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Dodgers Depleted Bullpen Blows the Script

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You have to give the Dodgers some amount of credit. At least they changed the script late in their 8-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

By late, I mean at almost the last possible minute. After all they did look like the same old Dodgers for seven innings. The only offense generated was Matt Kemp’s solo homer in the fifth inning and Rod Barajas’ RBI double to score Jay Gibbons in the seventh.

But the eighth inning saw some catharsis not quite on par with Kirk Gibson’s walk-off homer or the consecutive homers from Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson. It started innocently enough when Jamey Carroll lined a single to center field off of Giants’ starter Matt Cain. Aaron Miles popped up to the shortstop and Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy started the procession of relievers.

Javier Lopez for Andre Ethier: strikeout.

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Sergio Romo for Kemp: single.

The final move was closer Brian Wilson who had tossed 10 scoreless innings in his last 10 appearances and converted his last 12 save opportunities. And then the two-out magic started to happen for the Dodgers.

Juan Uribe doubled down left-centerfield to score Carroll and Kemp to cut the deficit to 5-4. Then James Loney hit a dribbler that surely would have been grabbed by first baseman Aubrey Huff had he not been breaking back toward the bag leaving a gaping hole of the ball to travel through. Uribe came in to score and tie the game, and miracle upon miracle it was the third time in May the Dodgers had scored at least five runs.

“We hung in there and made a comeback,” Aaron Miles said. “That’s a positive.”

Now for the negative: the Dodger bullpen was depleted. With Vicente Padilla out with soreness in his forearm, Kenley Jansen having worked four of the previous five games and Matt Guerrier appearing in back-to-back games, the pickings were slim out there especially when starter Clayton Kershaw had a tough go of it.

Against a team with an even worse offense than the Dodgers, things were going swimmingly with Kershaw retiring the first eight batters striking out three. Then came opposing pitcher Matt Cain with two outs in the third inning. He lined a single down the right field line and started what would be an improbable burst of offense for the Giants. Two singles later Cain scored the first run of the game.

Things went even worse for Kershaw in the fourth inning when the Giants led off with four consecutive singles that scored another run. The next batter Mark DeRosa had to leave during his plate appearance with a strained left wrist, but that didn’t distract the Giants. Mike Fontenot came in and got the RBI walk. Aaron Rowand hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that completed the Giant’s three-run inning.

“The fourth inning I got a little bit too predictable,” Kershaw said. “I mainly threw two pitches - I maybe needed to mix in more stuff. They just strung some hits together. It was just a frustrating night.”

After the Kemp homer in the fifth inning, the Dodgers had the bases loaded with one out when the pitcher’s spot came up. Mattingly lifted Kershaw for pinch hitter Juan Castro knowing he had a short bullpen.

“We’ve got to take a shot to get back into the game right there,” Mattingly said. “I didn’t really want to take him out there, but I basically had to.”

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Castro flew out to shallow center field and Carroll grounded to second to end the threat.

“I would have liked to have stayed in the game,” Kershaw said, “But I understand the situation.”

Having used Scott Elbert, Javy Guerra and Mike MacDougal, the game was solely on the rarely used Lance Cormier’s arm in the ninth inning. With runners on first and third with two outs, he had Cody Ross in the box. Three hanging curveballs later, the Giants had the 8-5 lead.

“The last one I tried to get away from him,” Cormier said. “It stayed in on him. I just kind of rolled up there.”

Despite seeing his first game action since May 10, “All that is is an excuse,” Cormier said. “I want to be out there.

“You have your routine. You continue going. It’s my job to stay ready. Just one pitch left up, [Ross] did what he had to do.”

Mattingly admitted some frustration in losing this game.

“Yeah a little bit, but I like the way our guys kept going. We got ourselves out of a 4-0 hole. We got some big hits there late, but we weren’t able to put a zero on the board.”

Seattle Mariners defeat LA Angels 3-0. Where did the Angels’ offense go?


San Francisco Giants at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

LA Angels at Seattle Mariners. 12:40 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.