EditorsNote: updates third graf with Arizona’s win
Altherr alters outcome in Phillies’ 7-5 win over Dodgers
PHILADELPHIA — The Los Angeles Dodgers’ celebration is on hold. Aaron Altherr has a lot to do with it.
Altherr had four late-inning RBIs, including the game-deciding single in the eighth inning, as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Dodgers 7-5 on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
The loss prevented the Dodgers from having a chance to clinch their fifth consecutive National League West title. Their magic number to win the division remained at two thanks to their loss and the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks’ victory over the San Diego Padres.
Los Angeles (96-56) lost its fourth game in a row, the past three to the Phillies (61-91). Philadelphia will attempt to sweep the series on Thursday.
“They’re one of the best league,” Altherr said of the Dodgers. “To be able to win these first three games, it helps our confidence as a team.”
The Dodgers — who have already clinched a playoff berth — took a 4-2 lead in the seventh when Cody Bellinger lined a two-run double to right field. However, it was another tough night for the Dodgers’ bullpen.
The Phillies retook the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Altherr crushed a hanging breaking ball from Ross Stripling for a two-run homer to tie the score.
Altherr, who returned to the Phillies on Sept. 9 after more than a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, finished the game 3-for-4 with four RBIs. It was the third consecutive game in which Altherr has homered — a streak that started with a grand slam off Clayton Kershaw on Monday night.
“I’m seeing the ball really well right now,” said Altherr, who has nine RBIs in his past three games. “I got my timing back, so it’s great when those two things are together. But I’m a lot more relaxed at the plate.”
Two batters after Altherr hit his 19th homer of the season, Tommy Joseph followed up with a solo homer to put the Phillies up 5-4.
Stripling yielded three runs in one-third of an inning. He has given up six earned runs in his past two outings (1 2/3 innings) and has allowed seven hits in his past three innings.
“I think there is some bleeding into when you don’t have success or consecutive outings that don’t go well it could bleed into the psyche,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Stripling. “But Ross is very competitive and very strong-minded. We have all the confidence in him.”
Los Angeles tied the score 5-5 in the eighth as Austin Barnes avoided Andrew Knapp’s tag at the plate on fielder’s choice. The Dodgers’ bullpen then came unraveled again.
Cesar Hernandez led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk, and Los Angeles pitcher Luis Avilan (2-3) made a throwing error on Freddy Galvis’ bunt attempt to put runners at second and third. After a strikeout and intentional walk, Altherr lined a single off Brandon Morrow to the gap in left-center field to score two runs and put the Phillies ahead for good.
“We didn’t execute, and unfortunately they capitalized,” Roberts said.
Before the Dodgers’ bullpen blew the lead, starter Alex Wood turned in a quality start. Wood went six innings, allowing two runs and three hits — all of which came in the second inning.
“I thought we competed to get back in the game. I thought we did a lot of things well,” Roberts said after his team’s 20th loss in 25 games. “Alex threw the baseball really well. If you’re looking at the entire body of work, I thought there were a lot of good things. We just didn’t get it done on the back end of the game.”
Phillies starter Jake Thompson held the Dodgers to one run and three hits in five innings. Chris Taylor’s solo homer in the third inning was the only damage off Thompson.
Luis Garcia (2-4) tossed a scoreless inning for the win.
Hector Neris posted his 23rd save with some help from center fielder Odubel Herrera, who made a leaping grab on a Yasiel Puig fly ball to end the game, which was confirmed by replay review.
“I was calm. I knew I caught it,” Herrera said. “I was just waiting for them to make the decision.”
NOTES: The Phillies won a home series against the Dodgers for the first time since 2011. ... Dodgers 1B Cody Bellinger raised his RBI total to 90 for the season, marking the most by a Dodgers rookie since Mike Piazza had 112 during the 1993 season. ... The Phillies are 11-8 in September, already matching their August win total when they went 11-19. ... Phillies LF/1B Rhys Hoskins went 0-for-2 with two walks. He is 3-for-18 (.167) in his past six games, though he has five walks in that span. ... Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.21 ERA) opposes Phillies RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-6, 4.93) on Thursday in the series finale. ... Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced pregame that RHP Pedro Baez would be given a few days off. Baez gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning Tuesday, blowing a lead against the Phillies.