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It's control chaos for Dodgers in Game 1 loss

Dodgers pitchers serve up seven walks, three wild pitches and two three-run homers in 8-6 loss to Phillies in first game of NL Championship Series. Clayton Kershaw unravels in fifth inning.


The Dodgers slapped around Cole Hamels and forced him out of the game with one out in the sixth inning.

That wasn't enough.

They collected 14 hits and scored six runs.

That wasn't enough.

They held the opposition to eight hits.

That wasn't enough.

Not when the opposition was the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Dodgers dropped the opening game of the National League Championship Series, falling victim to too many walks and a couple of three-run home runs, by Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez, in an 8-6 loss to the Phillies at Dodger Stadium that had them lamenting how they stranded 10 men and were three for 14 with runners in scoring position.

"The way we hit the ball tonight, we probably should have scored a couple of more runs than we did," Matt Kemp said. "We couldn't get it done today. In playoff games, we need to get those big hits. Against the Phillies, you can't just score one run and think you can beat them. They have the same type of lineup that we have. They have power throughout the lineup. You have to keep piling up runs."

The game was an odd one, as the Dodgers appeared to pitch their way out of it -- issuing seven walks and three wild pitches -- only to be granted a second chance at maintaining their home-field advantage. And a third. And a fourth.

Owner Frank McCourt and his wife, Jamie, announced on the eve of the game that they had separated, but the couple watched from the same field-level box and saw James Loney line a second-inning pitch by Hamels over the right-field wall to put the Dodgers ahead, 1-0.

Clayton Kershaw, the 21-year-old left-hander chosen by Manager Joe Torre to start Game 1 over several of his more experienced rotation mates, protected that lead through four innings.

But the Hollywood script about the kid from Texas pitching under the big-city lights took a wrong turn in the fifth inning, which started with a single by Ibanez.

Suddenly unable to throw strikes, Kershaw walked Pedro Feliz, then fell behind 2-0 to Ruiz, who then slammed a 2-1 pitch into the Mannywood section down the left-field line to put the Phillies ahead, 3-1.

Two walks (one to opposing pitcher Hamels), two wild pitches and a Ryan Howard two-run double later, the Dodgers were down, 5-1.

Kershaw, who set an NLCS record with three wild pitches in the inning, was taken out after Howard's hit.

"I don't really have an answer for it right now," said Kershaw, who was charged with five runs, four hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings. "I didn't make adjustments quick enough when I got out of the strike zone."

But the Dodgers forced their way back into the game in the bottom of the inning. Russell Martin doubled, moved to third on a single by Rafael Furcal and scored on a force out by Andre Ethier. Then a towering two-run homer by Manny Ramirez to left-center pulled the Dodgers within 5-4.

They never made up the deficit.

But they came close.

Pinch-hitter Jim Thome drew a two-out walk to load the bases in the sixth inning, setting up Furcal to face rookie J.A. Happ in perhaps the most important at-bat of the game.

Furcal worked the count full against the 26-year-old left-hander, but ended the inning by grounding out to second.

An inning later, more frustration. Ethier led off with a double but never reached third as Ramirez grounded out to third, Kemp struck out and Casey Blake grounded out to second.

"We never got that clutch hit," Furcal said.

That became particularly costly in the eighth inning, when setup man George Sherrill walked the first two batters and served up a three-run blast to Ibanez that put the Dodgers in an 8-4 hole.

Somehow, the Dodgers still had a chance. They charged back by scoring twice in the bottom half of the inning to get to within 8-6, but with two outs and men on the corners, Ramirez again grounded out to third.

"We fought back," Kemp said.

That's more than they did last year when they lost to the Phillies in five games in the NLCS.

The Dodgers made it clear early that they didn't intend to be abused by the Phillies the way they were last season, as Martin started jawing at Shane Victorino after the Dodgers caught Victorino in a rundown to end the top of the first inning.

The two exchanged words again when Victorino went to the plate to lead off the fourth inning.

Martin said he took issue with Victorino's trick of running out of the baseline to try to draw contact and, by extension, an interference call.

"I was letting him know that was tired," said Martin, adding that Victorino was using that trick dating back to their days in the minors.

"He's out," Martin said. "Sit down."

Victorino declined to comment on his exchanges with Martin.




Tanking the fifth

Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was leading, 1-0, before running into problems in the fifth inning, in which he allowed five runs on three hits and three walks. He also threw three wild pitches:

*--* Raul Ibanez Single to left Wild pitch Pedro Feliz Walk Carlos Ruiz Three-run homer Cole Hamels Walk Jimmy Rollins Fielder's choice Shane Victorino Strike out Wild pitch Wild pitch Chase Utley Walk Ryan Howard Two-run double Ramon Troncoso in to pitch Jayson Werth Fly out *--*

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