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SAN FRANCISCO 4, DODGERS 2

This defeat could hurt

Ethier leaves the game after irritating his ankle. Kershaw takes the loss.

September 14, 2013|Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier, right, speaks with Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, far left, first base coach Davey Lopes, left center, and assistant trainer Nancy Patterson after suffering an ankle injury during Friday's 4-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Dodgers center fielder Andre Ethier, right, speaks with Dodgers Manager… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Remember Matt Kemp?

You know, the former All-Star? The one who is on the disabled list for the third time this season and is rehabilitating at the Dodgers' spring-training complex in Arizona?

Kemp has become something of a forgotten man in these parts, as the Dodgers have been playing just fine without him. Now, they might need him.

On same the day Hanley Ramirez was diagnosed with an irritated nerve in his back, the Dodgers got a scare from Andre Ethier in a 4-2 defeat to the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Ethier was escorted off the field in the eighth inning Friday night after running to second base on a double.

Ethier irritated the left ankle he sprained on a recent trip to Colorado, and Manager Don Mattingly said, "It's been off and on. It got sore the other day."

Mattingly said he didn't think Ethier was seriously injured -- but he said something similar before each of the three times Kemp landed on the disabled list

Ethier didn't sound overly concerned.

"Just a little today," he said. "I didn't feel I could score from second. It just tightened up on me."

With the Arizona Diamondbacks falling to the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers' magic number to win the division title was reduced to four. Even before Ethier's removal, the night was shaping into a frustrating one for the Dodgers.

For the first time in several starts, Clayton Kershaw looked like his old self again - but still departed from the game with his team trailing.

Kershaw blanked the Giants over the first six innings, after which the Dodgers led, 2-0, on Juan Uribe's two-run home run. The visitors reversed the deficit in the seventh inning, when they collected four consecutive hits and took advantage of a fielding error to go ahead, 3-2.

The balls the Giants hit off Kershaw were fortunately placed. The leadoff single by Hunter Pence barely got past Kershaw, as well as a diving Nick Punto, who lacks the range of a traditional shortstop.

Pence's hit was followed by one by Pablo Sandoval. Joaquin Arias drove in Pence with a single to left, which was mishandled by Scott Van Slyke, and the Giants had men on second and third. Both runners scored when Brett Pill hit a ball just over the head of first baseman Michael Young.

If not for a trademark head-first slide by Punto into first base, the Dodgers might have tied the score in the bottom of the inning.

With one out and runners on first and second, Punto grounded into a forceout at second base. Giants shortstop Joaquin Arias made a low throw to first base that hit a diving Punto.

Had Punto not stopped the ball, Mark Ellis might have scored from third base.

Pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez struck out and the Dodgers still trailed, 3-2.

"The breaks didn't go our way today," said Kershaw, who fell to 14-9. "It's my fault. Against a good pitcher like [Madison] Bumgarner, you get two runs, you have to make it hold up. I made a couple mistakes, they found a couple holes."

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

Twitter: @dylanohernandez

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4

Magic number

Combination of Dodgers

wins or Arizona losses that will clinch the NL West title.

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