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Dodgers come up short against Giants, 5-3

L.A. is one for 14 with runners in scoring position and drops season-opening series.

April 03, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez

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The Dodgers are only three games into a 162-game season, so it's far too early to draw any conclusions.

But there was something unsettling about how they looked while dropping two of three games in their season-opening series against the San Francisco Giants, particularly in their 5-3 defeat in the Wednesday night finale.

The Dodgers' marketing slogan this year might be "A Whole New Blue," but the team on the field is demonstrating a whole lot of the same.

BOX SCORE: Giants 5, Dodgers 3

For all the money the Dodgers spent on players over the last year, they still couldn't score. For all the optimism that was felt in their packed ballpark, they still couldn't hit with men on base.

"It's kind of frustrating," third baseman Luis Cruz said. "I don't know what's going on. We have to be a little more patient."

The Dodgers were two for 27 with men in scoring position in the series, including one for 14 in the last game. They scored in only four of the 26 innings in which they batted. Their offensive leader, Matt Kemp, remains hitless in 10 at-bats.

"It's three games," Kemp said. "I'm not panicking. This won't be the last time I have a bad series. I promise you that. This is baseball."

Their lack of production in the first two games was excusable, considering they faced two of the National League's top pitchers in Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner.

They had no such alibi Wednesday, when the ghost of two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum took the mound for the defending World Series champions.

Lincecum had a 5.18 earned-run average last season, the worst among all qualifying pitchers in the NL. He looked even worse in spring training, which he finished with a 10.57 ERA.

Lincecum wasn't particularly sharp on this night, either. He walked seven batters in five innings. He gave up three hits. But he somehow limited the Dodgers to two runs, both unearned.

The Giants' three starters didn't give up an earned run over 19 innings.

The Dodgers were down, 4-1, after a four-run third inning in which Pablo Sandoval clubbed a neck-high fastball from Josh Beckett over the right-field wall for a two-run home run. The inning included a fielding error by Skip Schumaker, who started at second base in place of the more sure-handed Mark Ellis.

However many men they stranded, they found themselves in prime position in the sixth inning, which they entered trailing, 5-2. Reliever Jose Mijares promptly loaded the bases, serving up consecutive singles to a pinch-hitting Ellis and Carl Crawford, and plunking Schumaker.

With no outs, the Dodgers had their 3-4-5 hitters due up: Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier.

But right-hander George Kontos, who gave up Clayton Kershaw's home run on opening day, got Kemp to ground into a double play. The run that scored on the sequence was the only one the Dodgers would score that inning, as Gonzalez was struck out by left-hander Javier Lopez.

An inning later, Ethier led off with a double, but Cruz and Juan Uribe fouled out to first baseman Joaquin Arias. A.J. Ellis flied out to right field to end the inning.

About the only encouraging sign for the Dodgers' offense has been Crawford, who was three for four to raise his season average to .556.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

twitter: @dylanohernandez

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