LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Brandon Duckworth rid himself of a lot of bad
memories from his previous outing at Dodger Stadium.
The Philadelphia Phillies right-hander pitched shutout ball
through the first five innings and watched gleefully as the bullpen
helped secure his 4-1 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday night.
"He had a good changeup going and he would keep it away from
guys. Then he would zip that fastball in there that looked about
100 mph because of how well he was throwing his changeup," Dodgers
outfielder Daryle Ward said. "He threw the ball in the spots he
wanted to and didn't make any mistakes."
Last Aug. 5, Duckworth struck out his first six batters in a
start against Los Angeles at Philadelphia. But five days later, he
allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium, wasting
Lieberthal's three home runs. He was demoted to the bullpen the
following day after a 20-minute closed-door meeting with manager
Larry Bowa, but was back in the rotation after missing one turn.
"That's one of the first things I thought of when I knew I was
going to be pitching here," Duckworth said. "I just wanted to go
out there and throw up some good innings and make up for that."
Duckworth began this season on the disabled list because of
tendinitis in his elbow. He was activated April 19 and gave up six
earned runs over 1 1/3 innings in his first start at Atlanta,
before regaining his form last time out against San Francisco.
"I just needed to do what I was capable of," Duckworth said.
"The last time I wasn't throwing every pitch with conviction. But
that's what I did tonight and that's what I did in my last outing.
Things tend to happen much better when you're throwing every pitch
with everything you have."
Duckworth was removed after the Dodgers loaded the bases in the
sixth with three consecutive singles on three pitches.
Former Dodger Terry Adams relieved and retired Adrian Beltre on
a foul pop. Adams nearly got an inning-ending double play, but
dropped the return throw from shortstop Jimmy Rollins after first
baseman Jim Thome went into the hole to glove Ward's grounder.
Adams was charged with an error.
Turk Wendell relieved Dan Plesac with the bases loaded and none
out in the eighth, retiring Beltre on a short fly to left. Ward
tapped one to the right of the mound and Wendell got the force at
the plate before getting Jolbert Cabrera on a foul pop.
"It feels good to be back in situations like that," said
Wendell, who missed the entire 2002 season because of tendinitis in
his right elbow and underwent surgery last May.
"We dodged a couple of bullets there. It's not very often that
you come on in a bases-loaded, no-out situation two times in a
ballgame and don't give up a run. But we made some good pitches and
got some good breaks."
Jose Mesa got three outs for his seventh save and 94th with the
Phillies, tying Tug McGraw for third place on the team's career
list and putting him within nine of Steve Bedrosian's club record.
Hideo Nomo (3-4) allowed four runs and five hits in seven
innings, including Abreu's fourth homer and Lieberthal's third.
Lieberthal, an All-Star catcher who missed most of 2001 because
of reconstructive knee surgery, is 8-for-20 lifetime against Nomo
with five RBI -- all on solo homers.
"I just look for the ball up and try to get him early in the
count," Lieberthal said. "I don't want him to get two strikes on
me because his split becomes hard to lay off of. So I'm ready from
the first pitch, if he gives me a fastball or hangs a split."
The Phillies had a 3-0 lead before Nomo retired a batter.
Rollins opened the game with a ground-rule double to right-center,
giving him five hits in his first 10 at-bats against Nomo. David
Bell drove him in with a single on an 0-2 pitch, and Abreu followed
with a long drive halfway up the right-field pavilion.
Lieberthal, whose three-homer game last Aug. 10 at Dodger
Stadium included two against Nomo, extended the Phillies' lead to
4-0 in the sixth with a drive to left-center on the first pitch.
Adams allowed four earned runs over 10 2-3 innings during
April, raising his career ERA in April to 2.36 -- which is still his
lowest in any month. ... The Dodgers, who wrapped up a four-game
home series against the Phillies, make their final visit to
Veterans Stadium July 29-31. They are 83-95 at the Vet during the
regular season and 4-2 in the playoffs _ including Tommy John's 4-1
victory over Steve Carlton during a steady rain in the clinching
game of the 1977 NLCS. ... The Dodgers outscored their opponents
50-9 from the seventh through the ninth innings during April.