Dodgers Lose Third in a Row

The good news is, Los Angeles out-hit St. Louis 9-8. The bad news is they lost 10-0, with infielder Mark Loretta pitching the final inning. The slump that his shown itself just now and again has come to dinner and don't show signs of leaving.

Chad Billingsley matched Adam Wainwright pitch for pitch through five innings but not only did his wheels fall off in the sixth, so did the radiator, the driver's door and both bumpers. When the smoke cleared, the Dodgers trailed 6-0 and can now hear the footsteps of the approaching Giants who pulled to within six games.

Billingsley actually had a one-hitter through five innings in a game that was delayed 1 hour, 25 minutes before the start due to the forecast of heavy rain that never showed up, sort of like the Dodgers offense.

That makes the tally one run on 20 hits over the first two games of a four-game series and the club fell to 2-10 at 4-year-old Busch Stadium. This game the Dodgers were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. Over the two games in Missouri, the dodgers have collected 20 hits and 26 baserunners while scoring only a single run and that on a sacrifice fly by Rafael Furcal in the opener.

Billingsley, now 10-6, allowed only four hits but walked six, two of them intentionally.

Mark Loretta, the only "pitcher" manager Joe Torre used during the night that didn't allow a run, called it a "strange" game, and o one can disagree with that diagnosis. The Dodgers out-hit the Cardinals 9-8, held the best hitter in the National League, Albert Pujols, to only a harmless single in nine at-bats over the first two games, were outscored 10-0 in this game and 16-1 in the series.

Los Angeles still has the best record in baseball, but they also have their first three-game losing streak with 62 games left in the season. The rotation is struggling, there bullpen seems about worn out, the offense isn't hitting in the clutch and they've hit a Cardinals team at completely the wrong time.

Billingsley took a one-hitter (he allowed a single in the fourth) into the sixth inning. Then he faced nine batters and was charged with six runs for the second time in his past three starts. He issued a walk, got the first out on a fielder's choice, walked Pujols, tossed a wild pitch and intentionally walked Matt Holliday.

Ryan Ludwig smacked a two-run single but Billingsley got out number two on a ground ball to James Loney at first. Then the inning went single wild pitch, walk, single and suddenly Billingsley was in the dugout and Claudio Vargas was pitching. He gave up an RBI single before finally getting he last out.

"Everything was going well," Billingsley said. "Just that sixth inning, I couldn't stop the bleeding."

"He's by far one of the best right-handers in the game," Ludwick said. "But that's kind of how our lineup stacks up. At any time you can see a breakout inning."

Reliever Brent Leach continued to have trouble getting outs. He was unable to retire any of the four batters he faced and allowed a three-run homer to Mark DeRosa. Of the last 15 batters Leach has faced, 10 have reached base.

Loretta volunteered to pitch when he saw setup man Ramon Troncoso warming up to enter a game the Dodgers had no chance to win. It was his first Major League mound appearance in eight years and he hit Holliday with a pitch and got the final out on a long shot to deep left field.

"To me, 1-0 or 10-0, sometimes this is a little easier to take than 1-0, where you could have done this and could have done that," Torre said after the game. "A loss is a loss. You don't like to get beat around. It happens. To have gone this long losing only two in a row is pretty unusual.

The Dodgers are counting on a quote from Isaiah 11 that reads, "And a little child shall lead them" when they send twenty-one year old LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.96 ERA) to the mound tonight in St. Louis. Kershaw, 21, hasn't lost since June 10.

The surging Cardinals counter with RHP Joel Pineiro (9-9, 2.95 ERA) has won straight and has been the Cardinals' most consistent starter but has been plagued by poor run support. In eight home starts, Pineiro is 4-4 but has a 2.40 ERA.

  Score by Inning
Los Angeles	000 000 000- 0
St. Louis	000 006 04x-10

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  2  0  .266
Hudson 2b	4  0  0  0  .292
Ramirez lf	3  0  0  0  .325
Ethier rf	4  0  1  0  .271
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .271
Loney 1b	4  0  2  0  .287
Martin c	3  0  2  0  .266
 Pierre ph	1  0  1  0  .314
Kemp cf	        4  0  1  0  .313
Billingsley p	3  0  0  0  .205
 Vargas p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Leach p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Loretta p	1  0  0  0  .229
---------------------------------
  Totals  	35  0  9  0  
  St. Louis	31 10  8 10

  2b- Ethier (23), Loney (19). LOB- Los
Angeles 9, St. Louis 7. SB- Furcal (6).
DP- Furcal, Hudson and Loney
	  
  Los Angeles	    in  h r-er bb so  era 
Billingsley (10-6) 5.2  4  6-6  6  5  3.96
Vargas 	           2.0  2  1-1  1  4  1.64
Leach	           0.0  2  3-3  2  0  5.75
Loretta	           0.1  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
  WP- Billingsley 2, Leach. HBP- by Loretta. 
T- 2:54 (1:25 delay). Att- 40,105 
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers, in suffering their first three-game losing streak of the season, set a modern-day franchise record by going 99 games into a season without one. The previous best was the 1965 club, which lost three straight in games 72-74. The Major League record is held by the 2001 Mariners, who lost games 147-149. ...Since 2004, the Dodgers are 3-16 in St. Louis. ...Andre Ethier doubled doubled in the third and is batting .500 (17 for 34) during a nine-game hitting streak. ...Jason Schmidt (1-1, 7.88 ERA) threw a bullpen, but manager Joe Torre hasn't yet decided whether he'd stay in the rotation.

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