Phillies’ Roy Oswalt shuts down Dodgers, 2-0
When Roy Oswalt visited Dodger Stadium earlier this year, he told Brad Ausmus that he had found a new way to grip his changeup. Oswalt informed his former catcher it was a swing-and-miss type of pitch.
“I guess he wasn’t lying,” Ausmus said.
Reinvented at 32 years old, Oswalt confounded the Dodgers with his changeup Wednesday night, pitching seven shutout innings in the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2-0 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
“He threw more changeups than I saw him throw in eight years,” said Ausmus, who caught him when they were teammates on the Houston Astros. “The league has seen him and adjusted to him. He’s adjusted back.”
And, like that, the Dodgers’ offense was halted by General Manager Ned Colletti’s one-time trade target who was sent by the Astros to the deeper-pocket Phillies in a July deal.
The Dodgers, who scored 23 runs in their last two games, were held to six hits. They were one for 10 with men in scoring position.
“We ran into him when he was sharp,” Scott Podsednik said.
What the Dodgers did against Kyle Kendrick the previous night — six of the 15 runs were charged to him — couldn’t be replicated against Oswalt.
Manager Joe Torre tried to re-create that magic, fielding the same lineup for the second consecutive day — a lineup that didn’t include Matt Kemp.
Until Kemp singled during a pinch-hit at-bat Tuesday, he was on a one-for-20 skid. He struck out four times in his last start and did so on 15 pitches.
As is his custom, Torre went with the hot hitter, in this case Jay Gibbons, who was three for four with a home run Tuesday.
“Right now, it’s all about winning games,” Torre said, later talking about how he used Ronnie Belliard as the starting second baseman down the stretch last season instead of All-Star Orlando Hudson.
But Torre stopped short of saying that Gibbons could supplant Kemp as an everyday player.
“We’re not as far down the road with Gibby as we were with Belliard at that time,” Torre said.
And though Gibbons was 0 for 4 with a strikeout Wednesday, Torre said he wasn’t certain that Kemp would return to the lineup for the final game of three-game series in Philadelphia.
“I’ll take a look at it tonight,” Torre said.
The unfortunate pitcher who had to go head-to-head against Oswalt was the one the Astros were demanding from the Dodgers in their talks leading up to the trade deadline.
Chad Billingsley dropped his second consecutive decision, but he kept the Dodgers in the game, holding the Phillies to two runs, five hits and three walks over six innings.
Torre had Kemp hit for Billingsley in the top of the seventh, and he struck out swinging against Oswalt.
“He competed very well,” Torre said of Billingsley. “He certainly pitched well enough to win.”
But the Phillies didn’t get out of the game unscathed.
With Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino already on the disabled list, the Phillies lost Howard’s replacement, Ross Gload.
Gload, who hit two home runs Tuesday, strained his right groin on a sixth-inning double. He is to be re-evaluated Thursday.
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