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Preview: Phillies, Kendrick Look to Rebound in L.A.

(Sports Network) – If Los Angeles rookie Carlos Monasterios can duplicate what Hiroki Kuroda did in last night’s win over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Dodgers will feel more optimistic on their chances of making a playoff run.

Monasterios will try to keep the Dodgers rolling tonight in the continuation of a three-game series versus the Phillies at Chavez Ravine. He is 3-4 with a 3.54 earned run average in 27 games, 10 of which have been starts, this season and has lasted 4 1/3 innings in each of his past two outings. The right-hander did not record a decision last Thursday in a 7-1 win at Milwaukee, as he gave up a run and two hits with three strikeouts.

Monasterios, owner of a 1-2 record in 14 games (six starts) at home, faced the Phillies for the first time in a 15-9 win on August 10 at Citizens Bank Park. He allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings of relief for the no-decision.

Kuroda, meanwhile, has won his last two decisions and was in top form Monday night in front of the home crowd. The righty held the Phils to just a hit and two walks over 7 2/3 innings, while striking out seven batters. New closer Hong-Chih Kuo went the rest of the way for his sixth save.

“I was hoping he was going to get it, but I could tell he was a little edgy at the end,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of Kuroda’s performance. “His stuff was electric tonight.”

Rod Barajas hit a solo home run and James Loney also had an RBI for the Dodgers, who have won five of seven and sit 5 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the NL Wild Card lead. Andre Ethier recorded three hits in the win, only a few hours after it was announced that slugger and former teammate Manny Ramirez will join the Chicago White Sox on a waiver claim.

“I think it was time for us and it was time for him,” Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said of Ramirez. He did a lot of great stuff while he was here. When he got on here on August 1 or July 31 of ’08, for those two-plus months, it was historic in nature what he accomplished here."

The Phillies fell back to earth last night after their three-game weekend sweep of the NL West-leading San Diego Padres, The bats were once again cold, with Shane Victorino breaking up Kuroda’s no-hit bid with a single in the top of the eighth inning.

“When he’s got his stuff going he’s tough to face,” said Victorino of Kuroda. “I got a fastball over the middle of the plate and it was something I could handle. Our pitchers have done a great job. We have to get our offense going.”

Phils ace Roy Halladay gave up three runs and 10 hits in seven innings to suffer his 10th loss of the season (16-10). He has lost two straight starts since a personal six-game winning streak.

Philadelphia is still clinging to a 1 1/2-game lead over San Francisco in the Wild Card standings, but fell three games behind Atlanta in the National League East standings. The division-leading Braves defeated the Mets last night.

Taking the Hollywood hill for the Phillies Tuesday will be Kyle Kendrick, who’s dropped two straight and three of his four last trips to the mound. He allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings versus Washington on August 21, then yielded four more runs through six innings in a matchup with Houston last Thursday.

The right-hander, who is 8-7 with a 4.64 ERA in 27 games (25 starts), lost to the Dodgers on August 10 after he gave up six runs — five earned — and eight hits over 3 1/3 innings. Kendrick is 2-3 with an unflattering 8.14 ERA in five career starts against LA.

The Phillies won two of three meetings with Los Angeles at Citizens Bank Park earlier this month and, of course, have beaten the Dodgers in each of the past two National League Championship Series.