Lidge can't save Moyer gem in LA
Closer allows two-run ninth after veteran goes seven strong
LOS ANGELES -- Most of the Phillies had cleared the visitor's clubhouse at Dodger Stadium on Friday night when somebody asked Jamie Moyer if a loss like the one the Phillies had just suffered could have a hangover effect.
"It depends how much you drink afterward," Moyer said.
The Phillies lost a heartbreaker to the Dodgers, 4-3, blowing a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and nobody on base.
"I guess about the only thing you can say is what old Yogi [Berra] used to say," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's not over until the fat lady sings. Or it's never over till it's over. Standing there with two outs and two strikes on a hitter and you end up losing a game. That's kind of how it goes sometimes. That's how it went tonight."
Phillies closer Brad Lidge had been nearly unhittable in his previous five appearances. Lidge had not allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings. He had allowed just one hit and one walk and had struck out five. Opponents had hit .077 (1-for-13) against him.
Lidge struck out Rafael Furcal to start the inning. He got Orlando Hudson to ground out weakly to the pitcher's mound for the second out.
He had Casey Blake 1-2 when he threw a slider down and away.
It was a good pitch.
It was right where Lidge said he wanted it, but Blake hit the ball off the end of the bat to left field for a single.
"He did a good job," Lidge said.
James Loney then turned a seven-pitch at-bat into a walk to put two on.
Lidge had been in these situations numerous times last season, when he saved 48 games in 48 opportunities, including the postseason. And the way Lidge had been throwing recently, this had a familiar feel to the jams Lidge found himself in last season.
He would make it hairy, but he ultimately would prevail.
He had it, too.
Russell Martin hit a hard ground ball to Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz, who has been playing a stellar hot corner since he arrived last season. But this time the ball bounced off Feliz's glove and got away from him. He scrambled to pick up the ball and threw to first in a desperate attempt to get Martin, but it wasn't close.
"I just missed it," Feliz said. "I've got nothing more to say about it."
"Pedro makes that play as good as anybody," Lidge said. "I don't even want to know the percentage on that. That's something you never see. I'll take my chances with him over anybody, really."
Andre Ethier stepped in with the bases loaded and ripped a first-pitch fastball into the right-field corner to score Blake and Loney to win the game.
"The thing about the bases loaded, you know they're going to throw you strikes," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
Either was waiting for it.
"He did a good job getting a hit in that situation, and he was a little more aggressive than I thought he'd be," Lidge said.
It wasted a great night from Moyer, who threw a season-high seven innings, allowing just four hits and two runs. After he allowed a leadoff single to Juan Pierre in the first inning, he didn't allow another hit until Matt Kemp hit a leadoff single in the sixth inning. In between? Moyer retired 14 of 15 batters he faced.
Moyer has a 3.60 ERA (10 earned runs in 25 innings) in his past four starts, which was perhaps the only silver lining to take from Friday night. He had an 8.15 ERA after his first seven starts this season, which included a three-start stretch in which he went 0-2 with a 13.86 ERA.
The loss also magnified a poor showing offensively. The Phillies had 11 hits, but were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. They left 11 runners on base. Jimmy Rollins, who went 0-for-5, left four runners in scoring position.
But whenever a closer blows a save, the focus is on him. Lidge understands this, but this was one he didn't fully deserve.
"The season hasn't gone quite as smooth as last year," Lidge said. "I know that. But I've been feeling great. I felt really good again tonight. It's frustrating. You want everything to go well. Then something like that happens."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.