PHILADELPHIA—Joe Torre said he was comfortable starting Hiroki Kuroda in the National League Championship Series based on what the Dodgers manager saw during a simulated game in Arizona.
What Torre saw here was all too painfully real for the Dodgers.
Sticking around wasn't a problem for Phillies starter Cliff Lee, who held the Dodgers to three hits in eight scoreless innings and allowed only one runner to reach scoring position.
Down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, the Dodgers will turn to former Phillie Randy Wolf on Monday in Game 4 against Philadelphia's Joe Blanton.
Ryan Howard hit a two-run triple in the first inning and Jayson Werth followed with a towering two-run homer for the Phillies, who struck for six runs off Kuroda. Howard has driven in at least one run in seven consecutive postseason games, a major league record.
Kuroda was gone after only 1 1/3 innings, his shortest start in two major league seasons. He went 2-0 with a 1.46 earned-run average in the playoffs last year for the Dodgers, including a victory over the Phillies in the NLCS in which he allowed two runs in six innings.
Kuroda had not pitched since Sept. 28 and missed the division series because of a bulging disk in his neck. Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt traveled to Peoria, Ariz., last week to watch Kuroda face minor leaguers and added the right-hander to the playoff roster based on the results.
What they saw when Kuroda faced the Phillies wasn't nearly as pleasant.
After retiring leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, things quickly deteriorated for Kuroda. Shane Victorino singled past diving first baseman James Loney and Chase Utley singled to right to bring up Howard, whose triple into the right-field corner gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead.
Werth then deposited a 2-and-1 pitch over the center-field fence to double the advantage and prompt Chad Billingsley to begin warming up in the Dodgers bullpen. Kuroda retired the next two batters but immediately ran into trouble in the second when Carlos Ruiz doubled to left-center.
Ruiz advanced to third base on Lee's sacrifice and scored on Rollins' double down the right-field line. That was it for Kuroda, who was charged with a sixth run when Rollins eventually scored on Howard's RBI groundout.
Lee faced the minimum number of batters over the first four innings. Manny Ramirez, who had led off the second with a single up the middle, was erased when Loney grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Ramirez singled to right in the fifth but was out when Loney grounded into a fielder's choice. In the seventh, Ramirez stepped to the plate with one out and a runner on second and was greeted with chants of "You took steroids!" from the sellout crowd of 45,721.
Ramirez worked the count full before striking out. Lee finished with 10 strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
It appeared that Philadelphia Manager Charlie Manuel would let Lee try for his second complete game of the postseason when the pitcher hit for himself in the eighth and singled up the middle. But Manuel reversed course after the Phillies sent seven men to the plate in the inning, letting Chad Durbin pitch the ninth.