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Dodgers' rally comes up short in 3-1 loss to Giants

Don Mattingly would rather talk about politics before the loss to the Giants.

May 19, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

The Dodgers have plenty of issues on and off the field these days.

The team might be sold. The star right fielder could be facing a suspension. They lost another closer Thursday. Dodger Stadium is half-empty most of the time.

So it's not surprising that Manager Don Mattingly did not want to talk about baseball in his pregame meeting with reporters Thursday.

"You know, I kind of like talking about politics," he said. "Today's a good day for it."

Mattingly was right. Later that night, the Dodgers lost for the fifth time in six days, falling to the San Francisco Giants, 3-1, at Dodger Stadium.

It was a familiar story. The Dodgers pitched well but didn't hit. (They had six hits and didn't score until the ninth inning.)

So, why not indulge the manager and offer you his thoughts on President Obama's speech?

Mattingly's verdict: "There was a lot of fluff in that today."

Asked if he would vote for Obama when he runs for reelection, Mattingly responded, "I don't know. I did vote for him last time."

Mattingly resides in Indiana, which was a swing state in the 2008 election.

Are you pleased with the work that Obama has done so far?

"I'm up in the air," Mattingly said. "He came in at a bad time."

Mattingly was asked how he would handle the crisis in the Middle East.

"Probably not very well," he said.

Your view on Israel?

"I liked what he said about that," Mattingly said of Obama. "He talked about resetting the boundaries. I thought that was good."

Obama said negotiations regarding a future Palestinian state should start with the borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war.

The manager was asked about taxes. Are you overtaxed? Should you be paying more taxes?

"I think I'm paying too many," he said.

The conversation then turned to Padilla's arm troubles and how Mattingly planned to use Matt Guerrier and Kenley Jansen as his primary closers.

Because the Dodgers were down 3-0 and technically in the ballgame, Mattingly used Guerrier to pitch the eighth inning.

Ramon Troncoso pitched a perfect ninth inning, setting the stage for a bottom-of-an-inning charge that brought the fans in the largely empty stadium to their feet.

The Dodgers actually got to within a foot or two of tying, if not winning, the game.

Rookie Jerry Sands hit a two-out double to drive in Rod Barajas, prompting Giants Manager Bruce Bochy to summon All-Star closer Brian Wilson.

Wilson walked pinch-hitters Jay Gibbons and James Loney to load the bases, then had to face Jamey Carroll. The stand-in shortstop lined a ball to right field, where it was caught by a diving Nate Schierholtz.

The catch made Chad Billingsley the latest Dodgers starting pitcher to be victimized by the lineup.

Billingsley (2-4) walked four and hit two batters, but he held the Giants to three runs over six innings.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, were shut down by Madison Bumgarner, who came into the game with an 0-6 record and came within one out of his first career shutout and complete game.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

The Times' Steve Dilbeck contributed to this report.

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