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Dodgers rally to tie it, then lose to Giants, 8-5

Cody Ross hits a go-ahead three-run home run in the ninth inning after L.A. had tied the score, 5-5, with three runs in the eighth.

May 18, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

If the Dodgers fall at Dodger Stadium and no one is around to hear it, do they make a sound?

Although there was an increased police presence intended to prevent a repeat of a parking-lot beating that headlined the San Francisco Giants' previous visit, the fan presence was clearly decreased.

The announced attendance for the Dodgers' 8-5 defeat Wednesday night was 30,421, and that was the number of tickets sold, not the number of people who walked through the turnstiles. The 56,000-seat stadium was clearly more than half empty.

The last time the Dodgers sold fewer tickets for a home game against the Giants was June 4, 1997, when they sold 30,357.

The fans who stayed home missed the baseball equivalent of one of those NASCAR races in which a car at or near the front decides to skip a pit stop and runs out of fuel at the end. Only in this case, the Dodgers ran out of pitchers.

The Dodgers erased a three-run deficit in the eighth inning on a two-run double by a Juan Uribe and a run-scoring single by James Loney to tie the score, 5-5.

But from there, they had nowhere to go.

Jonathan Broxton was on the disabled list. Vicente Padilla had a sore forearm. Matt Guerrier and Kenley Jansen were scheduled to take the night off.

So, with the game on the line, the Dodgers turned to Lance Cormier, who started the day with an earned-run average of 9.72.

The result was predictable.

Cody Ross hit a three-run home run that sent the Dodgers to their fourth loss in five days.

For Manager Don Mattingly, the crucial decision turned out to be the one he made in the fifth. With the bases loaded and the Dodgers trailing, 4-1, he sent Juan Castro to pinch-hit for Clayton Kershaw with one out.

"We have to take a shot at scoring a run," Mattingly said.

The Dodgers didn't.

Kershaw said that contrary to what his pitching line might indicate — he was charged with four runs and seven hits in five innings — he felt fine.

"I would have loved to get two more" innings, he said.

But he said he understood.

"In that situation," he said, "you have to score runs."

The Dodgers began the game as the lowest-scoring team in the National League. On the mound for the Giants was Matt Cain.

Kershaw's problems Wednesday started in the third inning, when he gave up his first hit of the game to Cain, of all people.

Hits by Aaron Rowand and Freddy Sanchez followed, with Sanchez's single to right driving in Cain to put the Giants up, 1-0.

The Giants started the fourth inning with four consecutive singles. The fourth, by Miguel Tejada, drove in Pat Burrell. Kershaw walked Mike Fontenot to push in another run. A sacrifice fly by Rowand drove in Aubrey Huff and extended the margin to 4-0.

Matt Kemp broke up Cain's perfect game in the fifth inning with a home run. Rod Barajas doubled to right in the seventh inning to drive in Jay Gibbons from first and close the gap to 4-2.

The Dodgers leveled the score in the eighth on hits by a couple of their slumping hitters.

With the Dodgers trailing, 5-2, and All-Star closer Brian Wilson on the mound, Uribe drove in Jamey Carroll and Kemp with a double to center.

Loney tied the score, 5-5, with a single to right that allowed Uribe to score.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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