Rally in Ninth Comes Up Just Short

The ninth inning played out perfectly, or so it seemed. The Dodgers trailed 6-1 before ramming four runs across, loading the bases with two out and Manny Ramirez at the plate. But over the last 10 games some of the magic has gone out of the Dodgers, Ramirez flew gently to right field and Milwaukee came out of it with a 6-5 win.

Ramirez, who's locked in a 7-for-42 slump (.167), went 1 for 5 with a first-inning double, and hasn't driven in a run since his pinch-hit grand slam against Cincinnati on July 22.

Young Clayton Kershaw (8-6), who came into the game with an 0.79 earned run average and without a loss since June 10, retired the Brewers without a hit over the first three innings before hitting a wild streak in the fourth, walking four straight and two with the bases loaded.

Then it seemed he had found the plate but apparently it was the middle of it and the Brewers knocked him out in the fifth inning. He finished with six walks and Jeff Weaver allowed a tdhree-run homer by Ryan Braun, diggng a hole just a bit too deep for the Dodgers to crawl out of.

"If I hadn't pitched the way I did, we probably could have won the game with the comeback we had," Kershaw said. "I just couldn't really find a rhythm with my mechanics, and I didn't really feel comfortable. You can't have that happen for a whole inning. Walks are aggravating."

Manny Parra (6-8) held the Dodges to eight hits and four runs while improving to 3-0 in his last five starts. He ran out of gas in the ninth and Trevor Hoffman protected his win.

The first hit Kershaw allowed was a bloop-single to lead off the fourth. Then, after getting Prince Fielder to fly out to right field, he walked the next two batters to load the bases. Kershaw also walked Brewers right fielder Bill Hall on four straight pitches to force in a run. His fourth straight batter gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead. He expended 34 pitches in the fourth frame, and in one stretch, 13-of-14 pitches were balls.

After allowing three consecutive singles to open the top of the fifth had seen enough and called on Weaver. The veteran right hander gave up a three run home run in the sixth and it looked like it was all over for the stumbling Dodgers.

But in the ninth, Casey Blake singled and Matt Kemp slugged a double to knock Parra out of the game and bring in Hoffman.

But the beat went on as James Loney's ground-rule double to right gave him the team lead with 58 and cut the Brewers' lead to 6-4 before Orlando Hudson drove Loney in with an RBI single to make it a one-run game.

Then, with the bases were loaded with two outs and the crowd howling, Manny Ramirez came to the plate in what seemed might be a re-run of his dramatic grand slam on June 22.

Instead the prince could never locate Cinderella to try on the glass slipper and Ramirez he popped to right and there was no happy ending. The Dodgers lost their sixth game in the last nine.

"I thought we were about to win that game," said Kemp. "But he can't come through every time -- he's not Superman. We've just got to get them tomorrow."

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (3-5, 4.44 ERA) will attempt to right the Dodgers' ship. He discovered a mechanical flaw in his deliver and it seems as if he is back on track after missing the first two months with an injury.

?The Dodgers will face RHP Yovani Gallardo (10-7, 3.13 ERA) who allowed three runs, five hits and struck out 11 Washington batters n his last start. He's never pitched a regular-season game at Dodger Stadium.

 Score by Innings
Milwaukee	000 213 000-6
Los Angeles	001 000 103-5

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  0  2  1  .266
Ethier rf	3  0  0  0  .272
Ramirez lf	5  0  1  0  .306
Blake 3b	4  1  1  0  .286
Kemp cf        	4  2  2  0  .317
Loney 1b	4  1  2  2  .293
Hudson 2b	4  0  1  2  .292
Ausmus c	3  1  2  0  .328
 Pierre ph	0  0  0  0  .303
Kershaw p	1  0  0  0  .114
 Weaver p	1  0  0  0  .300
 Loretta ph	1  0  0  0  .230
McDonald p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Martin ph	1  0  0  0  .263
  Totals  	35  5 11 5
  Milwaukee	34  6  8  5

  2B- Ramirez (15), Kemp 2 (15), Loney
(21). RBI- Furcal (31), Hudson 2 (35),
Loney 2 (68). S- Pierre. LOB- Los
Angeles 7. Milwaukee 8. DP- Furcal,
Hudson and Loney.

  Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Kershaw (8-6)	4.0  4  3-3  6  6  2.89
Weaver	        3.0  3  3-3  1  2  4.11
McDonald 	2.0  1  0-0  0  0  4.62
  HBP- Ethier. T- 2:55, Att- 45,544.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers are halfway through a stretch of 20 games in 20 days that began July 24 and will run through August 12, the end of a three-game series at San Francisco.  Los Angeles is 4-6 thus far during the stretch. ...Reliever James McDonald, who worked two more scoreless innings, has switched to jersey No. 31 after previously wearing No. 52, giving up No. 52 to newcomer George Sherrill who wore that number in Baltimore. ...The Dodgers are now 34-18 at Dodger Stadium, the second-best home record in the National League behind San Francisco's 37-17 mark at AT&T Park.  Los Angeles has won six of its last nine games at Dodger Stadium, and is 21-18 along Elysian Park Avenue since its record-setting 13-0 start.