Dodgers Go South Against Phillies : Baseball: Gross’ season-high seven walks and L.A.’s struggle against left-handed pitchers costly in 3-0 loss to Philadelphia.


Kevin Gross needed to be perfect, and he wasn’t. Dodger batters needed to figure out how to hit a left-handed starter-- any left-handed starter--and they couldn’t.

Dodger fans needed a reason to stay beyond the sixth inning, and they didn’t get one.

So, in a sloppy, choppy game full of walks and wild pitches, misplays and long periods of tedium, the Dodgers lost ugly, 3-0, to the Philadelphia Phillies Friday night before 34,978 at Dodger Stadium.

“It was a weird night,” Corey Snyder said. “They didn’t really do anything extra special. We just seemed a little dead tonight for some reason.”

Struggling with his control from the outset, Gross (7-5) walked a season-high seven Phillies in seven-plus innings and gave up all three runs in a particularly boring fifth.


The Phillies were without Darren Daulton, Len Dykstra and Dave Hollins, their best three hitters, because of injuries.

“I figured if I kept it close I’d be all right, that I could keep the run production down,” Gross said.

“They had a lot of right-handers in the lineup, no Dykstra, Daulton, or Hollins, and they’re all lefties, but they are a team that went to the World Series last year.”

“Without that one inning, it was a decent game for me. I feel terrible about those walks. I was close, but just missing four or five inches off the plate, six inches up in the zone, I guess, according to the umpires.”

Meanwhile, David West, who hadn’t pitched more than seven innings all season and is best known for his World Series debacles last year, became the latest left-hander to handcuff the Dodgers, who have won only seven of 21 games against left-handed starters this season.

The Dodgers, whose most dangerous hitters are right-handed, are 34-24 against right-handed starters.


In eight innings, West (3-6) held the Dodgers to three hits, all of them singles.

“Tonight was a case of a guy who pitched a great, great game,” Gross said of West. “He’s the hardest-throwing left-hander in the league.”

Doug Jones came on in the ninth to add the final insult, pitching a perfect inning by striking out Mike Piazza and Tim Wallach and inducing a flyball from Eric Karros with an array of off-speed pitches. Jones recorded his National League-leading 21st save.

After the fourth, the Dodgers, who had their 11-game streak in which they hit at least one home run ended, never got a runner past second base, and the last seven Dodgers were retired in order.

Why is this strange? Because West came into the game succeeding against left-handed hitters (who were batting only .100 against him), but the Dodger lineup, as usual, was stocked with right-handers.

“He kept us off balance all night,” Snyder said. “I think we swung at some bad pitches too. He just seemed to get ahead of us.

“We just couldn’t put two or three hits together tonight. It’s kind of crazy. We’re usually not like this.”


The Phillie hitters themselves could fashion only seven hits--and only one of those was anything more than a single.

But in the fifth, three Gross walks, one Raul Mondesi error and two run-scoring singles were enough.

In that inning, John Kruk’s bases-loaded single scored Kevin Stocker and Billy Hatcher, to make it 2-0. Pete Incaviglia followed that with a single, scoring Mickey Morandini.

As an example of how this game was won, the light-hitting Morandini walked his first three times, then, in the sixth inning, reached base on in his fourth at-bat when he grounded a ball through the legs of third baseman Wallach.

Gross, who also threw two wild pitches, flirted with trouble early, walking four Phillies in the first three innings.

Gross’ most serious problem early came in the third, when he gave up two two-out walks, but he struck out Incaviglia to end the threat.


The Dodgers’ best threat came in the third when Rafael Bournigal singled, was bunted to second, and Delino DeShields walked.

But, with two out, West struck out Mitch Webster to prevent any damage.