Dodgers Lose a Wild 11-9 Decision to Reds

Los Angeles fell behind 9-3, rallied to tie the game in the eighth, then gave two runs back to the Reds and lost an 11-9 decision in the first game of a nine-game road trip. Chad Billingsley's nightmare continued as the young starter surrendered six runs in he second inning after the Dodgers jumped in front 3-0 after one.

Billingsley coasted through the first inning, then was hammered for five straight hits, including a double and a triple. He had good velocity on his pitches and most of them were on the corners but the Reds seemed to know what was coming and made the most of it.

Billingsley allowed another run in the second and left the game. having allowed seven hits and seven runs -- three of them unearned -- in just three innings, his shortest outing of the season.

Trailing 9-3 into the seventh Los Angeles rallied for a pair of runs but left two on. Keyed by Matt Kemp's sixth home run, a three-run blast, they tied the game in the top of the eighth and came close to taking a lead when James Loney's line drive down the right field line with Manny Ramirez on base was snagged on a desperate leap by right fielder Jay Bruce.

Ramon Troncoso surrendered the two runs in the eighth that handed the Dodgers the loss and snapped the Reds five-game losing streak.

He walked a pair of Cincinnati batters and with two out, allowed an RBI single. Ronnie Belliard, playing first muffed a throw on an attempt to nail a second Reds player at the plate.

Casey Blake drove in four runs with a double and a triple. Kemp accounted for three more RBIs and Rafael Furcal and Blake DeWitt had the other two runs batted in.

Every Dodger in the starting lineup had a hit save Loney. Furcal, Kemp, Blake, DeWitt and Martin had two each. Manny Ramirez doubled and walked three times.

The Dodgers' defense, which has been spotty all season, made three errors that allowed four unearned runs, obviously having a direct effect on the outcome of the game.

Good Start
The Dodgers got off to a rousing start, scoring three times inn the first inning. Furcal dropped a short single to center ield and both Andre Ethier and Loney walked before Blake's line drive to the right-center field wall scored all three runners.

However in the last of the second inning Cincinnati collected four singles, a triple, a home run and a sacrifice fly. It was also helped along by a throwing error by Billingsley.

A double and another sac fly in the third made it 7-0 and signaled the end for Billingsley after 45 pitches, 35 of them strikes.

Ramon Ortiz took over and gave up a single, then Furcal double-clutched a double play ball and could only get a force at second. On an attempted steal, Russell Martin threw the ball into center field and a two-run homer capped the inning and gave the Reds a 9-3 lead.

After the first inning, Los Angeles only managed a pair of infield hits until the sixth inning. Ramirez doubled and Blake tripled to get things going. DeWitt singled in a secnd run and the Dodgers had runners at first and second with one out. But pinch-hitter Garret Anderson flew to left and Furcal ended the inning with a ground ball to third.

Jon Link, fresh up from Albuquerque to replace Russ Ortiz, took over in the last of the sixth. Some questioned his choice. Over five games in Triple-A he had an earned run average of 6.23 and had allowed seven hits over four innings in relief,

But he tamed the raging Reds' bats, allowing only a walk over his two innings of work in his Major League debut.

The Dodgers missed another opportunity in the seventh. With one out, Ethier singled and Ramirez walked. Both moved up on a wild pitch but both Loney and Blake struck out.

They didn't miss much in the eighth inning. With one out, Martin singed to center and pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard slugged a double off the base of the left-field wall. Furcal single in a run before Kemp deposited a fast ball in the right-center field seats for three runs to unbelievably tie the game at nine all.

Troncoso's sinker kept dropping out of the strike zone in the last of the eighth. He got a fly to center, a walk, another fly to center and then walked another. A sharp single to left was quickly bare-handed by Ramirez and he made a strong throw to the plate but it was too late to keep the run from scoring.

He hitter rounded first too far and Martin caught him off the base. Belliard threw to DeWitt and when the second Reds base runner attempted to score from first, Belliard could not find a handle on the ball. He dropped it and the second run scored. An error was originally charged to Belliard, but that was later changed.

Francisco Cordero, the seventh pitcher manager Dusty Baker used to try to stop the Dodgers' offense, struck out both DeWitt and Martin to close out the ninth and nail down the win.

Pitching Probables:
  Tonight (Wednesday) RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-0, 1.20) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (0-2, 7.88)
Thursday RHP Vicente Padilla (1-1, 8.04)vs. RHP Mike Leake (0-0, 2.63)

Obama Says "Thanks, Newk"
On Monday, during President Barack Obama's visit to Los Angeles, he had the opportunity to meet Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman, Don Newcombe. The duo had a private meeting between public appearances and at his second appearance at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, he credited Newcombe with helping to pave the way for him to become president.

Happy Birthday Coach
Hitting coach Don Mattingly celebrated his 49th birthday. Mattingly joined the Dodgers in 2008 and took over the hitting coach duties after the All-Star break that season. In 2009, the Dodgers tied the Mets for the best average in the National League (.270) and this season the club leads the bigs with a .303 average. During his 14-year Big League career, Mattingly played on his birthday 10 times and hit .316 (12-for-38) with two homers and nine RBI on the big day. The "Hit Man" shares his birthday with Dodger Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth and team Historian Mark Langill.
Dodger Blue Notes -- It was the first game of what will be a 10-day, nine-game road trip that will include visits to the Queen City, our Nation's Capitol and the "Big Apple." ..The Dodgers, who had climbed back to .500 for the second time this season, slid one game under with the loss. ...Los Angeles had won 15 of its 23 games In Cincinnati since the park opened in 2003, including 10 of its last 14 dating back to 2006. Over the last four seasons, the Dodgers were 22-4 coming into the game, a .846 percentage and the best mark in Mor League Baseball over that time. ...Center fielder Matt Kemp went 2-for-five, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Kemp is hitting .35 (14-for-39) with a double, six home runs and 13 RBI in that span. Kemp tied Chase Utley for the National League lead in home runs with his sixth and with three RBI, tops the league with 18.