Trying to shake off Manny Ramirez's suspension, the Dodgers instead blew a 6-0 lead and suffered their first home loss of the season Thursday night.
The Dodgers lost to the Washington Nationals, 11-9, in front of 37,074 at Dodger Stadium.
A night earlier the Dodgers (21-9) had won their 13th game at Dodger Stadium without a loss to start the year, a modern-day record in the major leagues.
But on the day Ramirez was suspended for 50 games for having used a banned substance, the Dodgers' bullpen failed to hold a 6-1 lead by giving up nine runs in the seventh and eighth innings by Washington (8-18), which entered the game with the worst record in the major leagues.
The Nationals' Adam Dunn doubled off Dodgers reliever Will Ohman to drive in two runs in the seventh inning, and Nick Johnson doubled home two more off Brent Leach in Washington's six-run eighth.
The scoring wiped out a six-run first inning by the Dodgers, led by Matt Kemp's grand slam, his second in as many months.
Dodgers' starting pitcher Randy Wolf gave up one earned run in six innings.
"We got to the ballpark today, found out the news," said Dodgers' right fielder Andre Ethier of Ramirez's suspension. "But I had something to come out and prepare for, which is tonight's game. As the days go on, maybe one night I'll really sit back and analyze the situation.
"It's tough to replace that type of mentality and confidence that he brings, but you hope for the fact that we know we're getting him back," Ethier said.
"In the meantime, we can use what we've gained from him and learned from him to the best of our ability . . . and be that much better when he returns."
Dodgers' catcher Russell Martin agreed, saying "everybody seems like they're still focused."
"Obviously we're going to miss him in the lineup," Martin said. "But I feel like we have a good team with and without him."
Juan Pierre, who replaced Ramirez in left field Thursday night, said "I pray for him and his family that they get through this," but declined to comment further.
Xavier Paul hit so well in spring training that, despite starting the season with the Dodgers' triple-A club in Albuquerque, it was widely agreed the young outfielder would be in the big leagues at some point this year.
That point came Thursday, when he was called up to replace Ramirez on the roster and made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning. He grounded into a double play.
"There's mixed emotions," Paul, 25, said before the game. "It's sad circumstances and unfortunately it had to be like this."
Paul hit over .400 this spring.
"I was just kind of shocked," he said. "I didn't know what the phone call was about. I woke up quick.
"I'm happy to be here, and I'm going to try to take advantage of the opportunity and try to help this team continue playing well.
Paul also acknowledged that, no matter how he plays, he'll be a footnote in Dodgers history.
"I'm the guy who came up," he said, "when the situation came up with Manny."
VS. SAN FRANCISCO
Where: Dodger Stadium
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 790, 930.
Pitchers: Chad Billingsley vs. Barry Zito.
Update: The now Manny-less Dodgers open a three-game series against the Giants, who took two of three against them last week at AT&T Park in San Francisco. In the one game the Dodgers won, Billingsley gave up three runs over 7 1/3 innings in a 5-3 victory. Zito gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings in his game against the Dodgers last week, getting no decision in a 5-4 Giants win.
-- Jim Peltz