Dodgers Run Over by a Cycle

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The bad news is that the Washington Nationals crushed the Dodgers 11-2 and swept the three-game series, driving Los Angeles four games behind Arizona in the lost column. The good news is ... well there isn't any good news.

Manny Ramirez slugged a home run in the first inning with Andre Ethier on base with a single for a 2-0 lead, then Clayton Kershaw was tagged for five in the bottom of the inning and the game was all over except for the celebrating Nationals who have the worst record in baseball.

When we told you things couldn't get worse, we were wrong.

Christian Guzman, a 30-year-old who has a career average of .267 with 50 home runs over 10 seasons, homered in the first, was thrown out attempting to stretch a single into a double in the second, doubled in the sixth and then tripled in the eighth inning to record only the second cycle performance in Washington/Montreal history.

Los Angeles has lost nine of its last 10 and is averaging less than two runs a game during this losing streak. They scored more than two runs just once on the seven-day roadtrip after leaving Los Angeles tied for first in the N.L. West.

It is their ninth consecutive road loss, the most since dropping 11 in a row in June 1992 when they finished in last place. The Nationals earned their first series sweep of Los Angeles since they were the Montreal Expos' Aug. 4-6, 1998.

"That [triple] was the crowning blow," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "We have to go out there and win a ball game to start making us feel good. Right now it doesn't feel too good."

John Lanham (8-12) went six innings to pick up the win. Kershaw (2-5) allowed five runs and five hits and issued three walks in 2.1 innings, all the runs coming in a span of five at-bats in the first inning, with a three-run home run and a solo shot doing most of the damage.

Jason Johnson only threw two-thirds of an inning, leaving for a pinch-hit hitter with two runners on in the bottom of the fourth. He was the only Dodger pitcher to escape the game unscored upon.

Ramon Troncoso came on in the fourth and threw three innings to keep the bullpen from being burned up heading into this weekend's showdown at Arizona. Cory Wade surrendered a home run in his debut after leaving the disabled list and Joe Beimel allowed Guzman's triple.

With Arizona taking a day off, Los Angeles is now trailing by 3 1/2 games, four in the loss column, in the NL West and with the DBacks having nearly as much trouble as the Dodgers, the three game series could go a long way toward making or breaking one of the teams.

The Dodgers will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound hoping he can continue his great August. He's had a 3-1 record and a 2.10 ERA while yielding just one run in four of his five starts. Kuroda has worked 16 quality starts, tied with Chad Billingsley and Derek Lowe for the team lead, but has only seven wins.

The Diamondbacks will start LHP Doug Davis (5-8, 4.63 ERA) or RHP Dan Haren (14-6, 3.10).?

The rest of the tentative matchups:
Today RHP Hiroki Kuroda (7-9, 3.87) vs. LHP Doug Davis (5-8, 4.63)
Saturday RHP Chad Billingsley (12-10, 3.15) vs. RHP Dan Haren (14-6, 3.10)
Sunday RHP Derek Lowe (10-11, 3.81) vs. RHP Brandon Webb (19-5, 2.96).

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	200 000 000- 2
Washington	500 021 12x-11

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Kemp cf	        4  0  0  0  .290
Ethier rf	3  1  1  0  .278
Ramirez lf	4  1  1  2  .375
Kent 2b	        3  0  0  0  .277
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
Loney 1b	3  0  1  0  .300
Blake 3b	4  0  1  0  .265
Ardoin c	4  0  1  0  .237
Berroa ss	3  0  0  0  .215
Kershaw p	1  0  0  0  .048
 Johnson p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .141
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph	1  0  0  0  .276
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 DeWitt 2b	1  0  0  0  .256
  Totals	32  2  5  2
  Washington	35 11 13 11

 Two-base hits- Blake (10). HR- Ramirez (7).
RBI- Ramirez 2 (23). LOB- Los Angeles 7,
Washington 6. DP- Berroa, Kent and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kershaw (2-5)	2.1  5  5-5  3  2  4.56
Johnson	        0.2  0  0-0  0  0  .444
Troncoso	3.0  5  3-3  1  3  4.36
Wade	        1.0  1  1-1  0  0  2.68
Beimel	        1.0  2  2-2  1  1  2.37
 HBP- Loney; by Troncoso. T- 2:55. Att- 25.338
Dodger Blue Notes
If the Dodgers were interested Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, their chances to obtain him evaporated when the Rockies put him on the bereavement list, thus canceling his waiver eligibility. The Rockies can reinstate Fuentes no sooner than Friday. Any player acquired after Sunday is not eligible for postseason play. ...Torre was pleased with Jonathan Broxton's three strikeouts in the second game of the series after his blown save. "That was great," Torre said. "He just seemed like he wasn't trying to throw it 100 miles per hour. He seemed to be smoother." ...James Loney is the only Dodger to be even warm. He's hit in eight straight, going 14-for-31 (.452) to boost his batting average to a team-high .300. He also leads the club with 72 RBIs. ...Leadoff hitter Matt Kemp went 0-for-14 in the series against the Nationals. ...Los Angeles had won 11 of 12 against Washington before this week's sweep. ...Blake DeWitt entered Thursday's game as a defensive replacement for second baseman Jeff Kent, his first action since being called up from Las Vegas. ... Brad Penny (right shoulder inflammation) and Jason Schmidt (shoulder surgery) both saw Dr. Neal ElAttrache this week. Penny played catch on flat ground on for the first time since his Aug. 13 start, and Schmidt will pitch in a rehab game for Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday. ...Shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is rehabilitating his surgically repaired lower back in Phoenix, is expected to work out with the club during a three-game series at Arizona starting on Friday. ...Las Vegas pitching coach Jim Slaton will be added to the Dodgers' coaching staff after the Pacific Coast League season concludes on Monday. ...The Red Sox designated former Dodgers infielder Joe Thurston for assignment. ...Rick Monday led a group Dodgers to the White House on Thursday that included Chad Billingsley and Andre Ethier.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories