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Dodgers' 6-4 loss to Twins has a lasting impact

The interleague defeat drops the Dodgers into a last-place tie with San Diego in the NL West. They are nine games under .500, and a season-worst 10 1/2 out of first place.

June 28, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

Officially, the Dodgers still have half of their season remaining.

But the real deadline to push their way into contention is fast approaching.

In the coming weeks, General Manager Ned Colletti will decide whether the Dodgers will look to add reinforcements or unload salaries leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"As we get closer to it, we'll have a better feel for where we're at, how close we are or how far we are," Colletti said.

Unless something dramatically changes in the near future, the Dodgers will be sellers.

They hit the midway point of their season with a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night at Target Field that dropped them into a tie with the San Diego Padres for last place in the National League West.

The Dodgers are a season-worst 101/2 games out of first place, and nine games under .500.

"We have to put it together right away," Manager Don Mattingly said.

Mattingly acknowledged that if they don't, they could soon find themselves building for the future by offering more playing time to younger players.

"We're kind of doing it in a sense right now," he said, noting that injuries had forced the Dodgers to call up prospects such as Dee Gordon and utilize an inexperienced bullpen.

In recent weeks, Mattingly had set a goal of reaching the .500 mark by the All-Star break. For that to happen, the Dodgers would have to win 10 of their next 11 games.

The Dodgers haven't won more than three consecutive games at any point this season.

"We just don't seem to be able to put a number of games together," Mattingly said.

While the team searches for answers on how to do that, Ted Lilly is searching for answers of his own.

The pitcher of record in the Dodgers' loss Tuesday, Lilly has been charged with six runs in each of his last three starts.

"I've thought about so many different things with what's been going in the last month," Lilly said. "It's hard to pinpoint any one thing."

Lilly lasted only 42/3 innings, which was as long as he pitched in his previous appearance.

The left-hander, who is in the first year of a three-year, $33-million contract, put the Dodgers at an early 4-1 disadvantage.

But the Dodgers fought back, scoring three runs in the fifth inning. Andre Ethier tied the score, 4-4, with a two-run single off Twins left-hander Brian Duensing.

Lilly promptly handed the lead back to the Twins, serving up a two-out, two-run home run to Luke Hughes in the bottom of the inning.

"It's hard to believe, but I'm doing the best that I can," Lilly said. "I'm just not getting the job done. I'm hurting the ballclub. Four runs should be enough for us to win."

Lilly fell to 5-8. His earned-run average inflated to 4.97.

He particularly had trouble holding runners. Leadoff man Ben Revere and former Dodgers outfielder Jason Repko each stole two bases. All four steals led to runs.

"It seems like every time I go to throw to first, they're standing there," Lilly said. "When I go home, they're standing on second. They know something that I don't."

He also said the focus on the men on base could be affecting his pitching. "I'm not holding runners or getting hitters out," he said.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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