LOS ANGELES -- Jacob Arrieta watched the Phillies implode late in Monday's series opener against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
He rectified the situation Tuesday.
"You want to be a stopper," Arrieta said after pitching seven scoreless innings in a 6-1 victory. "Anytime you're in a situation when you lose a tough game, especially the first game of a series, you want to come out and put a stop to it. That's what I intended to do."
Arrieta allowed six singles, two walks and struck out five to improve to 5-2 with a 2.16 ERA. He generated weak contact throughout. The Dodgers' average exit velocity against Arrieta registered 80.9 mph, Arrieta's lowest mark in a start this season and the Dodgers' second-lowest mark against a starter in 2018. They averaged just 80.0 mph against San Francisco's Johnny Cueto on April 28.
But he also missed bats at just the right moments. The Dodgers had runners on first and second with two outs in the fourth inning when Yasiel Puig struck out swinging at a slider. The Dodgers had runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth, when Chris Taylor struck out looking at a 0-2 sinker.
"He senses the big moment," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "He knows when it's on the line. From yesterday, we needed to show some resiliency. We needed to come back and show the heart and the character of this team. Jake is sort of representative of that heart and character."
Arrieta went 2-1 with a 0.90 ERA in five starts in May. He did not allow a run in three of those starts.
He said he mostly did it without his best stuff.
"It's close," he said. "It's always close. It's just a matter of being able to make pitch-by-pitch adjustments. It's pretty cliche, but you'll have 10 starts where you're locked in and you have all your pitches and you'll have 10 where you have nothing and you have 10 where you just have to find your way through. I feel like I've had a handful of pretty good ones but not locked into the point where I know I can get. So we have room for improvement."
Nick Williams handed Arrieta a 1-0 lead in the second inning with a solo home run to right field. The Phillies scored two more runs in the inning to make it 3-0. They added an insurance run in the sixth to make it 4-0.
It would be plenty.
"He's been really dependable early in the season," Kapler said of Arrieta. "We sort of look forward to his starts for that reason. We expect that we're going to get length. We expect that we're going to get efficiency. We expect that he's going to be composed and the moment's not going to be too big for him. He's demonstrated those characteristics in the past. So we expect them. He sets a high bar for himself. Then he steps up and meets that bar.
"It's nice to have that guy on the roster, for sure. It's nice to have a veteran starter with a long track record of not just success but stretches of dominance. That's what we're seeing from Jake right now."
Arrieta is happy to oblige.
"We've got a young ballclub, a young starting rotation," he said. "They need to see some things like that, you know?"
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda left the game with a runner on second and two outs in the second inning with a strained right hip. Left-hander Scott Alexander entered, walked Cesar Hernandez and allowed an infield single to Maikel Franco to load the bases. Odubel Herrera then ripped a 0-1 sinker to right field to score Jorge Alfaro and Hernandez to hand the Phillies a 3-0 lead.
Williams is hitting .261 (6-for-23) with one double, three home runs, five RBIs and a 1.016 OPS in his last five games.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Chase Utley barrelled a 2-1 sinker to deep center field with two outs in the fifth inning. Both Herrera and right-fielder Aaron Altherr converged on the ball and nearly collided, except Herrera extended his arm at the last moment to make the catch and avoid Altherr. Herrera had to cover 101 feet in 5.4 seconds, according to Statcast™. Altherr had to cover 96 feet.
Herrera entered the game with six outs above average, putting him in a four-way tie for second in baseball behind Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton.
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (1-1, 3.27 ERA) faces off with Dodgers right-hander Thomas Stripling (2-1, 1.74 ERA) on Wednesday night in the third game of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. Eflin allowed one run in 12 2/3 innings in his first two starts in May, but has allowed 10 in 9 1/3 innings in his last two starts. First pitch is at 10:10 p.m. ET.