PHILADELPHIA — These were like one of those good old days, before that nasty losing streak last week, before the lead in the standings was almost completely erased.
The Dodgers won Monday night the way they won so many games last month, as they were kept in the game by a gutsy pitching performance and claimed the win on the swings of unlikely offensive contributors.
Clayton Kershaw held the Philadelphia Phillies to three runs in seven innings at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, which set up the latest late-inning miracle by the wonder team. Recently slumping Dee Gordon tripled in the ninth inning and scored on a single by career minor leaguer Elian Herrera to lift the Dodgers to a 4-3 win.
The Dodgers' quickly vanishing lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants remained at three games. The victory was only the Dodgers' second in eight games, a stretch that included a five-game losing streak.
Recalling the team's triumphant previous month, Kershaw said, "It's kind of what we've been doing. Lot of guys hurt and different guys stepping up."
The Dodgers have won several games because of the heroics of replacement players. On this night, they had to turn to a replacement manager.
Manager Don Mattingly was ejected in the sixth inning, as was bench coach Trey Hillman.
That left third base coach Tim Wallach as the primary decision maker. Hitting coach Dave Hansen coached third base.
Mattingly and Hillman argued with how balls and strikes were called in that inning by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, a replacement from triple A. Phillies reliever Joe Savery struck out the side.
Bobby Abreu struck out when Reyburn ruled that he didn't check his swing.
"To me, it didn't look like he moved the bat, hardly," Mattingly said.
A low 2-0 pitch to A.J. Ellis was called a strike.
"Basically, A.J.'s ankles," Mattingly said of the pitch's location.
Jerry Hairston Jr. was called strike on a full-count pitch.
"Around Jerry's neck," Mattingly said.
Hillman shouted at Reyburn and was the first to be ejected. That prompted Mattingly to visit home plate. He too was ejected.
"Maybe it's the TV game," Mattingly said. "They know they're on ESPN. Maybe they should not put him behind the plate. Put a veteran guy back there or something. It was bad. It was bad both ways. [ Jonathan] Papelbon, I'm sure, is not a happy camper right now, either."
Mattingly had no idea. Papelbon, the Phillies closer, was fuming.
Facing Gordon in the ninth inning of a 3-3 ballgame, Papelbon threw a 1-2 fastball that appeared to catch the inside part of the plate. Reyburn called it a ball.
Gordon lined the next pitch into right-center for a triple. Herrera singled him in on the next at-bat.
When the inning ended, Papelbon and Reyburn exchanged words.
"I wanted to know if he could throw me out for what I was thinking," Papelbon said. "I thought he was terrible. All day. Not just that pitch. All day.
"He probably needs to go back to triple A. That's not a knock on him. That's not a knock on the umpires. You're up in the big leagues for a reason: To do a good job. If you don't do a good job, you should be demoted or fired."
Gordon had no complaints with the outcome.