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Brown’s Strong Effort Is Wasted

If the Dodgers can’t even win with Kevin Brown in strong form, how much hope do they have left?

The Dodgers were forced to ponder that question Friday night after closer Jeff Shaw squandered a four-run, eighth-inning lead during a 6-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the ninth inning against Diamondback closer Matt Mantei. Mantei went to a 3-and-0 count against pinch-hitter Trenidad Hubbard before striking him out to end the game and earn his 18th save.

The Diamondbacks scored five runs with two out in the eighth inning to take a 6-5 lead after Brown got the outs. Brown was leading, 5-1, with a runner on second when Manager Davey Johnson removed him. Brown received a standing ovation from the crowd of 45,839, and tipped his cap in acknowledgment.

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Then once again, everything went wrong for the Dodgers.

Johnson removed his staff ace after he had thrown 115 pitches. Left-hander Pedro Borbon entered to face Steve Finley, whom he walked to put runners on first and second.

Enter Shaw, who took the loss and suffered his second blown save of the season Monday in the Cincinnati Reds’ 5-3, 10-inning victory. Friday’s experience turned out even worse for Shaw and the Dodgers (45-58), who dropped a season-high 13 games under .500.

Shaw gave up a run-scoring single to Bernard Gilkey, making the score 5-2. Erubiel Durazo walked and Kelly Stinnett followed with a two-run single, cutting the lead to 5-4. Gregg Colbrunn pinch-hit for pitcher Bobby Chouinard (4-1) and hit a two-run double barely inside the left-field line.

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Left fielder Gary Sheffield attempted to make a diving catch, but the ball was out of his reach and the Diamondbacks had a 6-5 lead. Shaw got Tony Womack to line out for the final out of the inning. Brown’s impressive effort was wasted in the no-decision.

Shaw (2-4) was booed loudly as he walked off the field and into the dugout. Shaw gave up three hits and three earned runs in only one-third of an inning against Arizona (58-46).

Brown gave up five hits and wound up being charged with two runs. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in what would have been his third consecutive victory if Shaw had preserved the lead.

*

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In an expected move, pitcher Robinson Checo was put on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a groin injury, and pitcher Matt Herges was recalled from triple-A Albuquerque to take Checo’s spot on the 25-man roster.

Checo suffered the injury while pitching in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s 9-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Checo was recalled from Albuquerque that day when Carlos Perez was optioned to the Dukes. The right-handed Herges, 29, was 8-3 with a 4.59 earned-run average at Albuquerque.

With a day off Monday, Johnson said he will use a four-man rotation for now. Herges might start Aug. 7 when the Dodgers need a fifth starter against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.

TODAY

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DODGERS’ ISMAEL VALDES (8-8, 3.33 ERA)

vs.

DIAMONDBACKS’ RANDY JOHNSON (10-8, 2.65 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m.

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TV--Channel 11

Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330)

* Update--Although his record is only .500, Valdes has been the Dodgers’ most consistent starter but hasn’t gotten much support. Johnson can relate. The Big Unit has been typically dominant, but the Diamondbacks haven’t hit much lately when the left-hander is on the mound.


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