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Shoddy defense sinks Dodgers

Errors undermine starter Stephen Fife, who now might be odd man out with Ricky Nolasco's acquisition, in 4-2 loss to Giants.

July 06, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez

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Hanley Ramirez said the defense, rather than Stephen Fife, was responsible for the Dodgers' 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday at AT&T Park.

"I let him down a little bit today," said Ramirez, who made one of the Dodgers' three errors.

Whatever the case, Fife could be out of the rotation soon, as the Dodgers acquired Ricky Nolasco from the Miami Marlins.

In exchange for Nolasco and $197,000 worth of cap space they can use to sign international amateur players, the Dodgers sent the Marlins three pitching prospects: triple-A relievers Josh Wall and Steven Ames, and Class-A starter Angel Sanchez.

"We felt that we needed to add a starter at this point in the season," General Manager Ned Colletti said.

That's because of the perceived lack of stability behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Although Fife had the team's best earned-run average in June, he has made only 13 career starts. Chris Capuano has been wildly inconsistent. Ted Lilly is on the disabled list again.

A key to the deal was the Dodgers' capability to pay what remains of Nolasco's $11.5-million salary. This was a classic salary dump for the Marlins.

Nolasco, 30, will be a free agent at the end of the season. He was 5-8 with a 3.85 earned-run average in 18 starts with the Marlins. Nolasco is the Marlins' all-time leader in wins (81) and innings pitched (1,2252/3).

Ramirez, a longtime teammate of Nolasco in Miami, applauded the move.

"Good guy," Ramirez said. "Gamer. Competitor."

Nolasco was born in Corona and attended Rialto High.

"Going to play for the Dodgers, the team that I have always rooted for, is a dream come true," Nolasco said in a statement released by the agency that represents him.

Colletti said he didn't know when Nolasco would make his first appearance for the Dodgers or whose place in the rotation he would take.

Fife is a candidate to be replaced by Nolasco, not only because of his lack of experience, but also because he can be sent to the minors without the risk of losing him on waivers.

"I feel like I've put my best foot forward," said Fife, who won his two previous starts. "Hopefully, that's good enough."

On Saturday, he was undermined by his defense in a game that started bizarrely. Fife appeared to give up a run-scoring double to Buster Posey in the first inning, but the run was erased when Manager Don Mattingly informed plate umpire Tony Randazzo that the lineup card he received from the Giants showed Posey had batted out of order. Pablo Sandoval, who was the No. 3 hitter on that card, was ruled out. Posey hit again with a man on third, this time with two outs, and flied out to right field.

However, the Giants took advantage of an errant throw by Nick Punto in the second inning and scored three runs to take a 3-0 lead. Ramirez made an error in the fourth inning that led to another run and the Giants were ahead, 4-0.

The Dodgers broke up Madison Bumgarner's perfect game and cut their deficit in half in the fifth inning when Andre Ethier singled and Tim Federowicz hit a home run.

Ramirez extended his hitting streak to a career-long 17 games with a seventh-inning triple. Yasiel Puig struck out four times in four at-bats.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

twitter.com/dylanohernandez

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