Reporting from Philadelphia — Don Mattingly recalled how he used to break down video of Cole Hamels when he was the Dodgers' hitting coach.
Mattingly, now the team's manager, said he never saw Hamels pitch the way he pitched Wednesday night.
"That's probably the best I've seen him," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers might be performing better offensively these days, but they weren't about to hit a pitcher no other team is hitting.
Hamels baffled the Dodgers over eight innings in the Philadelphia Phillies' 2-0 victory at Citizens Bank Park, improving to 8-2 and lowering his earned-run average to 2.58. He struck out nine and walked none.
Hiroki Kuroda (5-7) held the Phillies hitless over the first three innings, but was sent to his fourth consecutive defeat on the account of one pitch, an inside fastball in the sixth inning that Ryan Howard sent over the right-field wall for a solo home run.
"It didn't cut enough," Kuroda said.
After Howard's home run, Raul Ibanez doubled to center field, knocking Kuroda out of the game.
Kuroda was charged with a run and four hits in 51/3 innings. He struck out seven.
The Dodgers created a couple of opportunities, but failed to do anything with them.
"That's what makes it a little bit more frustrating than any other loss," center fielder Matt Kemp said. "We had some chances to score some runs and we just didn't get those big hits today. We have to score runs."
The seventh inning was particularly frustrating, as it illustrated the contrast between the two hitters in the middle of the Dodgers' lineup and everyone else.
Right fielder Andre Ethier doubled to lead off the inning and reached third base on a single by Kemp.
With men at the corners and no outs, the Dodgers sent up third baseman Juan Uribe, who went into the game hitting .228.
Uribe popped up to second base.
Next was left fielder Marcus Thames, who started the game with a .154 average.
Thames struck out.
Catcher Rod Barajas, who was batting .208 through Tuesday, took his turn.
He struck out.
Pinch-hitter Aaron Miles singled with one out an inning later. Another pinch-hitter, James Loney, followed. Loney worked the count to 3 and 0, only to fly out to left field on the next pitch.
An infield hit by first baseman Casey Blake, coupled with a throwing error by shortstop Wilson Valdez, put runners at the corners.
But Ethier grounded out to first base to end the inning.
"We had our shot," Mattingly said.
Mattingly said he shouldered some of the responsibility for the defeat.
Because Hamels is left-handed, Mattingly opted to hold the left-handed-hitting Loney out of the lineup.
Mattingly said the printout of his hitters' histories against Hamels failed to mention something crucial: Loney hit two home runs against Hamels in the 2009 National League Championship Series.
"I forgot about it," Mattingly said.
Mattingly added that the Dodgers' scouting report on Hamels might have been outdated.
"I felt like our lefties had a better chance against him than our righties," he said.
In Mattingly's view, it was because Hamels frequently threw changeups and cut fastballs.
"He didn't use that cutter before," Mattingly said. "It was kind of fastball, changeup and a breaking ball at times. That cutter now changes it.
"I'm putting more lefties against him next time."