Dodgers Blow Chance to Clinch N.L. West

Los Angeles scored three times in the top of the ninth inning to break a 2-2 tie, then gave it all back plus a run in the bottom of the inning and missed clinching the National League West title.

Jonathan Broxton allowed four hits and a walk, and Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier chipped with in errors in the ninth inning runs to allow four runs in an inning that would have done credit to many forgettable Brooklyn teams of the past.

Clayton Kershaw allowed a pair of runs in the third inning that erased a 1-0 Dodgers lead built on an RBI single by Furcal, then worked two scoreless innings. He obviously was not quite ready for prime time and left the game after making 77 pitches over four innings. He was charged with two runs on four hits, four strikeouts, a walk and two wild pitches.

Having is winless in his last 10 starts primarily because of receiving only 11 runs of support in those games.

He handed the ball to Jeff Weaver, who added a scoreless sixth and pitched around a one-out triple in the seventh without a run scoring, and George Sherrill added a 1-2-3 eighth.

Los Angeles had tied the game 2-2 in the seventh on a single by James Loney, Ron Belliard's double and a ground ball by pinch-hitter Jim Tome on a ball that might have been a double play but was mishandled.

Loney and Belliard singled to open the ninth and Russ Martin's single to center broke the tie. Belliard left the game after injuring his leg rounding first base and Juan Castro ran for him before Orlando Hudson bunted the runners into scoring position.

Pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez was walked intentionally to load the bases and the Dodgers added another pair of runs on Furcal's ground ball (his second RBI of the game) and a passed ball.

Then Broxton was called upon to get the final three outs and clinch the title ... but he could only get one before the roof fell in on him and he blew his sixth save in 42 opportunities.

A pair of former Dodgers helped in the Pirates miracle comeback.

Delwyn Young opened the inning with a pinch-hit single and after another pinch-single by Brandon Moss, Furcal fumbled a potential double play ball, settle for a force out and threw the relay to first base away, cutting the lead to 5-3.

With runners at the corners, an intentional walk loaded the bases before Lastings Milledge, who had left six men on base in his previous four hitless at-bats, singled to right field to tie the game and when Ethier let the ball scoot under his glove and roll to the wall, it allowed the winning run to score all the way from first base for an improbable victory.

While the Dodgers felt their magic number was two, they held a commanding 12-3 advantage over Colorado and if the two teams eventually tied for the top spot, the Dodgers would have been declared the winner by their head-to-head advantage.

The Dodgers and Pirates meet in the fourth game of the series today and Pittsburgh will throw their ace, after using everyone hanging around the bullpen area in the first three games, two of them Pittsburgh wins.

Zach Dukes, who is 10-15, get the ball and the Dodgers are hoping the Hiroki Kuroda can quell the suddenly difficult Pirates and nail down the N.L. West title.

 Score by Innings
Los Angeles	001 000 103-5
Pittsburgh	002 000 004-6

 Dodgers	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  0  1  2  .267
Pierre lf	5  0  1  0  .310
Ethier rf	4  0  0  0  .274
Kemp cf        	4  0  1  0  .303
Loney 1b	4  2  2  0  .287
Belliard 3b	4  0  2  0  .274
 Castro pr-3b	0  1  0  0  .288
Martin c	4  1  1  1  .253
Hudson 2b	1  1  1  0  .287
Kershaw p	0  0  0 0  .109
 Mient'wicz ph  1  0  0  0  .231
 Weaver p	0  0  0  0  .231
 Thome ph	1  0  0  1  .249
 Belisario p	0   0  0  0 .000
 Sherrill p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Ramirez ph	0  0  0  0  .299
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Totals	        33  5  9  4  
 Pittsburgh	36  6 11  4

 Errors- Furcal (20), Ethier (7).
2B- Belliard (14). RBI- Furcal 2 (47),
Thome (77), Martin (52. S- Kershaw;
Hudson. LOB- Los Angeles 7, Pittsburgh
9. PO- Kemp.

 Dodgers	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Kershaw 	4.0  4  2-2  1  4  2.89
Weaver 	        2.0  2  0-0  1  2  3.69
Belisario	1.0  1  0-0  1  2  2.10
Sherrill	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  1.75
Broxton (7-2)	0.1  4  4-3  1  0  2.68
 WP- Kershaw 2. T- 3:09 (:06 delay). Att- 26,831.
Dodger Blue Notes-- With a third-inning single, Rafael Furcal extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Over his last 19 games dating to Sept. 5, Furcal is batting .364 with four stolen bases, a .442 on-base percentage, and .592 slugging percentage while committing just two errors in the field. Historically, Furcal has been much stronger in the second half of the season, with career marks of .294/.358/.419 compared to first-half numbers of .277/.344/.401. ...Orlando Hudson has made just eight errors this season, good for a .988 fielding percentage. That ranks fifth on the franchise's single-season list by a second baseman, behind only Jody Reed (.993 in 1993), Jackie Robinson (.992 in 1951), Charlie Neal (.989 in 1959) and Mark Grudzielanek (.989 in 2002). ...In 22 games since being acquired, Ronnie Belliard is batting .342 (26-for-76) with five homers, 16 RBI, a .385 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage.

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