LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers have had little success against Cliff Lee. Things were no different for the NL West champions on Monday night.
The Dodgers managed only four hits against the 13-year veteran left-hander during his eight innings on the mound and struck out 10 times in a 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Three of those hits went to the first five batters, as Lee retired 21 of the last 22 he faced.
“He’s always been tough and he’s always thrown the baseball where he wanted it to, but it looks like he’s using more pitches now,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s usually was pretty simple – beat you with stuff and location. And now using more pitches and not throwing quite as hard. But obviously, we see that doesn’t matter a whole lot.”
Left-hander Paul Maholm (0-2) gave up five runs and eight hits over five innings and committed a throwing error in the fifth that gave the Phillies an unearned run.
“If you’re pumping strikes like Cliff was, sometimes you get the benefit of the doubt. I wasn’t doing it and so the close pitches didn’t go my way,” Maholm said. “But the strike zone was the least of my worries.”
Maholm used 29 of his 107 pitches to get out of the first after a leadoff walk to Tony Gwynn Jr. Jimmy Rollins followed with a bloop single to right-center. Matt Kemp slowed up on the catchable ball when he saw right fielder Yasiel Puig coming hard. Both runners scored on Carlos Ruiz’s double into the right field corner.
“Obviously going up against Cliff, you know you have to be on your game,” Maholm said. “It was frustrating just going through a long first inning, battling, not having your stuff, and doing everything possible to get deep into the game. The bullpen needed a rest and unfortunately I didn’t give it to them.”
Puig tried to get one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning, but ran into an out trying to score from second on an infield hit up the middle by Adrian Gonzalez that extended his hitting streak to 16 games.
Second baseman Chase Utley fielded the ball behind the bag and looked straight at Puig, who ended up in a rundown. Ruiz took Utley’s throw to the plate and chased Puig back to third before making a lunging tag for the third out with Kemp on deck.
“The play’s behind him but he’s got to make sure that ball’s through,” Mattingly said. “He didn’t look up, so it wouldn’t have mattered if we’d held him or not.”
The Dodgers got only one more hit over the next 6 2-3 innings – a leadoff single in the second by Kemp, who entered 1 for 15 against Lee with nine strikeouts. Lee retired the next 20 batters before Tim Federowicz singled with two out in the eighth.
The Phillies made it 5-0 with a three-run fifth. Howard hit his fifth homer of the season one pitch after a two-out walk to Ruiz. John Mayberry Jr. singled and scored when Maholm threw the ball over Gonzalez’s head at first base after fielding a tapper to the right of the mound by Freddy Galvis.
Ruiz drove in his first four runs of the season while batting in the cleanup spot, giving his batterymate all the support he would need.
Lee (3-2) has pitched at least seven innings and allowed no more than three earned runs in any of his eight regular-season starts against the Dodgers. It was the fifth time he has had at least 10 Ks against them, and a number of their hitters were griping about umpire Hunter Wendelstedt’s strike zone.
“It’s a good thing for me when they’re complaining about called strikes. I don’t see how that can be a bad thing for me,” Lee said.
Lee had at least one strikeout in every inning he pitched and did not walk a batter, giving way to Jeff Manship after 113 pitches.
NOTES: The Dodgers dedicated their training room and named it in honor of Dr. Frank Jobe, the team’s longtime physician who died March 6 at age 88. On hand for the pregame ceremony was Tommy John, whose career was extended 14 years by Jobe with the elbow ligament-replacement surgery he developed and has become commonplace in baseball. … Clayton Kershaw came out of Sunday’s simulated game without incident and will throw a bullpen session Tuesday as a prelude to a possible minor league rehab start later in the week. … The Dodgers have committed 21 errors through their first 20 games. … Maholm reached the 1,500-inning mark in his career when he struck out Lee for the second out in the second.