06/21/10 1:21 AM ET
Dodgers leave Boston without a win
Los Angeles falls to 2-7 in Interleague Play this season
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
The itinerary included a wasted weekend at Fenway Park, where a 2-0 Sunday night loss completed a Red Sox series sweep that dropped the Dodgers into third place in the National League West and left them 2-7 against the American League this year.As third baseman Casey Blake noted, the Dodgers lost the series in a variety of ways -- a blowout Friday night, a tough walk-off on Saturday and a pitchers' duel on Sunday between a tough-luck Hiroki Kuroda (6-5) and Boston's Clay Buchholz (10-4). Manny Ramirez had two more hits and went 5-for-12 in his Fenway return, but that wasn't enough.
"They did a lot of things better," said catcher Russell Martin. "The main thing is the whole lineup, top to bottom, they get quality at-bats and keep coming at you, fighting, and they capitalize on your mistakes. They pitch well. They're a tough team to beat."After an all-night flight west and a day off, the Dodgers visit Anaheim against an Angels team that swept them in Los Angeles last weekend, and Los Angeles doesn't even have three starting pitchers lined up yet. Then the Dodgers finish Interleague Play at home against Joe Torre's former team, the AL East-leading New York Yankees, before rejoining their friends in the NL West for some class relief. So far on this trip, they've lost four straight games. They've seen two starting pitchers (Chad Billingsley and Carlos Monasterios) go to the disabled list and second baseman Blake DeWitt almost joined them when he was struck behind the left knee by a Buchholz pitch and his leg went numb. X-rays were negative. And putting it all in perspective, shortstop Rafael Furcal's father died on Father's Day. The shortstop remains on bereavement leave and is expected back during the week. The only two Dodgers wins on the trip so far came in Cincinnati, pitched by Clayton Kershaw and Kuroda. Kershaw opens the Angels series on Tuesday night. Kuroda closed the one in Boston. He pitched well enough to win with just a little run support, but got none. "He was filthy," Boston manager Terry Francona said of Kuroda, who struck out nine in seven innings. The tone of the game was set in the first inning. The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in their half, but Garret Anderson struck out and Blake grounded out. Buchholz made 27 pitches that inning. "That could have been the difference between that guy having a rough outing and a good one," Blake said of the missed opportunity against Buchholz. "A hit there and it's a different story. That's what happens when you're not winning ballgames. It might change the whole complexion of the game with a hit right there." The Red Sox in their half didn't hit a ball out of the infield, but capitalized on some strange misplays to score the only run they needed while making Kuroda throw 28 pitches. With one out Dustin Pedroia was credited with an infield single when Blake mishandled his bouncer. David Ortiz was next, and the Dodgers loaded up the right side by moving Blake from third base to a modified second-base position. Pedroia stole second base, and when Martin's throw skipped past shortstop Jamey Carroll covering second, Pedroia alertly scooted to an uncovered third base bag. "You're always thinking that when David is up," Pedroia said. "They always play the shift. If the opportunity presents itself, you got to get over there with less than two outs. It actually worked out perfect." Blake gloved the throw backing up Carroll but, as the third baseman now standing behind second base, had nobody to throw to at third. "When he took off, I actually thought he thought the ball went into center field," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "I thought he had one too many Red Bulls. It was great baserunning, and we really needed it." Martin got the error, but it was Kuroda's job to cover third base and he was late getting there. "Sort of my mistake," Kuroda said. "It turned out they scored a run, so it was a crucial play of the game." Boston scored the run, after Ortiz was walked intentionally, on a check-swing single by Kevin Youkilis that rolled into the third-base bag. "They got a couple breaks and got a run," said Blake. Indeed, when the Red Sox get a break, they capitalize. By contrast, Boston committed four errors Saturday, but the Dodgers turned them into only one unearned run. "We rely on our pitching, but we can't put that kind of pressure on them," said Torre. "Even when you get a well-pitched ballgame, you're not rewarded for it. My guess is it's all about frustration and struggling. We're trying to force it a little bit." Kuroda said his back-to-back quality starts on the trip have been accomplished with the return of slider command and he said he can't get frustrated by a lack of run support. "I can't control that," he said. "I did the best I could and that's pretty much what I have to do." The Dodgers also had runners on first and second with one out in the second inning, but Matt Kemp lined into a double play with DeWitt erased at second. The Red Sox scored their other run in the third inning on singles by Marco Scutaro and Pedroia and a sacrifice fly by Ortiz.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.