Captain, I Think We've Hit an Iceberg

What's next, locust? James Loney and Russell Martin stopped hitting, Chad Billingsley pulled a hamstring, Jonathan Broxton stopped saving and Hiroki Kuroda took a line drive off his head and was carried off the field. The Dodgers let a 3-1 lead get away in the ninth, losing their sixth game in the last eight, 4-3 to Arizona in 10 innings.

Kuroda had allowed two hits and the Dodgers were up 3-0 when he took a line drive off the side of his head off he bat of rookie Rusty Ryal. The ball bounced into the stands beside the backstop and back on the field. Ryal was awarded a ground-rule double when play resumed.

James McDonald took over and allowed a single to cut the lead to 3-1. Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill shut down the Diamondbacks in the seventh and eighth, then Jonathan Broxton blew his fifth save, allowing a pair of solo home runs in the ninth to tie it up.

It was the third home run he has allowed in his past two innings after serving up only two homers the entire 2008 season.

Ramon Troncoso, who is seeing more action than Hugh Heffner in his prime, made his 56th appearance and allowed two walks, two singles and the winning run in the 10th. Troncoso has allowed 10 runs in his last seven innings (1286 ERA) and his earned run average has jumped from 1.67 to 2.77.

Tests showed Kuroda suffered a concussion but no fractures or internal bleeding. He remained in St. Joseph's Hospital overnight for observation.

Ryal stopped at first base, then returned to the Arizona dugout while Kuroda was being treated on the mound. "You get a sick feeling in your stomach," said Ryal, playing in his fifth major league game. "I was just scared. I'm sure everyone else in the stadium, particularly his teammates, have got to be feeling pretty gut-wrenching about it."

Ryal sent a message to the Dodgers' clubhouse wishing Kuroda a speedy recovery. "My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, and I hope he's back on the mound soon," Ryal said.

"He asked if anybody caught the ball out there, if it was an out," trainer Stan Conte said. Kuroda raised both of his arms as he was taken off the field on a cart. "Amazingly, things look really pretty good," Conte said. "The fact that he didn't lose consciousness is a very good sign."

"We worry that even though there's no bleeding, that there could be in the next 12, 14 hours," Conte said. "That's why we'll keep him at the hospital. The first 12-to-24 hours is important. The doctors feel very, very good."

The Dodgers' lead in the National League West, 9 1/2 games June 3, is now 4 1/2 games, the smallest lead since May 13. The Dodgers now have a three-game losing streak for the third time, all in the past three weeks.

Kuroda, who missed much of the first half of the season with a strained oblique muscle, was headed for his sixth consecutive quality start.

But the Dodgers had their usual trouble hitting with men on base. They finished 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, after going 1-for-8 Friday night, and stranded nine. The 3-4-5 hitters, Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Casey Blake, each left four runners on base. They also hit into three double-plays.

Since scoring 17 runs on August 4 vs. Milwaukee, the club's highest total in a game at home in 30 years, the Dodgers have scored only 33 runs in their last 10 games for an average of 3.3 per game.  The club during those nine contests is hitting .185 (15-for-81) with runners in scoring position.

They scored on a second-inning RBI single by Brad Ausmus after Kemp and Mark Loretta had walks. Rafael Furcal doubled and Andre Ethier singled in the fifth inning but it took a wild pickoff throw to get the second run across and in the sixth, Blake tripled and scored on Loretta's sacrifice fly.

Torre doesn't talk about it but he again attempted to kick-start the stagnant offense with another new lineup. He started Ausmus (.345 against Davis) over Russell Martin, Loretta over James Loney and moved Matt Kemp up to cleanup.

Kemp walked twice, scored a run and stole two bases, but he also left runners in scoring position his other three at-bats.

The Dodgers need a pivotal win over an Arizona team that is nine games under .500 and 15 games behind them. They return home tomorrow to face St. Louis and Chicago at home

LHP Randy Wolf (6-6, 3.43 ERA) who, along with Clayton Kershaw, are the only original starters in the Dodgers rotation, will draw the important stat after ?working eight strong innings and his eighth quality start in his last appearance. Wolf is 7-3 lifetime against the Diamondbacks, 1-0 this year.

Arizona, thirsting for a sweep, will use RHP Yusmeiro Petit (2-6, 5.87 ERA) who was thumped by the Nationals for nine hits and four runs -- three earned -- in his last start.

Hager to Start Tomorrow
Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger draws the start Monday night for the Dodgers against St. Louis and Chad Billingsley is tentatively slated to pitch on Tuesday night, manager Joe Torre announced.

Haeger will be making his first appearance with the Dodgers after posting an 11-6, 3.55 record for Albuquerque. He's pitched four complete games and piled up 144 innings already this season. Diamondbacks broadcaster and former Dodgers knuckleballer Tom Candiotti stopped by the Dodgers dugout with an oversized mitt that Mike Piazza used to catch Candiotti with the Dodgers and offered it to Ausmus and Russell Martin if needed.

  Score by Innings
Los Angeles	010 011 000 0-3
Arizona	        000 001 002 1-4

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  1  2  0  .262
Ethier rf	4  0  2  0  .275
Ramirez lf	5  0  1  0  .320
Kemp cf        	3  1  0  0  .310
Blake 3b	4  1  1  0  .284
Loretta 1b	3  0  0  1  .229
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
Hudson 2b	3  0  0  0  .291
Ausmus c	4  0  2  1  .320
Kuroda p	3  0  0  0  .100
 McDonald p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Kuo p        	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sherrill p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph	1  0  1  0  .320
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Loney 1b	0  0  0  0  .278
--------------------------------
  Totals  	35  3  9  2 
  Arizona	34  4  9  4

   2B- Furcal (19). 3B- Blake (5).
RBI- Ausmus (8), Loretta (22).
SF- Loretta. LOB- Los Angeles,
Arizona 7. SB- Kemp- 2 (25).

  Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Kuroda 	        5.0  3  1-1  0  1  4.08
McDonald 	1.0  1  0-0  0  1  4.23
Kuo        	1.0  1  0-0  0  2  4.05
Sherrill	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  1.99
Broxton	        1.0  2  2-2  0  2  3.25
Troncoso (4-2)	0.1  2  1-1  2  0  2.77
  T- 3:33. Att- 42,058.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Rafael Furcal has reached base safely in 25 consecutive games, batting .297 over the stretch. ...Matt Kemp stole two bases in the 10th inning and has 25 for the season. ...Juan Pierre is 8-for-27 (.296) as a pinch-hitter this year. ...With two more hits, Brad Ausmus raised his batting average to .320. ...The Dodgers tonight are looking for win No. 70 in the 118th game.  The club last year got their 70th victory in their 140th game on September 3. ...The Dodgers have been playing under .500 baseball since June 23, the start of a three-game series at the Chicago White Sox, going 23-24 since then.  Los Angeles was 46-24 entering that stretch. ...The Dodgers are one of only four teams in the Majors that has yet to lose more than four games in a row. ...Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers are 13-16. Colorado is 17-11, Arizona 16-12 and the Giants are 14-14.

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