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Dodgers Finally Slip against Padres

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Bad pitching by both teams helped drag the game as if this was a Yankees-Red Sox game. At the end of this three hour, forty-eight minute hit-fest it was the Padres who stood on top 10-5. The teams combined for 26 hits and left 22 runners on base.

Ramon Ortiz in his second start for the Dodgers this season was far from inspirational giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings.

After giving up three runs in the first three innings, everything unraveled for Ortiz and the Dodgers in the fourth inning.

With the game tied 3-3, Everth Cabrera led off the inning with a double and went to third on pitcher Jon Garland’s sacrifice bunt. Will Venable scored Cabrera with an RBI single giving the Padres a 4-3 lead and ran off Ortiz.

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“He wasn’t good tonight,” manager Joe Torre said of Ortiz. “He wasn’t locating, he wasn’t throwing the balls where he wanted to. When that happens the results aren’t usually good.”

“My pitches were a little bit high today,” Ortiz said. “I tried to make a good pitch, but tonight they hit everything.”

Ramon Troncoso came in from the bullpen for his 23rd appearance of the season to halt any further damage. The Padres clearly had other things in mind as a single to David Eckstein, a three-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez and a solo-shot to Chase Headley allowed the Padres to explode to an 8-3 lead.

Jeff Weaver came in and after giving up a single to Matt Stairs got Yorvit Torrealba to strike out and Tony Gwynn, Jr. to ground out to end the inning mercifully.

All the chaos was somewhat expected since even before the first pitch was made it was announced that Manny Ramirez was a very late scratch after injuring the little toe of his left foot while warming up in the training room.

“He was getting his legs loose like he does every night where he swings them,” Torre explained. “He just happened to hit a table with the toe. He went and got it x-rayed, and everything was negative thank goodness. It was just one of those freak things.”

Just as everyone in the press box was getting the new lineups Venable led off the game with a triple to right field that got the newly inserted Xavier Paul crossed up and scored on Eckstein’s groundout giving the Padres the quick 1-0 lead.

It wasn’t all bad news for the Dodgers as Russell Martin led off the bottom of the first with a double that extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. It’s the longest active hitting streak in baseball right now and ties the longest for a Dodger since Matt Kemp opened the 2009 season with a 14-game streak of his own.

Martin tied the game on Kemp’s single.

Carlos Monasterios also had a good night after not having pitched since May 11 in Arizona. Monasterios held the Padres off the scoreboard for three innings only giving up a hit and two walks and hitting one batter - Eckstein in the eighth inning.

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Meanwhile the Dodgers tried to come back slowly. After loading the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, the Dodgers scored only once thanks to a groundout by Paul.

In the fifth inning with runners on first and second and two outs, Manny came in to pinch hit showing no ill effects from the injured little piggy.

“For him to be able to pinch hit was good,” Torre remarked. Torre didn’t foresee any reason to hold Manny out of the lineup in the coming days and was even lighthearted about it.

“We’re into little things. We have the pinkie, and then we have the little toe. Hopefully that’s the end of it.”

Casey Blake hit a solo homer in the seventh inning to cut the lead to 8-5.

“We hit, we had a lot of opportunities,” Torre said of the hitting. However he stressed that the offense won’t carry the team to the Promised Land.

“Our success is based on how well we pitch. We didn’t pitch well tonight.”

That included George Sherrill after pitching well the last couple of weeks couldn’t keep things together giving up two runs in the ninth.

And in this stunning manner the Dodgers’ nine-game hitting streak comes to an end.

“We feel good about ourselves,” Torre remarked. “Obviously we’ve been playing well over these past ten days. Today was just one of those days.”