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SAN FRANCISCO 5 DODGERS 4

Dodgers fail to hang on to lead

After L.A. goes ahead, 3-0, in the fourth, Billingsley gives it all back, and more.

April 13, 2011|Dylan Hernandez

SAN FRANCISCO — On more than one occasion, the Dodgers had the San Francisco Giants where they wanted Tuesday night.

There was the time they scored three runs against Tim Lincecum in the fourth inning.

Chad Billingsley couldn't hold the lead.

There was the time they loaded the bases and knocked Lincecum out of the game in the sixth inning.

Rod Barajas and Aaron Miles couldn't drive in anyone.

There was the time Marcus Thames tied the score with a solo home run in the seventh inning.

Blake Hawksworth failed to preserve the stalemate.

The result was a 5-4 Dodgers loss to the defending World Series champions at AT&T Park.

"In the end, it didn't go our way," Jamey Carroll said. "They got a couple of hits when they needed to."

For the first three innings, Billingsley and Lincecum were virtually unhittable. Billingsley limited the Giants to a hit over that span and Lincecum held the Dodgers to a walk.

Everything changed in the fourth inning.

The Dodgers had five consecutive hitters reach base and took a 3-0 lead, forcing Lincecum to throw 32 pitches in the inning and running his pitch count to 81.

Billingsley encountered trouble in the fourth inning.

A two-out single by Buster Posey drove in Freddy Sanchez to cut the Giants deficit to 3-1. Pablo Sandoval hit a curveball that was a foot off the ground and slanted it past first baseman James Loney for a double that drove in Posey.

"He can hit any ball up there," Billingsley said of Sandoval.

The Dodgers' lead was down to 3-2.

"I know Pablo is an aggressive hitter," Billingsley said. "I didn't have to throw the breaking ball for a strike. I just had to be around the zone."

The Giants overtook the Dodgers in fifth inning.

Brandon Belt led off with a bloop single to left, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Lincecum and scored on a single by Aaron Rowand.

Billingsley walked Aubrey Huff with two outs to set up Posey's next run-scoring hit, which deflected off the glove of a diving Carroll at shortstop and trickled into center field.

The Giants were ahead, 4-3.

For the third time in as many starts, Billingsley failed to protect a lead. But upon watching replays of the pitches Billingsley threw on the run-scoring hits, Manager Don Mattingly gave him a pass.

"Those were two good pitches they hit to get back in the game," Mattingly said of the low-and-away pitches that Rowand and Posey hit for singles in the fifth inning.

The Dodgers were on the verge of another offensive strike in the sixth inning.

Matt Kemp and Loney hit consecutive singles and Juan Uribe loaded the bases with one out by taking a pitch on his left the arm, the second of the season from Lincecum, who also hit him there on opening day in Los Angeles.

Lincecum was pulled from the game and replaced by Guillermo Mota, who was performing mop-up duty for the Dodgers two years ago.

But Barajas struck out. Miles then popped up.

With left-hander Jeremy Affeldt pitching for the Giants, Mattingly summoned Thames to pinch-hit in the seventh inning.

Thames took Affeldt deep over the left-field wall to tie the score, 4-4. It was the sixth pinch-hit homer of Thames' 10-year career.

But the Giants immediately reclaimed the lead.

Rowand tripled against Hawksworth to start the bottom of the seventh inning and scored on a wild pitch.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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