First Inning Runs = LA's Fifth Straight Loss

Returning to Dodger Stadium didn't change the club's deepest slump in recent memory. A two-run first inning, thanks to a triple that Gold Glove winner Matt Kemp misplayed, was all the visiting Pirates needed. Pittsburgh limited Los Angeles to five hits and only a bases-loaded situation in the fifth provided much of a threat.

Playing conditions resembled those in New York; cold (66 degrees) and windy (23 mph) made the wind chill 41 degrees. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported, "It felt more like San Francisco's Candlestick Park, but it was the Dodgers' frozen offense that remained the main culprit as the Dodgers fell to Pittsburgh, 2-0, for their fifth consecutive loss.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw started and much like last season, didn't get much support. After the game, the Dodgers were averaging just 1.36 runs per game behind Kershaw at Dodger Stadium since Aug. 1, 2009, lowest in the big leagues.

He allowed three hits, included the killer triple in the first inning that Kemp attempted to backhand and hold the second runner at third base.

"I should have caught the ball," he said after the game. "It was one of those in-between hops. You either try to catch it or back off of it and let one run score and keep that other runner at third base. I should have kept it in front of me. I can't make any excuses."

The media has hammered on GM Ned Coletti's criticism of Kemp's fielding so far this season and the fans booed the center fielder roundly after the misplay.

Kershaw had walked the first two Pirates before the game-winning hit.

Blake DeWitt got the first Dodgers hit in the third inning with one out and raced to third when the Pittsburgh fielder mishandled the ball and Kershaw walked.

Russell Martin hit a line drive down the third-base line that struck Blake DeWitt on the right hip. On a pitch that got away from the Pirates catcher, Kershaw tried to reach second but was thrown out. Martin grounded out to end the inning.

Kemp beat out an infield single in the fourth, Andre Ethier singled him to third and advanced to second on the throw. With two out, Casey Blake walked to load the bases but Jamey Carroll, replacing the injured Rafael Furcal, bounced out to end the threat. And in the sixth inning with runners and second and third and two out, Carroll again grounded out. He went 0-for-3 and is batting .212.

Ray Doumit, who had the triple in the first, also collected the second Pittsburgh hit, a single, in the fourth inning.

DeWitt doubled leading off the fifth for the final L.A. hit. The final 12 Dodgers went out in order. His two-hit evening accounted for half of the team's hits.

The Dodgers were completely tamed by But Pirates left-handed starter Brian Burres (1-1) and relievers Jack Taschner and Evan Meek.

Kershaw allowed three hits over 6.2 innings, striking out seven and walking four. Manager Joe Torre, hoping to get him through seven innings removed him after 117 pitches when he issued his final walk. Kershaw has given up no more than two runs in any of his past four starts, a 2.55 earned run average, but has only a single win to show for it.

"You have to give him a lot of credit," Torre said. "After throwing 30-something pitches in the first inning he still goes into the seventh."

Ramon Troncoso, Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton worked the final 2.2 scoreless innings.

Los Angeles had batted .192 and averaged only 2.2 runs per game in the six games before Thursday's contest, the first of a 10-game homestand and were shut out in their last five games.

Dodger Blue Notes --Shortstop Rafael Furcal missed his third straight game with a left hamstring strain. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection to promote healing. He wasn't available to play or pinch hit in the series opener with Pittsburgh and probably won't return to the starting lineup before Saturday. ...Torre bypassed Charlie Haeger and selected RHP Carlos Monasterios to make his first big league start Saturday. Monasterios, who has made seven relief appearances this season, started 60 games during his five seasons in the minors. Haeger will work out of the bullpen. ...The Dodgers (8-14) are on a five-game skid for the first time since last October and trail by six games. ...Manny Ramirez, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf, is said to be improving and is doing baseball activities on the field. He will be eligible to return on May 9 against the Rockies.