The Florida Marlins might be a waning factor in the National League East, but don't tell that to John Ely.
Making the first start against Florida of his career, the Dodgers' 24-year-old rookie pitcher — who appeared to have rebounded from a three-game slump last month — was pummeled for six runs (five earned) and nine hits in only 2 2/3 innings of work Monday night.
The final indignity came when opposing pitcher Nate Robertson lined an Ely pitch for a run-scoring single to give Florida a 6-1 lead, and from there the Marlins held on for a 6-5 win over the Dodgers.
For the Dodgers, it was a unpleasant way to open a seven-game homestand ahead of the All-Star break after they had returned from a 5-1 trip.
And for Dodgers fans among the 47,801 at Dodger Stadium, at least there were postgame fireworks to cap the Independence Day weekend, because Ely (4-6) gave them little to cheer about.
By the fourth inning, every Marlins batter had a hit except catcher Ronny Paulino. Florida at one stretch hit four consecutive singles against Ely, and the right-hander also threw several pitches in the dirt in front of home plate.
"The guys tried to battle back and played a heck of a game behind me, but that one's squarely on me, I've got to take the blame," Ely said.
"He didn't locate" his pitches well, Manager Joe Torre said. "He couldn't stay down, he got behind in counts."
But Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal and relievers Jeff Weaver and Ronald Belisario were bright spots.
Furcal has been red-hot since rejoining the team after the unexpected death of his father last month, and Monday the switch-hitter blasted a two-run home run against the left-handed Robertson (6-6).
Weaver restored order after relieving Ely, throwing no-hit ball for 3 1/3 innings, and Belisario blanked Florida on one hit over the final three innings.
"We were pecking away and coming back," Weaver said. "But we came up a little short, so we'll turn the page and come back tomorrow."
The game was only five minutes old when Florida scored on Ely.
After Chris Coghlan and Gaby Sanchez led off the game with singles, Hanley Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to score Coghlan. Dan Uggla singled, Ely's wild pitch moved the runners up a base and Cody Ross' ground-ball out scored Sanchez to give Florida a 2-0 lead.
The Marlins added one run in the second inning when Mike Stanton (who attended Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High) hit a double, moved to third base on Robertson's sacrifice bunt and scored when catcher Russell Martin's errant pickoff throw got past third baseman Casey Blake.
Blake doubled in the Dodgers' half of the inning and later scored on Martin's single to cut Florida's lead to 3-1.
But then Florida chased Ely with three runs in the third inning. The Marlins had four consecutive singles and Robertson capped the rally with his two-out single that scored Ross.
The Dodgers tried to claw back with one run in the third inning, Furcal's two-run homer in the fourth and James Loney's opposite-field run-scoring double to left in the eighth inning against reliever Clay Hensley that scored Andre Ethier to make it 6-5.
But Marlins closer Leo Nunez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure the win.
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