They put a man on base in every inning, the leadoff man in six of them, but hit into three double plays and three force plays, leaving only five on base.
Chad Billingsley will agree with Thomas Stearns Eliot who wrote, "April is the cruelest month." The young right-hander, now 0-3, blew through the Braves lineup for four innings and after striking out the first batter in the fifth had allowed two hits and had struck out nine.
But suddenly it was gone. He allowed a walk, hit; walk, hit, walk, hit and the Braves had four runs and the game was over. He used 35 pitches in the inning and needed Matt Kemp's throw to the plate to nail the third out or he might still be out there.
Why didn't Joe Torre pull him earlier in the inning? Perhaps he didn't have anyone warmed up since Billingsley was showing no sign of problems. He had thrown only 64 pitches going into the inning.
Chuck James was recalled from Triple-A Richmond after Tom Glavin went on the disabled list for the first time in his 22-year career. He caught a 6 a.m. flight from Richmond and landed about eight hours before his first pitch. The thin lefty allowed four hits, walked one and struck out two before giving way to the Braves bullpen.
The Dodgers would have rather faced Glavin.
So two nights in a row Atlanta inserted a youngster into the starting rotation and, with the help of a solid effort from their bullpen, stopped the Dodgers dead in the water.
Andruw Jones, down in the count 0-2 at one point, slugged a mammoth home run into the left-field seats in the second inning for his first homer in Dodger Blue and the club's only offense.
The rest of the game the frustration seemed to mount as the innings went along. L.A. put the leadoff man on base in the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth innings without any of them scoring.
Billingsley matched his career-high with nine strikeouts before the roof fell in on him in the fourth.
Kelly Johnson walked, Yunel Escobar singled to left and Chipper Jones walked to load the bases. Mark Teixeira lined a single to left, driving in two runs to put the Braves ahead. Brian McCann walked to load the bases again, and Jeff Francoeur made it 3-1 with an RBI groundout.
And the band played on.
Mark Kotsay knocked in the fourth run with a single to right and Matt Kemp nailed slow-running McCann at the play by such a wide margin he didn't even slide.
So far, James Loney and Nomar Garciaparra are 0-for-Atlanta. Kemp is 1-for-7, Andre Ethier 1-for-8, Martin (who didn't start and was angry abot it) is 0-for-4.
Arizona is disappearing in the distance, now holding a 12-4 record. L.A. slid to 7-10 (six back in the loss column) and are but a half game in front of the last-place Giants.
Today the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda faces a pitcher by the name of Jair Jurrjens and one can only fear the worst.
Score by innings Los Angeles 010 000 000-1 Atlanta 000 050 00x-4 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 4 0 2 0 .409 Ethier lf 4 0 1 0 .283 Kemp rf 4 0 1 0 .286 Kent 2b 4 0 1 0 .281 Loney 1b 4 0 0 0 .317 Garciaparra 3b 4 0 0 0 .100 Jones cf 1 1 1 1 .182 Bennett c 2 0 0 0 .000 Pierre ph 1 0 0 0 .294 Martin c 0 0 0 0 .193 Billngsley p 1 0 1 0 .333 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Loaiza p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 30 1 7 1 Atlanta 32 4 8 4 Error- Garciaparra (2). 2b hits- Kemp (1). HR- Jones (1). RBI- Jones (3). S- Billingsley. LOB- Los Angeles 5, Atlanta 9. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Billingsley (0-3) 5.0 6 4-4 5 9 6.14 Beimel 1.0 1 0-0 0 1 1.35 Loaiza 2.0 1 0-0 0 0 3.95 T- 2:40. Att- 40,451.Dodger Blue Notes-- The Braves have allowed only two runs in their last three games. ... Andruw Jones got a standing ovation from the Turner Field crowd after homering. He waved back on his way to the visiting dugout.