Yasiel Puig’s first-inning homer off the Phillies’ Aaron Harang pushed the Dodgers out to a quick three-run lead and they never looked back on the way to a 4-3 victory Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Jeff Francoeur smacked a two-run homer with one out in the eighth inning to help the Phillies crawl within a run with Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf waiting to hit, but that was as close as the Phillies got.
The loss is just the Phillies’ fourth in 17 games since the All-Star break. The team has not lost back-to-back games since July 12, but it faces the majors’ top pitcher in Zack Greinke on Thursday afternoon.
Starting pitching report
Like Jerome Williams a night earlier, Harang was hardly the model of efficiency on the mound. The big righty needed 104 pitches to get through five innings in which he allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks. Luckily for Harang only one of those walks came around to score.
However, a pair of first-inning singles set the table for a two-out homer for Puig, which was the shot that did the most damage.
Dodgers starter Brett Anderson held the Phillies in check for six innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out five.
Hector Neris turned in two shaky, yet scoreless innings before turning it over to Elvis Araujo for the eighth and ninth.
Araujo pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a walk with a strikeout.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save of the season.
At the plate
Puig’s two-out homer in the first was all the offense the Dodgers needed, though they added a run in the fifth when Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to drive home Jimmy Rollins.
Howie Kendrick had three hits for the Dodgers and Andre Either, Alberto Callaspo and Puig added a pair of hits each.
Francoeur’s 10th homer of the season brought the Phillies to within a run in the eighth, but aside from the long ball and Maikel Franco’s RBI double in the third, there wasn’t much offense.
Certainly the Phillies had some chances. Twice the Phillies reached on a fielding error and followed it with a walk, but couldn’t cash in, going 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.
The return of Rollins
Rollins led off again for the Dodgers and was again greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park. In five plate appearances, Rollins popped out twice, grounded out, walked twice and scored a run.
Francoeur’s homer was the 150th of his career.
The Phillies and Dodgers close the three-game series on Thursday afternoon when David Buchanan (2-5, 6.44) takes on ace Zack Greinke (10-2, 1.41). Buchanan faced the Dodgers once last season, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings for a win.
Greinke has been pretty good against the Phillies during his career with the Royals, Brewers and Dodgers. In seven appearances (six starts), Greinke is 5-1 with a 2.03 ERA against the Phils, while holding the team to a .189 batting average. He last faced the Phillies on July 9 when he allowed a hit — and that’s it — over eight innings for a win.