LOS ANGELES ― There were two kinds of fans among the announced crowd of 46,539 at Dodger Stadium on Thursday: those who beat traffic, and those who witnessed first-hand that no lead is safe.
The Dodgers rallied from a six-run deficit to tie the Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth inning, only to allow two runs in the ninth en route to a 9-7 loss.
After their 7-1 lead evaporated, the Phillies loaded the bases against Dodgers pitcher Daniel Hudson in the ninth. Odubel Herrera started the rally by bunting for a single. Hudson got his glove on a grounder up the middle by Rhys Hoskins but couldn’t make a play; had he let the ball go, the Dodgers might have had a chance to turn a double play.
Instead, with two runners on and no one out, Hudson (1-3) walked Alec Bohm to load the bases. Then, with Bryce Harper batting, the veteran right-hander threw a wild pitch in the dirt that bounced past catcher Will Smith, allowing Herrera to score from third base. A sacrifice fly by Harper scored Hoskins with the Phillies’ final run.
“Probably not expecting a first-pitch bunt (from Herrera) there,” Hudson said. “Obviously whiffing on that ground ball up the middle stings a little bit too.”
Hudson also took the loss Wednesday in Pittsburgh, allowing a home run to Daniel Vogelbach in the seventh inning of a 3-3 game. Both times, Hudson allowed the winning run following a game-tying rally in the previous half-inning.
“It’s a frustrating couple days for me,” said Hudson, who had allowed one earned run in his first nine appearances before allowing three in his last two.
With the Dodgers trailing 7-1 in the sixth inning, Smith pummeled a ground ball down the third-base line into left field, bringing home two runs and knocking out Phillies starter Zack Wheeler.
The Dodgers still trailed 7-3 in the eighth inning when Smith batted with the bases loaded – this time against left-hander Jose Alvarado. He poked a single through a shallow infield to score another run.
Justin Turner then pinch hit for Edwin Rios with Alvarado, a left-handed pitcher, on the mound. Turner’s double down the line scored Trea Turner and Max Muncy with the Dodgers’ fifth and sixth runs.
Alvarado pitched to Cody Bellinger, a left-handed hitter, with first base open and struck him out. But Chris Taylor punched a single through the left side of the infield to drive in Smith, tying the score at 7-7.
The Dodgers had chances to pad their lead but failed. Pinch hitter Hanser Alberto laid down a safety squeeze, but the ball quickly found the glove of first baseman Hoskins. Pinch-runner Austin Barnes was thrown out trying to score from third base.
“(Alberto) did it well,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Hoskins charged well and (made) a perfect throw.”
The Phillies’ next pitcher, Andrew Bellatti, walked Mookie Betts to load the bases. But Freddie Freeman – the third Dodger to bat with the bases loaded in the eighth inning – popped out in foul territory to kill the rally.
The Dodgers loaded the bases again in the ninth inning against former teammate Corey Knebel. Barnes then flied out to right field, too shallow for Trea Turner to tag up and score from third base. Bellinger popped out in foul territory down the left-field line. Taylor worked the count full, only to hit a lazy fly ball to center field to end the game.
“Our pitching’s been so good that we haven’t been put in that position too often,” Taylor said of the Dodgers’ 7-1 deficit. “I don’t know how many times we’ve been there, but we were able to rally in the eighth and ninth, a little bit, just couldn’t come up with the big hit.”
“We showed a lot of fight,” said Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson, who took one for the team.
The veteran left-handed pitcher was no mystery. Home runs by Harper and Johan Camargo left the Dodgers down 4-0 after two innings. Single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings padded the Phillies’ lead. On most nights, Anderson would have headed for the showers early.
Instead, with the Dodger bullpen feeling the effects of a long road trip, and a densely packed schedule looming, Anderson slogged through six innings while allowing seven runs.
“I just had a feeling before the game, no matter what happens I was going to be out there for a while,” said Anderson, whose ERA rose from 2.78 to 4.40. “I just tried to throw as many as I could.”
No opponent had scored seven runs against the Dodgers this season since April 10, a 9-4 loss in Colorado. Julio Urías allowed six runs in that game. Since then, only two Dodger starters had allowed more than two runs in a single game.
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Anderson’s performance wasn’t just rare for this season. It was rare for this century. No Dodger pitcher had allowed seven earned runs and 10 hits in a six-inning performance since Darren Dreifort on Aug. 13, 1999.
Win or lose, Roberts determined the Dodgers needed all of Anderson’s 88 pitches to get through Thursday’s game. Triple-A call-up Ryan Pepiot lasted only three innings in his start Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Five relief pitchers were needed to close that game. Four relievers pitched Tuesday. Amid a stretch of 31 games in 30 days, Roberts could not empty his bullpen for the third time in three days.
A solo home run by Bellinger was the only run Wheeler allowed before the sixth inning. Bellinger later missed hitting a second home run off of Wheeler by a few feet wide of the right field foul pole.
Smith and Trea Turner each had two of the Dodgers’ 12 hits. The loss dropped the Dodgers’ record to 20-10, one game ahead of the second-place San Diego Padres in the National League West.