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Shuffled Dodgers lineup struggles

BASEBALL : ARIZONA 5, DODGERS 1

With Kemp and others sitting out because of injuries, L.A. can't keep up.

May 16, 2012|Jim Peltz

"It's different, I know," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said of his unusual lineup Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Right fielder Andre Ethier made his first regular-season start in center field. Scott Van Slyke, in only his fourth big league game, batted third ahead of Ethier. Jerry Sands played left field on his first day up from triple-A Albuquerque.

With slugger Matt Kemp and several others on the disabled list, Mattingly had cause to be creative. But despite the shuffling, the Dodgers struggled to score against starter Wade Miley and fell to the Diamondbacks, 5-1, at Dodger Stadium.

"Today was just one of those games where we didn't get the big hit" to get back in the game, Mattingly said. "We had a couple of chances."

Chad Billingsley gave up four runs in four-plus innings, and the right-hander was forced from the game after being charged with three of those runs in the fifth inning when the Diamondbacks hit six consecutive singles.

The loss snapped the Dodgers' five-game winning streak and gave them a split of their two-game series with the Diamondbacks.

The loss also dropped Billingsley's record to 2-3, making him the only pitcher in the Dodgers' five-man rotation with a sub-.500 record.

Billingsley lasted only four innings in his previous start, May 9, when he gave up two runs and seven hits against the San Francisco Giants but had no decision in the Dodgers' 6-2 win.

Mark Ellis accounted for the Dodgers' run Tuesday night with a home run against the left-handed Miley in the sixth inning.

Billingsley's problems started in the second inning. With Jason Kubel on second base and two out, Billingsley intentionally walked Aaron Hill to get to Miley.

Miley struck out but Billingsley's third strike was a wild pitch, and Miley beat catcher A.J. Ellis' throw to safely reach first base and load the bases. Billingsley then walked Gerardo Parra to force in a run and give Arizona a 1-0 lead.

Billingsley's night really fell apart in the fifth inning when he gave up consecutive singles to Miley, Parra, Willie Bloomquist, Justin Upton and Miguel Montero.

With the bases still loaded, Mattingly brought in reliever Javy Guerra, who gave up another run-scoring single to Kubel, giving Arizona a 4-0 lead.

The damage might have been worse but Guerra got Ryan Roberts to hit into a double play and Lyle Overbay to ground into a force play.

"I thought Chad was pretty good today" Mattingly said, adding that some of the hits the pitcher gave up narrowly got through the infield. "He was just, honestly, a little bit unlucky."

Billingsley agreed, saying Arizona hit "singles that found holes, and that's part of the game. I was locating pretty well today."

Two of the Dodgers' newest arrivals had opportunities to get key hits but fell short. After Dee Gordon singled with two out in the third inning and reached third base on Mark Ellis' single, Van Slyke grounded into a force play.

In the sixth inning, after Mark Ellis' home run, Ethier and A.J. Ellis followed with singles. But Sands flied out to end that threat.

Arizona added a run in the seventh inning against reliever Jamey Wright when Montero tagged and scored from third base on Overbay's sacrifice fly.

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james.peltz@latimes.com

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BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX

Blue is red hot

Best records in baseball dating to Aug. 1, 2011.

*--* DODGERS 58-32 644 Texas 58-32 644 Tampa Bay 57-34 626 Detroit 56-34 622 St. Louis 54-36 600 Milwaukee 52-37 584 N.Y. Yankees 53-39 576 Washington 51-39 567 Philadelphia 52-40 566 *--*

Note: Angels are 43-47, .478, in that time frame.

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