The Dodgers didn't hit any worse than they had the previous two days.
Only this time, they were playing the Atlanta Braves, not the Arizona Diamondbacks. This time, there were consequences.
By the time Manny Ramirez stopped, dropped and rolled on the left-field grass in the sixth inning to turn a potential lineout by Braves pitcher Kris Medlen into a run-scoring double, the Dodgers' fate was sealed.
There would be no walk-off victory Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers' four-game winning streak was about to end with a 4-3 loss to the Braves.
Obscured by three walk-off victories earlier in the week against the last-place Diamondbacks: The Dodgers weren't scoring.
They scored twice in the 24 innings that were played in the last two games of the Arizona series. They were held to four hits in the first seven innings by Medlen (3-1) on Thursday and didn't score until a three-run eighth that was aided by a wild throw from Braves right fielder Jason Heyward.
"We're not having the quality at-bats we had a week or so ago," Manager Joe Torre said. "We're going to have to fight our way out of this."
Perhaps without Casey Blake. He who started the day with a nine-game hitting streak but was scratched because of back spasms.
The already taxed bullpen took another hit, as Jeff Weaver entered the game to start the seventh inning but didn't throw a pitch that counted. His warmup session was interrupted by trainer Stan Conte, who escorted him into the clubhouse to take care of a blister on one of his fingers.
Furthermore, Hiroki Kuroda's problems in May appeared to extend into June.
Kuroda (5-4), who lost his third consecutive start, was charged with four runs, seven hits and four walks in six innings. One of the runs was unearned, but he committed the error that led to that run.
Kuroda, who had a 2.36 earned-run average in April but a 4.46 ERA last month, has insisted that nothing is wrong physically. He had said in previous seasons that he was having trouble getting used to pitching every five days — as opposed to once a week in his native Japan — but he claimed that is no longer an issue.
"My body's become used to it," Kuroda said. "This is my third season here."
He paused and smiled.
"Then again, I am three years older," the right-hander, 35, said.
The Braves led, 1-0, in the first after Martin Prado led off with a double and scored on a single by Troy Glaus. The lead increased to 3-0 in the third. Glaus homered and Kuroda failed to handle a throw from Rafael Furcal that would have completed a double play, leading to another run when Nate McLouth doubled.
The ball misplayed by Ramirez extended the Braves' edge to 4-0.
The Dodgers had four hits in the eighth inning, the last by pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard. It scored a run and led to Heyward's errant throw, which resulted in another run. But Andre Ethier struck out with runners on first and third.
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