Kershaw Wobbles; Dodgers Lose in 10

For the second consecutive game, Dodgers starting pitching struggled and as a result they are now 0-2 for the 2010 season. Garrett Jones, who his yet to play a full Major League season, who smacked a three-run home run in the first inning, his third in two games, and although the Dodgers tied the game, a bases-loaded single off Ramon Ortiz in the last of the tenth resulted in a 4-3 Pittsburgh win.

Counting an ugly streak late in the 2009 season, the Pirates, scheduled to record their 18th consecutive losing season, have won five of the last six games from the Dodgers.

Clayton Kershaw used 109 pitches to reach the fourth inning and left with two out and the bases loaded. He allowed five hits and walked six, including Pittsburgh pitcher Ross Ohlendorf twice. In the first two games, starters Vicente Padilla and Kershaw have allowed 11 hits, nine walks and ten runs in only nine innings.

Kershaw admitted he got out of rhythm and couldn't get it back.

Manager Joe Torre praised Kershaw for holding the damage to the three first-inning runs and pointed out that the young starter was overthrowing.

But from the first three Pittsburgh batters, who collected a walk, a single and the home run, until one out in the 10th, the Dodgers bullpen shut them down cold.

Jeff Weaver closed out the fifth with one pitch, leaving the bases jammed. Russ Ortiz (two scoreless innings), George Sherrill (who apparently has overcome the mechanical flaw that made him ineffective throughout the spring, worked the eighth and Ramon Troncoso, back from visiting his wife and new daughter, added a scoreless ninth.

Ramon Ortiz took over in the 10th after the Dodgers had left base runners scattered around the bases like confetti, and attempted to pitch around Blake DeWitt's error to open the inning. A sacrifice bunt, two walks (the staff gave up nine) and the winning single came after a nine-pitch at-bat and ended the disappointing evening.

Russell Martin didn't hit his first home run in 2009 until June 20 (61 games) but he collected the first round-tripper of the season for the Dodgers with an opposite-field shot to open the fifth. Rafael Furcal lived on an error, then scored on Matt Kemp's double down the left-field line. Andre Ethier rolled a single into right field to tie the game and end the Dodgers' scoring for the evening.

Los Angeles had plenty of opportunities to score but couldn't manage a big hit at the right time. They drew nine walks to go with five hits, were 2-fo-15 with runners in scoring position and left an even dozen men on base. Loney, who is 0-for-2010 left five and Kemp stranded four.

After Ohlendorf retired the first six Dodgers, he walked two in the third but stranded them. He also wriggled out of a walk and Manny Ramirez's single to lead off the fourth. The rest of the way saw L.A. leave runners on base in every inning but the eighth.

Particularly galling was the fact that Jamey Carroll led off with a pinch-hit double and advanced to third on a wild pitch in the ninth. But Furcal bounced to the pitcher, Kemp took a called third strike and Ramirez grounded out.

After the game, Torre said, "I don't think you fault him for his inexperience on that, it was just an error. That could happen anywhere."

Chad Billingsley will attempt to put the Dodgers on the left side of the won-loss chart this afternoon.

Dodger Blue Notes-- From 2000-09, the Dodgers went 51-23 (.689) against the Pirates, including a 24-10 mark at PNC Park, but they have dropped their last four games here and five of the last six. ...Brad Ausmus is tied with Benito Santiago for eighth on the all-time games caught list in Major League history. The next game he catches will tie him with Al Lopez (1,918) for seventh all-time and this season, Ausmus will likely catch Jim Sundberg (1,927) and Tony Pena (1,950) on the list, which is on pg. 71 of the guide. ...Rafael Furcal swiped his first two bases of the year last night. In 2009, the shortstop had just one two-steal game and it came on April 25 at Colorado. In his career, Furcal has stolen two or more bases in 39 different games, including a career-high four stolen bases on Sept. 15, 2007. ...Jamey Carroll singled in his first at-bat as a Dodger last night and not surprisingly, it was a pinch-hit at-bat. Carroll is a lifetime .355 (33-for-93) hitter off the bench. Since 2002, only one Major Leaguer has a higher average as a pinch-hitter than Carroll and that's Seth Smith (.397). A complete list of the top pinch-hitters in the game over the past eight seasons (minimum 75 at-bats) is on page 93 of the 2010 Dodger guide. ...Russell Martin's homer to right field last night marked his first long ball in just the second game of the season. Of Martin's seven homers last season, six were to left field or center field, with only his final home run of the season, on Oct. 2, going to the opposite field. ...Kershaw allowed only seven home runs over 30 starts in 2009. ...Ramon Troncoso celebrated the birth of his first daughter, Isabella, and Assistant Director of Player Development Chris Haydock welcomed his second son Ty Rockne, on Opening Day.

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