Dodgers Miss Bid For Four Consecutive Wins

On the Dodgers' fourth chance to win four games in a row, they were doomed by giving up four home runs. They will take a winning series, two of three games from the Tigers, despite a tough 7-5 loss on Wednesday. After a day off Thursday, they will meet Mike Scioscia's California angels.

Still, the Dodgers realize if they're going to make a serious run to get back into the National League West race, they need to put together a lengthy winning streak.

If Tigers manager Jim Leyland hadn't double-switched to put Austin Jackson into center field for the ninth, the Dodgers might finally have achieved that elusive four-game winning streak.

With two out and the bases loaded, Dioner Navarro crushed a ball to straightaway center that had the potential to score three runs and win the game.

Off the bat, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly thought for sure the ball was over Jackson's head. So did the man who hit it.

"I thought it was going to go over his head, for sure," Navarro said. "I saw it on the replay, and he got a great jump on it. He's extremely fast, and he got to that ball like nothing."

The game illustrated another truism for the Dodgers: everything must go right for them to win, or win several games in a row.

Earlier in the game, a Navarro mistake might have prevented a bigger inning. The Dodgers began the fourth with two singles sandwiched around a walk, scoring one run to trim the Tigers lead to 5-3. Navarro then laid down a sacrifice bunt.

It wasn't by design. Mattingly double-checked with third base coach Tim Wallach to make sure he didn't accidentally give the bunt sign. He didn't. Navarro either missed the sign, or bunted on his own.

Yes, the runners advanced, but it gave wobbling Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello a needed out. Jamey Carroll followed with a fly ball to right, and Magglio Ordonez threw out James Loney at home to end the inning. An inning later, Navarro struck out with the bases loaded, after the Dodgers had scratched for two runs to trim the lead to 6-5. The Tigers fourth home run, a pinch blow by Don Kelly, made it 7-5. The Dodgers would strand two more runners in the eighth, and the three in the ninth.

The Dodgers are back to eight games under .500, off on Thursday, and must re-try its march back to the break-even mark against the Angels over the weekend.

NOTES, QUOTES
--CF Matt Kemp reached base all five times on three hits and two walks, while scoring two runs, driving in one and collecting his 21st stolen base of the season in Wednesday's game. Matt Kemp posted his eighth game this season with three or more hits and reached in all five of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI triple. Kemp also stole a base for the fourth consecutive game, which tied a season-long streak from April 8-11. It was Kemp's seventh steal of the homestand and 21st of the season.

--James Loney went 3-for-4 with two RBI for his fifth game of the season with three or more hits. Loney has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games with a .426 batting average (20-for-47) and three doubles, a homer and eight RBI since June 9.

--RHP Kenley Jansen continues to put up ridiculous strikeouts numbers. He recorded four strikeouts, out of the five outs he obtained, in Wednesday's game. Jansen has struck out 40 in 23 2/3 innings, an amazing 15.2 strikeouts per nine innings.

--3B Casey Blake hasn't started in three straight games, and nine of the last 11, because of a pinched nerve in his neck. He was used as a pinch hitter in the ninth with the bases loaded, and struck out for the second out. He's been available to pinch hit each game and can play the field, but the Dodgers are hoping to avoid starting him, hoping to get him back to 100 percent without having to use the disabled list.

--INF Aaron Miles went 1-for-5, a rare off-day in interleague play. Miles came into Wednesday's game with a .359 average that was second-best ever in interleague, behind the .363 of Dustin Pedroia and ahead of Albert Pujols' .348. He's down to .356 against the other league.

--Tony Gwynn Jr. stroked a pinch-hit single and scored in the fifth inning, which raised his batting average to .375 (6-for-16) as a pinch-hitter this season.

--LHP Clayton Kershaw will have three more starts before the All-Star break, and the next two are likely against Jaren Weaver, the Angels' ace and probable All-Star. Kershaw would have three days rest for a possible appearance at the All-Star Game on July 12 in Arizona.

BY THE NUMBERS: 273
-- Career home runs allowed by Ted Lilly, including three on Wednesday. That ranks sixth among active pitchers. The leader is Tim Wakefield (403), followed by Javier Vazquez (364), Livan Hernandez (340), Jeff Suppan (333), Kevin Millwood (274) and Lilly.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"It's hard to just bring a guy back ... and just throw him into that ninth-inning spot. I think we try to get him into some games, get him comfortable on the mound, see where he's at and get him there." -- Manager Don Mattingly, on the role for Jonathan Broxton when he returns from the disabled list. Broxton hit 94-97 MPH in his first rehab outing Tuesday, and his next outing is scheduled for Thursday.  

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