LOS ANGELES - The Phillies were one strike - or one cleanly fielded ground ball - from an eight-game winning streak Friday night.
But it all came tumbling down with two outs in the ninth when Brad Lidge blew his fifth save of the season by giving up a bases-loaded double to the Dodgers' Andre Ethier for a 4-3 Los Angeles victory.
Ethier's hit came one batter after third baseman Pedro Feliz muffed a ground ball for an error on what could have been the final out.
"Obviously, Pedro makes that play as good as anybody. I don't even want to know the percentages on it," Lidge said. "I'd take my chances with him over anybody, really. Then Ethier got a good hit."
A season ago, Lidge was 41 for 41 in save opportunities. He is 13 for 18 this season.
"Last year, he was perfect," manager Charlie Manuel said. "This year, he's human."
Lidge figures he was always human, but still . . .
"This season hasn't gone quite as smooth as last year. I mean, I know that," Lidge said.
"What happened this season earlier, I know I was trying to compensate for my knee problems. I've gotten it back since then.
"One-run games, they're all frustrating, really," he said. "I'll just take it as . . . a freak thing you're not going to see very often."
The meltdown nullified a stellar performance by lefthander Jamie Moyer, who gave up only four hits and two runs over seven innings. As Moyer sat at his clubhouse stall after the game, he was asked whether this was the sort of loss that can create a hangover for a team.
"Depends how much you drink afterwards," he cracked, an open beer can near his feet.
Lidge was close to nailing down what would have been the 251st win of the 46-year-old Moyer's career.
But with two outs and none on in the ninth, the Dodgers' Casey Blake reached out and got the end of his bat on the ball for a single.
Lidge went to a full count on James Loney, then walked him.
He got Russell Martin to hit a ground ball to third. "He definitely eats that ball up most of the time," Manuel said.
Not this time. The runner at third was safe, and Feliz's desperate throw to first was late.
That brought up Ethier.
"We got a bonus out," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "These guys never surprise me . . . just with the total resilience."
With the bases loaded, Ethier delivered.
"The thing about bases-loaded, you know they're going to have to throw you strikes," Torre said.
Ethier's hit set off a raucous celebration at Dodger Stadium, where the team with the best record in the major leagues had been about to lose a second game in a row to the team that had defeated it in the National League Championship Series last season.
Closer Jonathan Broxton (6-0) earned the victory.
The Phillies built an early 3-0 lead as Raul Ibanez increased his National League-leading RBI total to 54 when he drove in the first run of the game on a fielder's choice in the third inning. Chase Utley, riding a 10-game hitting streak, drove in two runs with a fourth-inning double.
The Dodgers scored their first run in the fourth, and added another in the seventh. Moyer gave up a leadoff double to Rafael Furcal when Ibanez, the Phillies leftfielder, leaped at the wall but didn't come up with the catch. Moyer retired the next two batters, but Loney hit a fly ball to shallow right that an onrushing Eric Bruntlett couldn't quite handle, and Furcal scored to cut the lead to 3-2.
The Phillies loaded the bases in the eighth, but came up empty after the punchless Jimmy Rollins flied out to left. He went 0 for five, and is 4 for 25 on the trip.
Today is another day.
"I'm not going to be worried about it. I'm not going to watch a lot of video. It just happened," Lidge said. "But it is tough. At the end of the year, it still counts as a BS [blown save]. At the same time, you can't fight what it is. Last year, obviously he catches that ball."