Kuroda Strong But Pads Trip LA Again

Los Angeles didn't resemble a pennant contender during their recent home stand, winning only three of seven from the two worst teams in the National League West, Arizona and San Diego. The Padres topped them 4-3 in the finale after Hiroki Kuroda (5-6) gave up four runs, three earned.

Kuroda, who has struggled through two injuries that have kept him out nearly half the season, pitched well enough to win in his first start since getting hit in the head with a line drive on Aug. 15 at Phoenix. After winning opening day, he then sat out for nearly two months with a muscle injury.

"I was very satisfied with the way he came through it tonight," manager Joe Torre said. "I thought he competed very well. I thought his stuff was good, but he might have just been a little bit rusty as far as command."

The Dodgers, who set a modern major league record with their 13-0 home start, have won only one of their last seven series at Chavez Ravine.

Starters who face them in the three game series with the Padres were not named Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and Greg Maddux, rather they were Wade LeBlanc, Mat Latos and Tim Stauffer (all who began the season in the minor leagues) but the result was about the same as the last-place Padres took two of three games.

Kuroda allowed an unearned run in the first inning, two more runs in the third and a home run in the fourth. He completed five innings, having allowed only four hits and three walks.

The Dodgers bullpen had little trouble from then on out, Jeff Weaver, Ronald Belisario, George Sherrill and Hong-Chih Kuo giving up three hits while striking out four over their combined four innings.

Stauffer won his fourth game of the season and should have rushed out of the stadium after the game and purchased a lotto ticket. His luck was running high over his five innings of work with the Dodgers hitting shots all over the park but directly into the hands of the Padres defense.

They ended the disappointing evening by leaving nine on bases with Juan Pierre stranding four and Andre Ethier, Orlando Hudson and Ron Belliard leaving three each.

Los Angeles finished the game with eight hits, spending three of them in the fourth inning when they scored their first run. Trailing 3-0 at the time, Manny Ramirez, James Loney and Russell Martin, wrapped around a double play.

They added their final two in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Mark Loretta lived on an error with one out and Rafael Furcal singled. With two out, Andre Ethier double to left to cut the margin to a single run.

Belliard, Martin and Hudson struck out in the eighth and Loretta fanned to open the ninth. Jim Tome flew out to left as did Ethier to end the game.

Relentless Colorado crept to within three games in the loss column when they beat Arizona 13-8. Prince Fielder homered in the 12th inning to stop the Giants 2-1.

The Dodgers move back to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks for three more games tonight Colorado hosts Cincinnati and the Giants host San Diego.

Los Angeles are working with an unusual six-man rotation through the Dodgers' road trip to Phoenix and San Francisco.

Veteran Vincente Padilla will face the Diamondbacks this afternoon. He has allowed three runs on 10 hits and has struck out nine in 10.1 innings and the Dodgers have won both of his starts.

Arizona will counter with RHP Max Scherzer who helped the D-backs secure a series split in Los Angeles last week, earning a 4-1 win while allowing one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out four over 7 2/3 innings.

 Score by Innings
San Diego	102 010 000-4
Los Angeles	000 100 200-3

 Dodgers	 ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	 3  1  1  0  .255
Pierre cf	 4  0  0  0  .315
 Belisario p	 0  0  0  0  .000
 Sherrill p	 0  0  0  0  .000
 Kuo p        	 0  0  0  0  .000
 Thome ph	 1  0  0  0  .250
Ethier rf	 5  0  1  2  .283
Ramirez 	 3  1  1  0  .302
Loney 1b	 3  0  2  0  .278
 Kemp ph-cf      1  0  0  0  .307
Billiard 3b	 4  0  1  0  .252
Martin c	 3  0  1  1  .257
Hudson 2b	 4  0  0  0  .289
Kuroda p	 1  0  1  0  .143
 Mientkiewicz ph 1  0  0  0  .429
 Weaver p	 0  0  0  0  .231
 Loretta ph-1b	 2  1  0  0  .224
 Totals	         35  3  8  3
 San Diego	 35  4  7  4

 Error- Hudson (7). 2B- Ethier (38).
RBI- Martin (39), Ethier 2 (92).
LOB- Los Angeles 9, San Diego 7.
DP- Hudson, Furcal and Loney.	

 Dodgers	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Kuroda (5-6)	5.0  4  4-3  3  3  4.15
Weaver 	        2.0  1  0-0  0  2  3.42
Belisario	0.1  0  0-0  0  1  2.10
Sherrill	0.2  0  0-0  0  0  1.84
Kuo        	1.0  2  0-0  0  1  2.91
 HBP- Furcal. T- 3:05. Att- 47,528.
Quote of the Day
"It's always good when you've got a team full of basically nobodies going against Manny Mota, Jim Tome and Andre Ethier and beat a team like that," San Diego reliever Luke Gregerson said.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Andre Ethier has 92 runs batted in and Matt Kemp has 88. The last time two Dodgers drove in 100 or more RBIs in the same season was 2001, when Shawn Green had 125 and Gary Sheffield got his 100th on the final day of the season. ... Manny Ramirez is 6-for-35 (.171) against the Padres this season with two homers and five RBIs in 12 games. He played in nine games against them last season after joining the Dodgers at the non-waiver trading deadline, going 8-for-29 (.276) with five homers and 14 RBIs. ...The Dodgers are 9-6 against the D-backs this season and went 10-8 against them last year. ... Adrian Gonzalez hit his 35th home run of the season and joined Nate Colbert as the only players in the Padres' 41-year history with two seasons of 35 or more home runs. Colbert hit 38 in both 1970 and '72.

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