would be next.

“I was joking around with the guys,” Lee said. “I never expected that to happen. But I found myself in a 2-0 count and got a good pitch to hit.”

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Nonetheless, Lilly lasted an unprecedented (this season, that is) eight innings marking his second consecutive quality start. He admitted to making some mechanical tweaks to give him some margin of error.

“I’m trying to stay on line a little bit better. By doing that when I miss, at least I’m staying in the same lane that I’m trying to throw it in. I’m not missing back over the plate. I’m giving myself a chance that way.”

But that Lee home run would haunt the Dodgers as they scratched for one run in the ninth inning off of Phillies closer Ryan Madson.

The scariest moment of the night came in the eighth inning after Dee Gordon swung and miss on a 0-1 offering by Lee. Gordon dropped his right arm although he said it didn’t hurt as much as it did when he left the game on Saturday.

“It was way worse last time,” Gordon emphasized. “It just didn’t feel right.”

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Gordon showed his frustration in the dugout after being taken out. “It still sucks because I want to be on the field.”

Gordon will have an MRI on Wednesday.

Notes: Dodgers honored Hall of Fame centerfielder Duke Snider with a bobblehead night in front of 46,547. The hall of fame sent his plaque that was displayed during a pregame ceremony attended by surviving members of his family including his widow Beverly. The Dodger Stadium grounds crew honored the Duke by spending a week growing the number “4” in the centerfield grass. The Phillies have won 11 of their last 12 games to improve to 76-40, the best record in the Majors.

LA Angels defeat New York Yankees 6-4. Curtis Granderson got the first run and the last out for the Yankees. Granderson’s first inning solo shot held up until the sixth inning when the Angels offense exploded triggered by Bobby Abreu’s game tying homer.

After Mark Trumbo walked and Maicer Izturis was intentionally walked with two outs, A.J. Burnett danced around the edges of the strike zone with Peter Bourjos. Unfortunately for Burnett all that dancing got him a walk to Bourjos loading the bases. Jeff Mathis hit a ground-rule double scoring two. And just to add insult to injury, Burnett made a wild pitch that scored Bourjos.

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The Yankees got three more runs off of Dan Haren in the seventh inning to tie the game, with a big assist going to reliever Fernando Rodney who gave up a two-RBI single to Derek Jeter - the only batter he faced. But Abreu’s two-run homer in the ninth inning gave the Angels the lead for good.

Not to say the Angels didn’t have to sweat it out. Closer Jordan Walden was a bit wild having Mark Teixeira standing in the batter’s box representing the winning run. Fortunately for Walden, Granderson took the game out of Teixeira’s hands getting caught in a rundown to end the game.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

LA Angels at New York Yankees. 4:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

Philadelphia Phillies at LA Dodgers. 12:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.