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Loney hits ball hard but comes up empty

September 22, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Asked what he thought when Randy Winn made a sliding catch in left field to deprive him of a run-scoring single in the fifth inning and end a bases-loaded threat, James Loney sighed and dropped his head.

"You would think it would fall, right?" he said with a grin.

Especially since he was robbed of hits in his two previous at-bats in the Dodgers' 1-0, 11-inning loss to San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

He went to the plate in the first inning with no outs and the bases loaded, only for his line drive to be snagged out of the air by shortstop Ivan Ochoa. Two innings later, right fielder Nate Schierholtz made a diving catch as Manny Ramirez was ready to gallop from first to third. Schierholtz made another good catch on a ball hit by Angel Berroa to record the third out of the bottom of the sixth, leaving Blake DeWitt stranded at first.

Rotation not set

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said he wants to see how Derek Lowe recovers from his start on Sunday before setting the rotation for the remainder of the regular season. Lowe made 120 pitches over seven shutout innings.

The Dodgers will start Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Greg Maddux, in that order, in their three-game series against the San Diego Padres that starts on Tuesday, but haven't named their starters for their season-ending three-game set in San Francisco.

Because the Dodgers are off today, Lowe could be moved up and pitch on regular four days' rest on Friday, making him available for Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs the next Wednesday.

"A lot of that depends on how Derek feels," Honeycutt said. "He's given us a lot of quality innings and gone on every fifth day for a long time. We have to be conscious of that."

Maddux mum on playoff possibilities

Maddux didn't want to discuss the possibility of not being part of the playoff rotation, saying, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."

The 42-year-old Maddux is 1-4 with a 5.71 earned-run average in his six starts with the Dodgers.

"Numbers-wise, it's bad," Maddux said. "Sometimes you're not as bad as it looks. Sometimes you're not as good as it looks. A couple feet here and there and it could be a big difference."

Satisfied to spoil

Though the Giants are out of playoff contention, Rich Aurilia said driving in the winning run off Takashi Saito in their victory Sunday meant something to him.

"I don't know what next year holds for me," said Aurilia, 37, who will be a free agent this winter. "If I can go out in my last game at Dodger Stadium with a hit like that, it's pretty cool."

Aurilia said he didn't mind playing the role of spoiler.

"Any time you go out there, you want to ruin somebody else's celebration," he said.

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy will do his part by taking advantage of his team's off day today to move up Tim Lincecum's next start to Tuesday. By doing that, Bochy will be able to send Lincecum to face the Dodgers on the last day of the regular season on Sunday.

Short hops

Manny Ramirez has started in 48 consecutive games, but said that he doesn't need a day off. "I feel like a baby," he said. . . . By striking out twice, Matt Kemp moved to within one strikeout of tying the franchise single-season record of 149 set by Billy Grabarkewitz in 1970.

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