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1-0 Loss to Phillies Sinks L.A. : Dodgers: Once again, Valdes follows Nomo to mound. Once again, despite sharp performance, he loses.

September 07, 1995|CHRIS BAKER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ismael Valdes has the toughest assignment in the Dodger pitching rotation. He follows Hideo Nomo.

The Dodgers, who have lost 15 of 24 games following a Nomo victory, lost again, 1-0, to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night before a paid crowd of 29,835 at Dodger Stadium.

Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said he can't explain the Dodgers' post-Nomo record.

"How can you answer that question," Lasorda said with a sigh.

Valdes agreed.

"It doesn't matter," Valdes said when asked if it's difficult to follow Nomo.

The loss dropped the Dodgers into a first-place tie in the NL West with the Colorado Rockies, who beat the Chicago Cubs, 10-4.

Philadelphia closer Heathcliff Slocumb retired the side in order in the ninth for his 30th save, getting first baseman Eric Karros to ground out to shortstop and retiring Mike Piazza on a long fly ball to right field. Right fielder Mark Whitten made a running catch against the bullpen gate of Piazza's drive.

Delino DeShields struck out on a called third strike to end the game as the Dodgers were shut out for the 12th time this season, the highest total in the league.

The Dodgers, who have scored only two runs in their last two games, managed only three hits as the heart of the order went 0-for-11.

Center fielder Raul Mondesi was hitless in four at-bats, Karros was hitless in four at-bats with a strikeout and Piazza was hitless in three at-bats with a walk.

The Dodgers wasted a good performance by Valdes (11-10), who lost his third game in a row despite allowing only one run and three hits in eight innings.

"He pitched a hell of a ballgame, but unfortunately we weren't able to give him anything to work with," Lasorda said.

After allowing a two-out, first-inning single to first baseman Gregg Jeffries, Valdes retired the next 19 batters. Valdes, who had six strikeouts in the first six innings, struck out the side in the sixth inning.

"It's kind of frustrating because I'm not helping the team," Valdes said. "It was a tough loss, but what can I say?

"I think I was lucky tonight. I was just trying to hit my spots in and out and to get the corners. I just tried to make good pitches."

The Phillies got the only run in the eighth inning.

Jim Eisenreich, who had a .417 career batting average against the Dodgers before the game, led off the eighth inning with a single to left to end Valdes' streak, and Andy Van Slyke followed with a single to right. They advanced on Mike Lieberthal's sacrifice.

Kevin Elster drove in Eisenreich with a sacrifice to left field as the Phillies ended the Dodgers' three-game winning streak.

Rookie starter Mike Grace (1-1) allowed only two hits in the first seven innings before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, but the Dodgers had their chances.

The Dodgers blew a chance to load the bases after Dave Hansen was caught in a rundown between third and home on a single up the middle by Chad Fonville with two out in the third. Hansen gambled that Fonville's single would go through, but second baseman Mickey Morandini cut it off, trapping Hansen.

In a normal game it wouldn't matter, but it may have been the most important play of the game because of the Dodgers' inability to score.

"I knew it wasn't hit hard, but I thought it might have a chance [to go through the infield]," Hansen said. "If he a chance, I thought [Morandini] would go to first."

Mondesi and Karros nearly hit back-to-back homers off Grace in the fourth inning, but center fielder Van Slyke made an outstanding catch of Mondesi's drive against the wall in right-center and Whitten made a fine running catch at the bullpen gate of Karros' fly.

The Dodgers stranded runners at first and third in the seventh, when Hansen struck out.

Valdes, who allowed one run and three hits in eight innings, was lifted for pinch-hitter Chris Gywnn, who opened the eighth with a single to left before he was pulled for pinch-runner Roger Cedeno. But the Dodgers stranded Cedeno at second.

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