After being handcuffed on consecutive nights by Phillies aces Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, the Dodgers tried to vent their frustration against Philadelphia's standout rookie right-hander Vance Worley.
Worley, 23, brought an 8-1 record to Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers pounced on him for five runs in a first inning in which nine batters went to the plate Wednesday afternoon.
Trouble is, the Dodgers, led by starting pitcher Chad Billingsley, still had eight innings to play against the team with the best record (77-40) in the major leagues.
In a collapse notable even by the Dodgers' sub-.500 standard, Billingsley surrendered most of a 6-0 lead in 41/3 innings, his infielders made two key errors, the bullpen faltered badly and the Phillies roared back to win, 9-8, and sweep the three-game series.
"It was just frustrating to get the lead and not be able to hold it," Manager Don Mattingly said. "It didn't take long, either … they put up their nine [runs] in three innings."
The knock on the Dodgers much of this season is that the hitters haven't given the pitchers enough run support. Yet, when Billingsley was staked to a 6-0 lead, that wasn't enough.
Juan Rivera, back in the starting lineup after slightly injuring his right knee Monday, led the Dodgers' first-inning attack when he drilled a 3-and-2 pitch from Worley for a three-run home run.
But after the Dodgers (52-64) added a run in the third inning on Dioner Navarro's sacrifice fly, their lead began crumbling in the fourth inning.
Billingsley walked Ryan Howard and served up a two-run home run to Hunter Pence. Michael Martinez later hit a sharp grounder that first baseman James Loney couldn't handle for an error, and Worley singled to drive in Martinez. The score was 6-3.
With one out in the fifth inning, third baseman Casey Blake booted a Pence grounder that enabled Shane Victorino to score and cut the Dodgers' lead to 6-4. Two runners remained on base.
Mattingly lifted Billingsley at that point and the pitcher slammed his glove on the bench after reaching the dugout. Moments later, Philadelphia cashed in one of the runners against reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, cutting the lead to 6-5.
"[I] didn't have as quite a good a rhythm" as normal "and I was struggling with my command," said Billingsley, who didn't factor in the decision.
Blake Hawksworth (2-3) gave up three runs and three hits in a four-run sixth inning that enabled Philadelphia to leapfrog to a 9-7 lead. The big blow in that inning: a two-run home run by Howard, his 25th.
"They're just going to keep grinding out at-bats and getting on base and clawing their way back in there, and the next thing you know, they're leading," Blake said of the Phillies.
The Dodgers got one more run in the ninth inning when Blake scored on Rivera's groundout against closer Ryan Madson. But pinch-hitter Rod Barajas flied out to end the game.