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Kuroda Untamed in Dodgers Loss

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What was a wild, wild, wild night for Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda turned out to be a snooze for the St. Louis Cardinals as the Dodgers lost the first game of their eight-game home stand 9-5.

Not only did Kuroda (L, 2-1) make a career-high three wild pitches, the second of which allowed Lance Berkman to score from third base in the fifth inning to give the Cardinals the 6-3 lead, but he gave up 10 hits to the Red Birds.

“I couldn’t find the right grip,” Kuroda admitted.

“He just wasn’t as sharp tonight,” manager Don Mattingly said. Mattingly surmised that Kuroda’s last start where he went into the ninth inning with two outs could have affected this outing.

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“I don’t know if that was a by-product of that, but he wasn’t as sharp tonight.

Kuroda didn’t quite agree with his manager’s assessment.

“I wouldn’t want to think so.”

But he did acknowledge that he was off tonight.

“I couldn’t find the right pitch at the critical situations,” Kuroda said.

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After retiring the side in order on 11 pitches in the first inning, Kuroda was shaky giving up ten hits - the most since the ten hits he gave up to the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 15, 2010. He gave up a triple to Colby Rasmus in the third inning who ended up scoring on Matt Holliday’s single for the 3-1 lead. And against a struggling Albert Pujols who came into the game hitting only .229 with a homer and six RBI, Kuroda gave up the solo bomb to left field.

Not to say that Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia (W, 2-0) was any sharper. In his previous two starts this season he allowed only four hits in both quality outings. By the time the Dodgers got done with him in the first inning, they had three singles and a run in.

The Dodgers added runs in the third and fourth innings to cut the deficit to 4-3, but with the two-run fifth inning and three-run seventh inning off of reliever Lance Cormier it was too late. Not even Jamey Carroll’s RBI single in the eighth or Matt Kemp’s solo homer in the ninth inning could give answer any prayers.

Through it all, Mattingly isn’t disappointed.

“I really don’t feel like we’re playing badly,” he explained. “The effort we’re getting, the way the guys are playing we’ll accept that. We don’t really want to accept the results, but if we keep getting this effort we’ll win our fair share of games.”

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It’s this effort that has them 3-6 in their last nine games.

Outfielder Jamie Hoffman was optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for starting pitcher Jon Garland who will be reactivated from the 15-day disabled list.

San Jose Sharks defeat LA Kings 3-2 (OT). To be honest it didn’t look good for the Kings when they gave up a goal to Dany Heatley in the 28th second of the game. It looked even worse as they were outshot by the Sharks 14-3 in the first period with Michal Handzus being the only forward putting a shot-on-goal. But the Kings picked up their pressure in the offensive zone and even got a power-play goal by Dustin Brown at 7:25 in the second period to tie things up.

Naturally the Kings gave up a goal soon after to rookie Logan Couture, but at least they waited three minutes. And they ended the period on a high note with Justin Williams and his dangling shoulder scoring the tying goal at 16:20.

The game amazingly went into overtime where they held off the Sharks until Joe Pavelski scored the game winner at 14:44. Unfortunately the Kings do not get a point. Just a big fat L.

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TONIGHT’S ACTION

Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks. Game 2 of first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nashville leads 1-0. 7:30 p.m. KDOC, AM 1150 KTLK.

St. Louis Cardinals at LA Dodgers. 7:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

LA Angels at Chicago White Sox. 5:10 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.