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Dodgers fall in a hole early and lose to the Diamondbacks, 4-1

Ted Lilly gives up all of the runs in the second inning, including consecutive home runs, and right-hander Ian Kennedy holds L.A. in check. Andre Ethier's streak of reaching base ends at 37 games.

May 15, 2011|By Jim Peltz
  • Dodgers starting pitcher Ted Lilly turns to watch a two-run home run by Arizona's Xavier Nady in the second inning Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers starting pitcher Ted Lilly turns to watch a two-run home run by Arizona's… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

Given the paucity of runs being scored by the Dodgers these days, if the club's starting pitching doesn't hold up, the team is in trouble.

So it was Sunday afternoon, when the Arizona Diamondbacks tagged starter Ted Lilly for four runs in the second inning.

The next seven innings then seemed all too familiar to the Dodgers as they again struggled to score and lost to the Diamondbacks, 4-1, at Dodger Stadium.

"We had opportunities," Manager Don Mattingly said. "We just haven't been able to get those big hits you need to be able to get yourself on the board and crack through."

Starting pitching was the Dodgers' main strength entering the game; the rotation had not given up an earned run in the previous 22 innings.

But that streak ended in the second inning when Xavier Nady slugged a two-run home run against Lilly, Ryan Roberts followed with a homer and, later in the inning, Miguel Montero scored on Chris Young's sacrifice fly.

"If [Lilly] is not locating, he puts himself in harm's way," Mattingly said.

Lilly (3-4) otherwise kept Arizona in check in his six innings of work. But Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy (4-1), who started the game with a 1.86 earned-run average on the road, gave up one run in six innings and struck out eight.

The Dodgers threatened in the ninth inning against closer J.J. Putz when James Loney led off with a bloop double down the left-field line.

After Dioner Navarro struck out and Juan Uribe walked, Rod Barajas hit a deep fly ball that was caught by center fielder Young.

"I felt like it was a great swing, but when things aren't going your way, things like that happen," Barajas said.

Jerry Sands then popped out and Putz earned his ninth save.

The Dodgers let Kennedy off the hook in the first inning, when they loaded the bases with one out. Loney flied out and Navarro struck out to end the threat.

Not scoring in that situation "definitely takes some momentum out of our side of the field," Mattingly said.

Andre Ethier was 0 for 4, so his streak of reaching base safely ended at 37 games, the longest in the big leagues this year.

Veteran infielder Jamey Carroll again was one bright spot for the Dodgers.

Carroll, 37, singled to lead off the bottom of the first inning and, in the third inning doubled down the left-field line and scored on a single by Aaron Miles.

"I have no doubt in my mind that the [team's] hitting will come around," Miles said. "These guys have been in the league for a number of years for a reason. We've got to grind through this, stay with our approach, don't panic."

Right-hander Javy Guerra, called up by the Dodgers on Sunday from double-A Chattanooga, made his big league debut when he started the ninth inning. Guerra replaced reliever Blake Hawksworth, who was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right groin.

Guerra gave up a one-out single to Young, but when Young tried to steal second base, Guerra threw him out. Guerra then struck out Kelly Johnson to retire the side.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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