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Dodgers Can't Squeeze Past Reds

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Carlos Monasterios (L, 3-4) had big shoes to fill making his first start since July 30 with Vicente Padilla on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his neck. However he couldn’t quite get out of his own way or Cincinnati Reds’ All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips in the Dodgers’ 3-1 loss to the Reds.

“I threw badly,” Monasterios said through translator Kenji Nimura. “I was trying to get outs, trying to throw strikes. I couldn’t do it.”

Manager Joe Torre was a little more descriptive: “It looked like he was unsure of himself. He got a little too deliberate.”

After giving up an RBI single to Phillips in the second inning giving the Reds the 1-0 lead, Monasterios overthrew a sacrifice bunt hit by Drew Stubbs in the fourth inning. That set the stage for Phillips to come through again with a single to shallow center field scoring Stubbs and Ryan Hanigan giving the Reds the 3-1 lead.

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Reds’ All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips burned Monasterios going 3-for-3 with three RBI against Monasterios alone. Phillips made an out the remaining two times he was up at the plate.

As Monasterios was hemming and hawing, Casey Blake summed it up perfectly: “He’s a pretty good hitter.”

On the other side of the field, Reds’ starter Homer Bailey (W, 3-2) went against his career 6.19 ERA and breezed through his seven innings of work giving up only one run on four hits.

The Dodgers, struggling for offense, went for desperation on a safety squeeze hit by Ryan Theriot with a speedy Jamey Carroll on third base. While the suicide squeeze failed on Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies, on this night the squeeze worked giving the Dodgers their sole run.

“We’ve got to find a way to generate some offense,” Torre said. “I think we’re forcing it at times.

“We just need to go out there and keep plugging away.”

The only other jam that Bailey got into was in the seventh inning when Casey Blake led off with a double. A groundout by Carroll sent Blake to third, and there he stayed as Brad Ausmus struck out looking on a questionable third strike call and pinch hitter Ronnie Belliard struck out swinging. In fact Ausmus really got into it with home plate umpire Doug Eddings, and if for not the fact that he is a 40-year old catcher Ausmus would have certainly have been ejected.

Meanwhile Octavio Dotel, two days after making three wild pitches in the tenth inning against the Rockies that cost the Dodgers the game, redeemed himself with a perfect eighth and ninth innings striking out three batters. However Dotel kept it in perspective.

“Some nights you’re good, some nights you’re horrible,” Dotel said. “I’m the same Dotel.”

Ever the philosopher he continued, “Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how this game works. All you’ve got to do is be strong everyday and try to do your best everyday because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the end.”

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Ryan Theriot chimed in, “Well said.”

Manny Ramirez struck out looking and grounded into a double play in his two at-bats in six innings with the Class-A Inland Empire 66ers. Torre will talk to Manny before making any decisions on whether he will be activated for the Dodgers on Saturday.

Torre will give first baseman James Loney the day off on Saturday and start Jay Gibbons in his place.