After being swept in four games by the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Dodgers called up pitcher James McDonald from the minor leagues to help stop the bleeding.
Lacking a reliable fifth starter, the Dodgers tapped the lanky right-hander to start against the San Francisco Giants as they opened a seven-game homestand at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
But the surging Giants scored four times against McDonald in five innings, starter Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco bullpen gave up only two runs and the Giants dealt the Dodgers their fifth consecutive loss, 5-2.
Manager Joe Torre said McDonald "threw the ball well" but got into trouble at times with pitch location.
"I thought he attacked very well," Torre said.
It was the 10th win in the last 12 games for the Giants. The Dodgers dropped to six games behind the National League West-leading San Diego Padres, who were idle.
The Dodgers had two late chances to tie the score. They loaded the bases in the seventh inning, but Andre Ethier grounded out. They loaded them again with two out in the ninth inning, but Casey Blake struck out to end the game.
A Long Beach native, McDonald, 25, was making his first big league start of the season after being called up from triple-A Albuquerque.
He made four starts early last year, moved to the bullpen for the rest of the season and, this spring, had hoped to rejoin the starting rotation. But he struggled and had been in the minors until Monday.
After retiring the Giants in order in the first inning and escaping a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, McDonald's fortune ran out in the third inning.
Andres Torres doubled and, two outs later, hot-hitting rookie Buster Posey fisted a single to center field to drive in Torres. Pablo Sandoval doubled to drive in Posey and San Francisco led, 2-0.
The Giants added two runs in the fourth inning when Travis Ishikawa hit a single and right-fielder Nate Schierholtz hit a home run over the right-field wall. By the time the inning ended, every Giant except Bumgarner had a hit against McDonald.
McDonald said he "felt decent, felt OK, like I made good pitches at times. I have to tip my hat to them, they put some good swings on the ball on good pitches."
The left-handed Bumgarner started the game having given up only one earned run in his last 14 innings, and he extended the streak until shortstop Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff home run in the sixth.
In the same inning, Jamey Carroll singled, James Loney walked two outs later and they moved up a base when reliever Guillermo Mota made an errant pickoff throw to second base.
When Matt Kemp grounded to third baseman Sandoval, he tagged Loney for the third out but not before Carroll crossed the plate with the Dodgers' second run.
Torre started the versatile Carroll in left field in place of the injured Manny Ramirez, rather than Xavier Paul or Garret Anderson, the first time Carroll had started in the outfield since Sept. 5, when he played for the Cleveland Indians.
The Giants added a run in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with one out and Freddy Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly against Jeff Weaver. Torres was doubled up at first base for the final out on the play, but Ishikawa already had tagged up and scored.
The Dodgers will try to end their skid Tuesday night with Clayton Kershaw, but they face Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
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