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Dodgers-Diamondbacks: LA Offense Can't Find Rhythm In 4-1 Loss

The Los Angeles Dodgers had a difficult time creating scoring opportunities and lost 4-1 at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks on a hazy Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Under the eerie glow of a Southern California sky dancing with smoke plumes from the Station Fire, the Dodgers (79-55) went just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and Arizona (61-73) went 3-for-4 in such situations, using a four-run, six-hit fifth inning to down Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley.

Billingsley navigated the first four frames with ease, retiring the first 13 batters he faced, but he allowed hits to six of the next seven batters and the wheels fell off in a fifth inning that doomed the All-Star for his ninth loss of the season.

The rally began with a one-out double and quickly turned ugly when Billingsley was taken deep by Brandon Ryan to spring the Diamondbacks to a 2-0 lead.

The big mistake would come after the home run, when Billingsley gave up a two-out single to opposing pitcher Max Scherzer.

In the at-bat, Scherzer quickly fell behind 0-2 but worked the count to 3-2 before singling to left field.

That set the table for two more runs to cross on balls that never even left the infield.

Stephen Drew bounced an infield single to score a run and on the play, Rafael Furcal made an errant throw into right field, which allowed Scherzer to advance to third.

The error came into play when Ronnie Belliard was unable to field a slow roller by Geraldo Parra, scoring Scherzer from third and mounting a 4-0 lead for the visitors.

Billingsley would pitch a scoreless sixth and exit the game, but the fifth inning was strangely similar to an occurrence on July 28 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In that game, Billingsley took a one-hitter into the sixth inning and proceeded to surrender six runs in a horrid breakdown, leading to an embarrassing 10-0 loss.

Billingsley hit the showers, putting in six innings of work tonight and allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits.

It was his third consecutive loss and he has notched just three wins in his last 14 outings, but manager Joe Torre was optimistic about the outing.

"I thought his stuff was good. I thought he got frustrated, too, after having such an efficient first part of the game, but I thought mechanically he was back where he should be tonight. Today was a step forward for certain."

 

Scherzer, on the other hand, stymied the Los Angeles offense all night long.

Andre Ethier went 3-for-4, but the rest of the offense struggled to do much of anything until the eighth inning.

Juan Pierre walked and Furcal singled, putting runners at first and second for Ethier, who was last night’s hero.

But Ethier lined out, leaving Manny Ramirez to battle Scherzer with two out.

Ramirez promptly smacked a two-out RBI single into centerfield to get the Dodgers on the board and cut the deficit to 4-1, but Matt Kemp followed up with a fly out to left to end the threat and strand two runners on the base paths.

The Boys in Blue would go quietly into the night with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, and now must regroup to salvage a split in the four-game tilt tomorrow night as recently acquired Jon Garland (8-11, 4.29) will face his former teammate Bill Buckner (2-5, 8.63) in the finale.

 

 

 

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WP: Scherzer (9-8)

LP: Billingsley (12-9)

SV: Guitierrez (3)

 

Notes from Wednesday night

 

Power Surge

The Dodgers have homered at least once in eight games, a season high and the club’s longest streak since belting homers in nine straight games from July 18-26, 2007.

 

Kuroda on the Mend

Injured pitcher Hiroki Kuroda tossed five innings yesterday for class-A Inland Empire. He threw 62 pitches, allowing one run while striking out five and walking one; the lone run scored on a passed ball. Joe Torre says that Kuroda is “penciled in” to start on Sunday against the San Diego Padres.

 

 

PJ Ross is a Featured Columnist for the Los Angeles Dodgers

 

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