Phillies shut down by Dodgers, 6-1
LOS ANGELES - Jimmy Rollins couldn't believe what he heard, so he engaged second-base umpire Dale Scott in a brief conversation.
Rollins turned and was about to fire the baseball back to Kyle Kendrick, but still couldn't believe Scott didn't see Yasiel Puig come off second after he overslid the bag on a steal in the fourth inning. So the shortstop engaged the umpire again, to no avail.
Less than 5 minutes later, Scott's blown call showed up on the previous unblemished scoreboard at Dodger Stadium.
Hanley Ramirez ripped a single to left to bring Puig home with the game's first run. The Dodgers would score two more times in the inning, which would be more than enough to take a 6-1 victory over the Phillies.
Before Rollins followed Chase Utley's two-out single with one of his own in the ninth, the Phillies were in danger of getting shut out for the eighth time this season. Only Atlanta and Miami have been shut out more times.
Although the continuing offensive struggles would seem to loom just as large on the final scoreboard as an umpire's botched play, Rollins didn't believe so.
"It had less to do with the offense," said Rollins, pointing instead to not one, but two, stolen-base plays he believed Scott missed in the fourth inning. "Those plays at that point, [Puig's] out, then the next guy gets a hit and [Andre] Ethier grounds out. And it ended up with them scoring three runs that inning. Those were a couple of gateway plays and that changes the outcome of the game right there."
Rollins was also unconcerned that the Phillies' 1-3 weekend at Chavez Ravine sunk them to 9 1/2 games back in the NL East and five games under .500, both season low points.
"Disappointed? No, I'm not disappointed at all," Rollins said. "This series could have been 3-1 in either direction or 2-2. They played a little better. They got the job done, and that's all that matters."
And of a near-double digit division deficit on July 1?
"[I have] faith - it's that simple," Rollins said. "Last I checked, we haven't made it to the All-Star break yet. We've been in tougher positions. With much less time."
The Phillies were also a younger team with productive hitters in their prime before, too.
If Friday night's 21-hit, 16-run offensive breakout was an atypical game for Charlie Manuel and Co., the two games that followed were typical performances for the 2013 Phillies. They've scored four runs in 18 innings since Friday.
On Saturday night, the Phils outhit the Dodgers 11-6, but also went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, stranding 11 runners on base. Yesterday, the Phils managed just six hits: Two came in the last-gasp ninth and their only extra-base hit came on the first play of the game, when Michael Young led off with a double.
Before the ninth inning, Dodgers rookie rightfielder Yasiel Puig (4-for-5) matched the Phils' hit total all by himself. Puig was a home run away from hitting for the cycle.
"He's a good player," Manuel said. "He's got a lot of talent. Right now I look up there and see  at-bats and 44 hits. That's a pretty good start for a rookie."
The Phils would love to have that kind of production out of the middle of their own lineup. Instead, they have Ryan Howard.
After being benched for two straight games, Howard returned to the lineup yesterday. Howard went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, including the game's final out.
Howard, whose last hit came at Citizens Bank Park, is hitless in his last 20 at-bats with 11 strikeouts.
"We've got to keep working with him because we need him to hit," Manuel said of Howard, who spent the previous 2 days working more with the team's two hitting coaches. "We need to get him right. Believe me, we're going to keep trying."
Howard, Domonic Brown and Delmon Young - the fourth through sixth hitters in the lineup - were a combined 0-for-10 with five strikeouts.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, had at least one hit from seven of the nine players in their lineup. They also went 3-for-4 in stolen-base attempts.
Bad calls or not yesterday, the Phillies have allowed 58 stolen bases this season. They are tied with the San Francisco Giants for allowing the most in the National League.
"Basically, they outplayed us," Manuel said. "They got on, they stole, they set themselves up to manufacture runs. The four runs they had, three of them they got by manufacturing - getting on stealing and taking advantage of the fact we couldn't stop them."
On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21