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Punch-less Dodgers swept out of Detroit

They avoid being shut out with a ninth-inning rally but lose, 5-4, for fifth defeat in a row.

June 16, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

DETROIT -- The Dodgers headed to Cincinnati on Sunday, their condition similar to when they were there in mid-April: the defeats mounting, the run production declining, and the .500 mark increasingly distant.

Except that when they open a three-game series against the Reds on Tuesday, they'll be doing so with fewer pages remaining on the calendar.

"It's certainly not early," Manager Joe Torre said.

Especially with the Dodgers a season-worst seven games under .500 after dropping a 5-4 decision to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday at Comerica Park and extending their losing streak to a five games. The Dodgers were three outs from being shut out for the third time in four games and collected only five hits over the first eight innings.

"We have to try to stay as consistent as we can and try to limit the mental mistakes, which I think we've done a pretty good job of lately," first baseman James Loney said.

Like the Dodgers, the Tigers are considerably worse than expected 69 games into the season, as they sit five wins short of .500. But the injury-ravaged Tigers are starting to find a rhythm, the potent lineup with Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez posting 22 runs in their three games against the Dodgers to sweep their second consecutive series.

Torre managed the New York Yankees when they fell in 2005 and in 2007 as many games under .500 as the Dodgers are today. He said that his experience tells him that ending bad stretches isn't as formidable a task for experienced teams such as those Yankees or the current Tigers as it is for a club such as the Dodgers.

"When you have something to call on, as far as history or resume, it's a little easier to be patient," Torre said.

The Dodgers had a chance to acquire one of the bats that hurt them over the weekend, but at a significant price.

Before dealing Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers for a six-player package that included Detroit's top two prospects, the Florida Marlins offered Cabrera to the Dodgers for Loney, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley or Jonathan Broxton, and a prospect. The Dodgers, unwilling to part with a substantial portion of their active roster and reluctant to pay the $150-plus million that the Tigers paid to extend Cabrera's contract, passed.

Cabrera was five for 12 with three runs batted in and a home run in his three games against the Dodgers. (Willis was sent to Class-A Lakeland last week to work on control issues.)

The Tigers went ahead, 5-0, by pounding Chan Ho Park in his 1 1/3 innings of relief and the margin remained untouched until Russell Martin hit a two-run home run to left field. Loney and Kemp followed with singles. Loney was driven in by Jeff Kent's single and Kemp pushed the Dodgers to within a run when he scored on a wild pitch by closer Todd Jones.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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