PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Hiroki Kuroda threw one bad pitch. Against Cole Hamels it was one too many.
Kuroda (5-7) allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings, but Hamels beat the Dodgers again to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-0 win over Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
Ryan Howard homered for Philadelphia, which took two of three in the series.
Hamels (8-2) struck out nine and allowed six hits in eight innings without a walk while lowering his ERA to 2.58. He improved to 3-0 with a 1.18 ERA in five career regular-season starts against Los Angeles. He also is 3-0 in three career postseason starts against the Dodgers.
``That's the best I've seen him,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``He was really sharp. We knew we'd have to battle to get runs.'
Hamels said there is nothing special about the Dodgers.
``You don't face them as much so I think if I faced them 30 times like I face the Mets, the record would kind of be different,' he said. ``I've been able to capitalize so far.'
He dominated Los Angeles with a mixture of fastballs and changeups that kept Dodgers hitters off-balance.
``I felt good, felt strong and let the pitches go,' Hamels said. ``It's just a matter of making pitches in the right area.'
Kuroda gave up four hits and three walks while striking out seven.
``He was sharp and his stuff was crisp,' Mattingly said.
``I can't be satisfied,' Kuroda said, ``because I'm out there to win and we didn't win.'
Kuroda had allowed five base runners on two hits and three walks before Howard's one-out homer to right in the sixth put Philadelphia up 1-0.
The Phillies had gone a season-worst 65 1-3 innings without a home run, and Howard had been 0 for 13 with six strikeouts previously against Kuroda.
``It was a bad pitch to Howard,' Kuroda said. ``It was a cutter inside but it wasn't inside enough.'
``It came at the right time,' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ``We definitely have to get more offense than we've been getting.'
Luckily for Manuel and the Phillies, the Dodgers couldn't generate much offense off Hamels.
Their only chance came in the seventh when Andre Ethier doubled to lead off and moved to third on Matt Kemp's hard-hit single to right. But Hamels got Juan Uribe to pop to second, struck out Marcus Thames and got a popup from Rod Barajas.
``He had to pitch out of a jam and did a tremendous job,' Manuel said. ``He pitched a heck of a game, really good.'
Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 14 chances.
The Phillies squandered a chance to score in the fifth off Kuroda, leaving the bases loaded when Domonic Brown flied out to right to end the inning.
Kuroda was cruising along to that point, having retired 14 of the 16 batters he faced through 4 2-3 before Michael Martinez's two-out triple to right.
Kuroda then walked Hamels and seemed to lose the strike zone. Hamels went to second on a wild pitch that went behind Shane Victorino. Martinez started down the line, but retreated to third. The Dodgers then elected to intentionally walk Victorino, bringing Brown to the plate. After working the count to 3-2, Brown lifted the ball to right and it was caught by a charging Ethier. Kuroda threw 28 pitches in the inning.
Philadelphia tacked on a run in the seventh off reliever Matt Guerrier on Brown's fielder's choice that scored Victorino, who had tripled.
Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right knee, but manager Charlie Manuel said the shortstop could start Thursday's game against the Cubs.
NOTES: Philadelphia's Chase Utley sat out Wednesday's game after playing a season-high five straight. Utley spent the first 1 1/2 months on the DL with right knee tendinitis before being activated May 23. ... Despite a game-time temperature of 92 degrees, Philadelphia recorded its 155th consecutive regular-season sellout with a crowd of 44, 751. ... The Phillies presented former tennis star Billie Jean King with a jersey in an on-field ceremony before the game.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved