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Broxton Blows Lead, Game for Dodgers 5-4

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Give Jonathan Broxton the golden goat as he blew his sixth save of the season in the Dodgers 5-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

What was once a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning became a slim 4-3 lead in the ninth inning upon Broxton’s arrival from the bullpen. After striking out the golden sombrero-wearing Jose Guillen to lead off the ninth, Broxton gave up a single to Cody Ross hinting at the first sign of trouble. Then Juan Uribe who had been retired in his previous three plate appearances exacted his revenge hitting a two-run homer to left-center field to give the Giants their first lead of the night.

“That pitch didn’t move like it should have,” Broxton conceded about the first slider he threw in his outing. Despite his save chances being blown by the wayside, he’s not feeling down on himself.

“I’m going out there and battling, that’s all I can do. It’s fine. I just made one mistake tonight, and I paid for it.”

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His manager Joe Torre doesn’t think it’s that simple.

“He doesn’t have the confidence that he has had and that he will again,” Torre said. “It looked like we were there a week, ten days ago.

“He’s not as comfortable as he needs to be.”

Trashed in this loss was a good outing by Dodgers’ starter Ted Lilly who pitched into the eighth inning giving up only two runs on two solo homers. Despite having a hard time getting out of the first inning making 20 pitches giving up a single and a walk, he went on retire the next 15 batters until the seventh inning when Buster Posey broke that streak with a solo homer to put the Giants on the scoreboard.

“Teddy pitched great,” Torre said. “He made a couple of pitches late, and they were both home runs. But it should have been enough from our starter. We just couldn’t get it done out of the bullpen. [Hong-Chih] Kuo did what he needed to, but everybody else struggled.”

Lilly was finally given the hook after giving up a lead-off homer to Edgar Renteria in the eighth inning to cut the Dodger lead to 4-2, and that’s where it got interesting.

Octavio Dotel who came in to face pinch hitter Pat Burrell gave up a solo shot to get the Giants to within a run. After Dotel got Aaron Rowand to pop up and walked Freddy Sanchez, Torre turned to Kuo who retired Aubrey Huff and Posey to end the threat and set the stage for the disastrous ninth.

Perhaps the biggest shame of this loss was the four-run fourth inning by the Dodgers that is now buried in the loss. With Giants’ starter Matt Cain, who got his first career victory against the Dodgers on August 1 at AT&T Park, yielding only one hit - a single to Andre Ethier in the first inning- Rafael Furcal trashed all of that working an eight-pitch walk to lead off the fourth inning.

After Ethier popped up to shortstop, James Loney lined a single to right field sending Furcal to third. Casey Blake broke the stalemate with a double down the left field line sending Furcal home and Loney to third which set the stage for Jay Gibbons.

Gibbons, who started in his first game since August 21 because manager Joe Torre wanted to get him some game action, cleaned up the plate hitting a home run into the Giants’ bullpen in right field to give the Dodgers a 4-0 advantage.

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“It’s a bittersweet tonight,” Gibbons said. “I think he yanked a sinker. It went out over the plate a little bit. It’s the only pitch I saw all night that I could hit.”

Despite not starting in over two weeks, Gibbons feels more comfortable in the lineup rather coming from the bench.

“This is the first time in my career I’ve been a bench player. I think there’s a certain technique to it - I’m trying to figure it out, working my way through it. I feel like I’m geared up when I do start.”

So credit Giants’ reliever Javier Lopez (W, 4-2) with the win, closer Brian Wilson with his 39th save and Broxton (BS, L 5-5) with a blown save and loss. According to Torre, “We still have to get up and come here tomorrow.”