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Dodgers no longer perfect at home after 4-3 loss to Braves

April 24, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers baserunner Matt Kemp, right, argues with second base umpire Ron Kulpa after being caught in a double play during the fourth inning of the Dodgers' loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.
Dodgers baserunner Matt Kemp, right, argues with second base umpire Ron… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

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Undefeated at home, no more. Hey, you know what they say about fun while it lasted.

For the Dodgers that meant seven games. They suffered their first home loss of the season Tuesday when Matt Kemp could not run down Martin Prado’s run-scoring triple in the top of the ninth, to fall 4-3 to the Braves before a sleeved-blanket crowd of 44,014.

With the game tied 3-3 in the ninth, the Dodgers called on closer Javy Guerra. Shortstop Tyler Pastornicky greeted him with a single and was sacrificed to second by pinch-hitter Jack Wilson.

Guerra struck out Michael Bourn, but Prada then hit a deep drive to right-center. Kemp had to go a long way, but didn’t exactly run the most direct route. It looked like he could have caught the ball at the wall, but it got past him for the triple.

And the Dodgers went to 7-1 at home.

They had jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when Juan Rivera followed a Mark Ellis hit with a two-run homer that hooked into the left-field loge. He was the first Dodger to homer in the loge section since Kemp hit one there in 2007, and it was the first home run this season for Rivera.

It remained a 2-0 game heading into the fifth, when the Braves got to right-hander Aaron Harang for a pair of runs.

Chipper Jones celebrated his 40th birthday with a leadoff home run, his third of the season. Singles by Jason Heyward and Pastornicky, and a walk to Bourn loaded the bases with one out, enabling a Prado groundout to score Heyward with the tying run.

The Braves took a 3-2 lead in the sixth after Brian McCann singled past the Dodgers’ shifted defense and Dan Uggla walked. Harang induced Jones to bounce into a double play and intentionally walked Heyward, but then unleashed a wild pitch to enable McCann to score the go-ahead run.

The Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the inning after Dee Gordon and Mark Ellis led off with singles. Kemp then hit a bouncer to Pastornicky at short, who flipped the ball to Dan Uggla at second for the force on Ellis. Uggla’s poor throw to first baseman Freddie Freeman went past him for an error and Gordon sprinted home to tie it.

Kemp, however, ran down the line, past first, past the infield and onto the grass. When he first saw the ball get by Freeman, he took a step toward second before quickly realizing he had no chance to advance. He stepped back into foul territory and walked toward first. Freeman tagged him, and after initially being ruled safe, Kemp was correctly called out by the umpires.

Harang left after six innings, allowing the three runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out two. Minor also went six innings and allowed his three runs and eight hits; he did not walk a batter and struck out two.

Rivera left the game after straining a hamstring running out a single in the sixth. He is, naturally, day-to-day.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his sixth save. Guerra fell to 1-2.

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