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Dodgers fall to Reds, 4-3, in 10 innings

Dodgers lose for the third game in a row, their longest skid since early June, against the kinds of teams they could face in the postseason.

September 07, 2013|By Kevin Baxter

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CINCINNATI — The race is nearly over for the Dodgers.

With 21 games to play, they have the second-largest division lead in the majors. They can clinch a playoff berth by next weekend. The finish line is in sight.

The question now is, will the Dodgers sprint through the tape or limp across it?

They were clearly limping Saturday, when a costly baserunning error by Carl Crawford in the fourth inning and shaky relief outings by Paco Rodriguez and Brian Wilson gave the Cincinnati Reds a 4-3 victory in 10 innings and extended the Dodgers' losing streak to three games, their longest since early June.

BOX SCORE: Cincinnati 4, Dodgers 3 (10 innings)

But the fact that the Dodgers are losing isn't nearly as troubling as how they're losing. In the last two games, their once-impenetrable bullpen gave up leads and the timely hitting that carried the team through July and August has disappeared.

"We just really haven't done enough to win," Manager Don Mattingly said. "We really haven't done anything wrong. We just haven't done enough to win.

"For probably a month and a half there, we got every big out we needed. This is going to happen sometimes to us. We had some chances. We just didn't get hits when we needed them. That was pretty much the story."

A story that may not have a happy ending for the Dodgers given that the tight, well-pitched games they've lost the last two days are the kind they'll have to win in the postseason.

"When the pitching's good like that you've got to get what you can," Crawford said. "And these two games are real similar to what the playoffs will probably be like."

Which means Crawford probably can't do in October what he did Saturday when, with the Dodgers up, 3-2, and pitcher Zack Greinke on second base and Crawford on first, Adrian Gonzalez singled with two out.

Right fielder Jay Bruce got to the ball quickly and came up throwing, so the Dodgers held Greinke at third base. Problem was Crawford, running with his head down, was headed to the same base. So Greinke broke again for home, where he was an easy out.

Rather than having the bases loaded and their best hitter, Hanley Ramirez, at the plate, the Dodgers retrieved their gloves and headed for the field instead.

"I kind of need to score in that spot," said Greinke, who gave up two runs in six innings, striking out nine, yet failed to win for the first time in seven starts. "If we wanted to score, our best chance was for me to be faster."

Or maybe pitch longer. Because three batters after Greinke left, Rodriguez gave up his lead on a single to Shin-Soo Choo and Cesar Izturis' run-scoring double into the left-field corner.

The Dodgers, who managed only one hit after the fifth inning, then lost it in the 10th. Wilson opened the inning by walking Ryan Ludwick and Ludwick gave way to pinch-runner Billy Hamilton, who promptly stole second.

Todd Frazier followed by grounding a single into right field to drive in the speedy Hamilton, dropping the Dodgers to 1-4 in their last five games against teams with winning records, exactly the kinds of the teams they'll face in the postseason.

"It was a tough game," Greinke said. "Like you would expect in the playoffs."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Twitter: @kbaxter11

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