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Dodgers' bullpen fails again in 2-1 loss to Giants

BaseballSportsMajor League BaseballHanley RamirezPaul MaholmPablo SandovalCarl Crawford

Not the Dodgers’ best night. Their mighty offense was quiet again. Their ballyhooed bullpen once more failed to deliver. Their most valuable player, Hanley Ramirez, left the game after being hit on the left hand by a pitch.

And, of course, there was the final score that showed the Giants edging the Dodgers again by a run, 2-1, Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

Ramirez was hit near the wrist area on a 3-2 Ryan Vogelsong pitch to lead off the seventh inning. An angry Ramirez slammed his helmet down and clearly was in pain.

He left the game with head trainer Stan Conte, but X-rays showed no fracture. How bruised and sore the area is, however, won’t be something the Dodgers know until before Thursday’s game, which has a 12:45 p.m. start.

AT&T Park has become a personal house of horrors for Ramirez. It was there last year where he injured his thumb celebrating the Dominican Republic winning the World Baseball Classic. When he did return, it's where he strained a hamstring.

Wednesday was another night of wasted opportunity for the Dodgers, who received a fine start by Paul Maholm, who’s been doubling as a starter and reliever early this season.

The Giants struck first, pushing a run across in the third inning. A walk and a single by Pablo Sandoval preceded an RBI hit from -- who else? -- Buster Posey into left field. Hunter Pence, who was at second, showed no fear of Carl Crawford’s arm and was running home all the way.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, could get nothing going early. Dee Gordon led off the game with a bunt single, but Crawford flied out and Ramirez bounced sharply into a double play. Matt Kemp walked with one out in the second inning and was picked off; the Dodgers challenged the play and lost. In the third inning, Juan Uribe led off with a single and was thrown out attempting to steal on an apparent missed hit-and-run by Drew Butera.

When the Dodgers finally broke through against Vogelsong, a veteran right-hander, in the sixth inning, it was in unlikely fashion. Maholm walked with two outs before Gordon tripled to right. Maholm had to show some good speed just not to be lapped by Gordon.

Maholm also turned in a strong, much-needed outing. After the Dodgers had exhausted their bullpen the previous night in an almost five-hour game, Maholm went six innings, giving up the one run on five hits and three walks. He struck out two.

But the Dodgers bullpen faltered again, and in a hurry. Left-hander J.P. Howell took over in the seventh inning and immediately walked Joaquin Arias, who was sacrificed to second. One out later, Howell intentionally walked Pence. Sandoval then laced a single to center to score the winning run.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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