Randy Wolf thought he could pitch through the pain that has been in his throwing shoulder for the last month.
He was wrong.
Wolf lasted only three innings in the Dodgers' eventual 7-6 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night, after which it was decided that he would undergo an MRI on Thursday and skip his final start before the All-Star break.
"I've never had discomfort in my shoulder," Wolf said. "It's not something that I'm used to."
The pain, the byproduct of what is believed to be bursitis, interrupted Wolf's sleep Monday night. Asked why he went ahead to make his start, Wolf replied, "I thought it would loosen up."
But it didn't, which was in part why Wolf gave up six runs and walked four in his shortest outing of the season.
For the Dodgers, who already lost Jason Schmidt for the season to shoulder surgery, the result of Wolf's MRI could change their priorities leading up to the July 31 trade deadline and make them consider trading a young player for a starting pitcher.
If anything looked promising for the Dodgers on Tuesday, it was the continued production of their offense, which completed the comeback in the seventh inning when Matt Kemp singled to drive in Jeff Kent for the eventual winning run. The victory moved the Dodgers 12 games over .500 for the first time and into a virtual tie for first place with San Diego in the National League West.
Kemp, who also scored a run in the second inning, went two for four to raise his season average to .403.
"I'm getting a little bit smarter," said Kemp, who hit a two-strike pitch to drive in Kent. "I've been talking a lot with [hitting coach] Billy Mueller, talking about hanging in there and getting good at-bats."
That the Dodgers were in position to win the game on Kemp's single was a credit to how they chased Braves starter Kyle Davies two batters into the third inning.
The Dodgers went ahead 1-0 in the first inning when Rafael Furcal singled, stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Juan Pierre and scored on a single to center by James Loney.
But the Braves scored three runs in the second, the last two coming on a two-run shot over the right-field wall by Brian McCann.
The Dodgers drew level at 3-3 in the bottom of the second, when Wilson Betemit, starting at third base in place of a resting Nomar Garciaparra, hit a two-run home run to center.
Then Wolf's shoulder got the best of him.
Wolf walked four batters in the third, including one intentionally and another with the bases loaded.
Andre Ethier pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the inning.
The move not only prevented Wolf from further damaging his shoulder, but also resulted in the tying run, as Ethier's single to right capped a three-run inning. The rally included a two-run double by Betemit, who was three for four.