Lusterless Dodgers Drop Another to Braves

Jeff Bennett and Chuck James shut the Dodgers down for the second day in succession. Although those names don't resonate like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavin, the results are the same. The young two pitchers, pressed into service because of injuries to the Braves staff, limited the Dodgers to a single run in each game, winning Saturday by a score of 4-1.

After mashing the Pirates, the Dodgers showed up in Atlanta without their bats, scoring only on Andruw Jones first home run for Los Angeles in the second inning and then going quietly into the soft night.

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.

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