LOS ANGELES » Roy Oswalt has been one of baseball’s most consistent winners down the stretch — which is exactly what the Philadelphia Phillies were bargaining for when they obtained him just before the July 31 trade deadline.
Oswalt pitched one-hit ball into the seventh and the Phillies used leadoff homers by Jimmy Rollins and Maui’s Shane Victorino in the first two innings to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 yesterday.
The Dodgers managed only three hits in support of Clayton Kershaw and didn’t put up much of a struggle against Oswalt (10-13), who has been a valuable pennant-drive pickup for the two-time defending NL champions.
"He’s been a lights-out pitcher — especially in the second half — as his career has shown," Rollins said. "He’s very consistent in that regard. When August and September comes around, the man just dominates. And that’s what we need — pitchers like that who want to pitch in big games. And we have him."
Oswalt is a combined 56-20 in August and September during his career. The three-time All-Star is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA in seven starts since the Phillies acquired him in a trade with Houston on July 29 — including a 2-0 win over Los Angeles in which he pitched seven innings in his second start with Philadelphia.
"He’s always tough," Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake said. "This park isn’t the easiest park to hit in during the daytime, which led to his effectiveness. But he throws 92-95 (mph) with his fastball, and he’s got three other pitches to go with that, so he can change speeds effectively. Today he pitched, in every sense of the word."
Oswalt threw 115 pitches, striking out six and walking six. The right-hander, who turned 33 on Sunday, held Los Angeles hitless until Blake lined a clean single to right field on a first-pitch fastball with two outs in the sixth after Oswalt issued his fifth walk.
In the second inning, Victorino got ahead 2-0 and hit Kershaw’s next pitch into the left-field bullpen. Chase Utley added RBI doubles in the seventh and ninth.
Oswalt finished with a winning record in each of his nine previous big league seasons — topping out at 20 wins in 2004 and 2005.
If he pitches every fifth day the rest of the campaign, he would get six more starts to extend his streak.