Manager Joe Torre thought Milton had "some emotions involved. He hasn't pitched in a couple of years in the big leagues," said Torre. "It's not fair to judge on just one outing."
The game was played amongst a flurry of silver pompon strands that blew out of the stands and onto the field, probably the last pompon day promotion of its kind.
"Who wants to be playing baseball when there are streamers everywhere?" Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla said. "It wasn't funny. It was brutal. When was the last time you've seen that at a baseball game? I understand having a pompom giveaway, but you need to get the kind of pompoms that don't fall apart."
The majority of the strands were launched by kids from the left-field corner behind the Dodgers' bullpen, where a 20-mph wind carried the litter onto the field and kept the grounds crew busy between innings picking up the mess.
The glitter didn't bother the Dodgers as much as did the Florida pitching staff, led by Andrew Miller who was activated from the disabled list before the game. He allowed four hits and four walks and left after five with a 4-2 lead.
Milton out-pitched him, allowing two hits and four walks but spending 84 pitches. When he left the game was tied 2-2 but the Marlins promptly untied it with a home run off Jeff Weaver (2-1) who surrendered a two run home run to John Baker that gave Florida a lead the Dodgers couldn't overcome.
Juan Pierre continued to try to make the club forget about suspended Manny Ramirez, whacking a triple and two singles and stealing a pair of bases, running his total to seven. Andrew Ethier (#2) and Russ Martin (#5) also collected steals. Pierre pushed his average to .406.
The Dodgers got back into their scoring in the first inning mode, using Pierre's single, a stolen base and Orlando Hudson's sac fly to craft a 1-0 lead. Ethier and Martin also walked but were left on base as the Dodgers stranded eight, four in scoring position.
Milton surrendered a first-inning single and then got into trouble in the second when with two outs he issued a walk before former Dodger Cody Ross, who has become a thorn in his old team's side, doubled to tie the game.
Furcal tripled in the third and Rafael Furcal bounced out to second to score him for a 2-1 L.A. lead. Milton retired the first two batters in the third, then his control deserted him. A walk, a hit batsman and two more walks forced in a run.
Milton ran out of pitches after four innings and Weaver took over and got himself into immediate trouble, again with two out. If fact it looked like he had retired the side in order, thinking he had struck out Jorge Cantu with a sharp slider and taking a step or two toward the dugout before realizing the umpire hadn't agreed with him.
Cantu singled, and catcher John Baker slugged a two-run homer and the Dodgers were down 4-2 and were never able to come back.
Pierre picked up his third hit in the seventh, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball. Hudson's fly ball allowed him to score to cut the lead to 4-3 but with Ronald Belisario on the mound in the eighth inning an error by Furcal resulted in a pair of unearned runs to end the scoring.
Four Florida relievers allowed three hits and no runs in the final four innings and Los Angeles slid to 4-5 since Ramirez was issued a 50-game suspension despite the fact that Pierre is batting .447 since taking over.
Clayton Kershaw will be looking for his first road win of the season this afternoon in the final game of a six-game road trip.
His home and away starts are in marked contrast. In three starts at Dodger Stadium this year, Clayton Kershaw has a 0.95 ERA. But in four road starts this year, Kershaw has a 9.47 ERA. On the road, he has 14 walks in 19 innings with a .310 opponents' batting average. At home, he's allowed six walks in 19 innings with a .141 opponents' batting average.
Kershaw can't find any logical explanation.
"Right now," he told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, "I call it a coincidence. When I haven't pitched well, I haven't pitched well. It's not because of being on the road. I don't think that has any effect."
"It's about just throwing strikes," he said. "I don't think there's any big adjustment, I just have to be more consistent and I've just got to do it now." Torre agrees that Kershaw's statistical differential is "just coincidental." "Clayton is still a youngster and he's still getting himself accustomed to what's going to work for him on a regular basis," said Torre.
He will be opposed by LHP John Koronka (0-1, 9.64 ERA) who allowed five earned runs in 4.2 innings, with seven hits and three walks in his previous start.
Score by innings Los Angeles 101 000 100-3 Florida 011 020 02x-6 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Pierre lf 5 3 3 0 .406 Furcal ss 5 0 0 1 .233 Hudson 2b 2 0 1 2 .346 Ethier rf 3 0 1 0 .273 Martin c 2 0 1 0 .281 Loney 1b 4 0 0 0 .275 Kemp rf 3 0 1 0 .295 Blake 3b 3 0 0 0 .276 Milton p 1 0 0 0 .000 Weaver p 0 0 0 0 .000 Paul ph 1 0 0 0 .500 Leach p 0 0 0 0 .000 Belisario p 0 0 0 0 .000 Ohman p 0 0 0 0 .500 Loretta ph 1 0 0 0 .333 ----------------------------------- Totals 30 3 7 3 Florida 33 6 8 6 Error- Furcal (6). 3b hits- Pierre (1). S- Milton. SF- Hudson 2. RBI Hudson 2 (3), Furcal (9). SB- Pierre 2 (7), Ethier (2), Martin (5). CS- Kemp (2). LOB- Los Angeles 8, Florida 8. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Milton 4.0 2 2-2 4 3 4.50 Weaver (2-1) 1.0 4 2-2 0 0 3.38 Leach 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 8.10 Belisario 1.2 2 2-0 0 1 2.78 Ohman 0.1 0 0-0 0 0 5.56 HBP- by Milton. T- 3:17. Att- 25,132.Stults Suffered Jammed Thumb
Left-hander Eric Stults jammed his pitching thumb on a diving defensive play Friday night and may miss his next start. Stults said the thumb is sore and swollen and he will probably postpone his Sunday bullpen session.
Stults was injured in the fifth inning Friday night making a play on a push bunt by Emilio Bonifacio down the first-base line. Stults scooped up the ball and flipped it to first baseman James Loney but his momentum took him into a head-first dive and he broke his fall with his pitching hand. The Dodgers are 6-1 in games he has started.
"I didn't even realize it at the time," said Stults, who allowed a walk and a double to the next two hitters before ending the inning and coming out of the game for a pinch-hitter. "It's still a little sore. I probably won't throw tomorrow."
Dodger Blue Notes Torre said he expects to again give several veterans Sunday's day game off following Saturday's night game. Catcher Russell Martin and shortstop Rafael Furcal will rest with Brad Ausmus and Juan Castro starting. Torre said he was undecided about whether to sit third baseman Casey Blake. ...Torre said his "guess" was that Milton would be skipped on the next cycle through the rotation, although Stults' injury could change the decision. ...Matt Kemp singled in the fourth to improve to 5 for 5 lifetime against Miller. ...Martin's steal of third base on Saturday was his 54th career steal, ranking third in franchise history among catchers. He's one shy of Lew Ritter and only six behind all-time leader John Roseboro. ... Orlando Hudson has two sacrifice flies and 23 RBIs, on pace to finish the season with 98. His career high is 67 in 2006.