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WSH@LAD: Kemp, Rivera come home on error in fourth

LOS ANGELES -- If Hiroki Kuroda were pitching for a team with a better offense, it's likely his 3.19 ERA would have given him more than the 6-12 record he has to show for his solid performance this year.

The subject of many trade rumors recently, Kuroda may still get that chance to pitch elsewhere with the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching. But a potential trade is something he said wasn't on his mind before Los Angeles' 7-2 loss to the Nationals on Friday at Dodger Stadium, in which he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs.

"I was preparing myself for today's game, and now that today's game is over I'm going to relax a little bit," said Kuroda, who would have to OK any trade because of his full no-trade clause. "I might do some thinking later, but not at this moment. I haven't really given it a thought."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly used one word to describe Kuroda before the game: consistent. Kuroda proved his manager right, tossing his sixth quality start in his last seven outings.

But the Dodgers' offense has been equally consistent in its struggles with Kuroda on the mound. On Friday, they mustered just three hits and went 0-for-5 with men in scoring position after an 0-for-13 performance in their last game.

Kuroda said he tries to stay away from trade speculation, but before the game Mattingly said he was certain Kuroda is aware of everything being discussed about his trade prospects.

Kuroda has said he would prefer to stay in Los Angeles. But at the same time, he hasn't completely shut down the notion that he won't waive his no-trade clause, leaving the door open for speculation.

Instead, during his interviews Kuroda focuses solely on his performance on the mound. He did that again Friday.

"I have to really concentrate on the game that I pitch," Kuroda said through a translator when asked about how he deals with the distractions.

The game he pitched was shaky early, but he found a groove after a rough first two innings.

With two outs in the second inning, Kuroda was a strike away from ending the frame against Nationals pitcher John Lannan. But he hung a two-strike slider that Lannan crushed for a two-run homer over the right-field fence, putting the Dodgers in a three-run hole.

It marked the second time in the last five games Dodgers pitchers have been victimized by a pitcher. On Sunday, it was Arizona's Daniel Hudson, who had a homer and three RBIs. Lannan -- a .057 hitter entering the game -- had two hits off Kuroda, including the first homer of his career.

Even Lannan said he was shocked it went out.

"I just got a pitch to hit," Lannan said. "I wasn't trying to hit a home run. I was trying to put the bat on the ball and it went out. It's kind of a blur right now."

The Dodgers scored two runs in the fourth when Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond misplayed a short hop on a ground ball that got through to center field. His error allowed the only two runs the Dodgers would score.

Desmond committed another error later in the frame, juggling an easy double-play ball, but, as they have done so often this season, the Dodgers left runners stranded in scoring position. The only runs the Dodgers have scored in their last two games came on the error and a solo home run Wednesday.

"We've gotta put some numbers on the board," Mattingly said. "We had the one inning there, but we just really didn't mount a whole lot of charges after that. The main thing we have to do [as a team] is throw some numbers up there."

Mattingly said the frustration is felt by not just Kuroda, but the entire pitching staff.

"It's just general frustration with the way we've pitched," Mattingly said. "We've pitched pretty well. We've talked about it numerous times -- we keep ourselves in games for the most part all the time."

The Dodgers were in the game until the ninth inning, when Jerry Hairston crushed a grand slam into the left-field pavilion. The way the Dodgers' bats have been slumping, that sealed Kuroda's 12th loss of the year.

Earlier in the week, Kuroda met with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, who said he'd inform Kuroda if another team calls with interest in the righty.

Mattingly said dealing with the annual July trade speculation usually doesn't affect the club's overall focus, but for the players being discussed, it can take its toll.

"For the whole club I think it's not so bad," Mattingly said. "For those individual guys I think it's a little bit distracting. You have your family and what happens if you get uprooted in the middle of the season?" Comments