LOS ANGELES There was some very cool theater in the Phillies 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night, a couple of very interesting reactions from two of the most powerful men in baseball.
The bullpen performances of Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson prompted the reactions from Roy Halladay and Scott Boras, respectively.
Halladay left a three-run lead in Bastardos hands with one out and two men on base in the seventh inning. The Phillies ace, often called the best pitcher in the game, did not seem particularly happy to leave the game at the 111-pitch mark, but Charlie Manuel wanted a lefty-lefty matchup on Andre Ethier, so he called on Bastardo.
Bastardo fell behind 3-and-0 before climbing back and getting Ethier to ground out into a 6-4-3 double play.
Saved the game, pitching coach Rich Dubee said afterward.
Halladay agreed in word and action.
As Bastardo reached the dugout stairs at the end of the inning, Halladay, wearing a jacket after coming out of the game, rose from his seat and gave Bastardo a fist bump and a pat on the shoulder. This qualified as off-the-charts emotion from the stoic pitcher.
Relief, said Halladay, summing up the feeling he had watching Bastardo get the job done. Obviously I wished it was me in there, but its a great feeling for any pitcher to have a guy come in behind you and not just save you runs, but at that point save the game. It was a huge double play.
Not every Phillies reliever was as effective as Bastardo. Mike Stutes had a difficult time, and Brad Lidge walked a high-wire, as the Dodgers made it a one-run game in the eighth inning. Shane Victorino, who had a big night, homered in the top of the ninth to give the Phils a little padding in the ninth, not that closer Madson needed it. He survived a leadoff single to Casey Blake and recorded his 20th save.
Madson seemed to get rolling as the inning went on. He got dangerous Matt Kemp (26 homers, 84 RBIs) on a three-pitch strikeout fastball, changeup, changeup for the second out. Madsons overpowering of Kemp got Boras attention behind the backstop. Boras, of course, is the high-powered, Southern California-based agent that represents Madson. As Madson worked Kemp over, Boras sat up on the edge of his front-row seat. He stayed there as Madson retired Aaron Miles for the final out. A look into Boras mind at that point probably would have revealed him thinking about the pay day he is going to seek for his client this winter. Madson, of course, is eligible for free agency at seasons end.
Much has been written and spoken about the Phillies starting rotation, but the bullpen had been outstanding as well. The Phils have just three blown saves as a team all season one by Madson, one by Danys Baez and one by Andrew Carpenter.
There were other factors in the Phillies 75th win Monday night. Getting an early lead on Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda was huge. He had allowed just three runs in five career regular-season starts against the Phils. But this time, the Phils got a run in the first inning and two more in the second. Ryan Howards infield hit scored Victorino, who had his first of two doubles, in the first, and Jimmy Rollins doubled home two in the second.
We found a way to scrape out some early runs and that was important against Kuroda, Victorino said. Kuroda pitched well, but our guy pitched a little better.
That was Halladay, who leads the NL with 15 wins. He allowed nine hits, but all were singles. Halladay never frets over high hit totals because he manages a game so well. Case in point: He gave up a run in the fifth, but struck out Ethier on a sharp, full-count breaking ball to end the inning with a man on second. An inning later, he allowed two singles to open the frame then got three outs, punctuated by a strikeout of Jamey Carroll on a 2-2 fastball.
The Phillies are now 7-1 on this roadtrip.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com.