Kershaw Near Perfect; Dodgers Lose 7-4

Dodgers pitching put them in position to win but they couldn't close the deal and four runs in the ninth left them with a 7-4 loss. Young Clayton Kershaw held the Brewers hitless for three innings in his final start before the regular season begins Monday.

The 21-year-old allowed two walks and struck out four. He also doubled (to boost his average to .500) in the second inning and scored a run. He threw 48 pitches, 26 of them strikes.

The surprise of the spring, Ronald Belisario, struck out two in one inning and Eric Stults then tossed four strong innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits and was notified after the game he was headed for Albuquerque. Erick Threets served up a three-run homer in the ninth and got the loss.

Manager Joe Torre couldn't have planned the first inning better. Leadoff batter Rafael Furcal opened with a line-drive single to right, and Orlando Hudson followed with a second single. Manny Ramirez ran the count to 3-2 and them walked. Andre Ethier doubled for a quick 2-0 lead but Ramirez was thrown out at the plate.

Ramirez is hitting .438 and is being walked at an alarming rate even though it is spring training, perhaps giving a glimpse of what will occur during the regular season. His on-base percentage if .639 and his on-base plus slugging is a whopping 1.264. The middle third of the lineup will have many RBI opportunities this season.

The Dodgers added a third run in the second inning when Kershaw doubled and rode home on Furcal's double, his second hit of the game.

Mark Loretta singled to score Juan Pierre in the sixth and the Dodgers led 4-0 at that point.

Stults allowed a home run in the seventh and after an error by Chin-Lung Hu, allowed a double that drove in two more and cut the L.A. lead to 4-3.

Ramon Troncoso (0-1) attempted to close the win out but left with two out after giving up a pair of hits. Threet's served up an RBI single and a three-run homer to give the Brewer's their winning margin.

The Dodgers travel to San Francisco today to play the Giants at AT&T Park. Recently anointed fifth starter James McDonald, who is 2-2 with a 5.03 ERA in eight appearances, will start for the Dodgers. Regulars Ramirez, Furcal, Hudson and Russell Martin will not make the trip.

 Score by innings
Milwaukee	000 000 304-7
Los Angeles	210 001 000-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	2  1  2  1  .261
 Hu pr-ss	3  0  0  0  .250
Hudson 2b	1  1  1  0  .224
 Castro pr-2b	3  0  0  0  .379
Ramirez lf	1  0  0  0  .458
 Pierre lf-cf	3  1  2  0  .275
Ethier rf	3  0  1  2  .282
 Loretta 1b	3  0  1  1  .270
Martin c	1  0  0  0  .326
 Belisario p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Paul ph-rf	2  0  0  0  .308
Loney 1b	2  0  1  0  .276
 Stults p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Threets p	0  0  0  0  .000
Kemp cf	        3  0  0  0  .267
 DeWitt 3b	1  0  0  0  .296
Blake 3b	2  0  0  0  .232
 Repko lf	1  0  0  0  .225
Kershaw p	1  1  1  0  .500
 Ausmus ph-c	3  0  0  0  .283
-----------------------------------------
 Totals	        34 4 10 4
 Brewers	35 7  9 7

 Error- Hu (3). Two-base hits- Ethier (7), 
Kershaw (1), Furcal (4). RBI- Ethier (14), 
Furcal (5), Loretta (3). LOB- Los Angeles 
10, Milwaukee 4. DP- Hu, Castro and Loretta. 

 Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Kershaw	        3.0  0  0-0  2  4  4.55
Belisario	1.0  1  0-0  0  2  0.00
Stults	        4.0  4  3-1  1  1  9.49
Troncoso (0-2)	0.2  2  2-2  0  0  6.57
Threets	        0.1  2  2-2  0  0  9.00
 T- 3:13. Att- 30,473.

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