Jonathan Broxton imploded in an eighth inning that proved decisive in the Dodgers' 8-5 loss on Sunday to the Houston Astros, turning a two-run lead into a four-run deficit. Broxton, who was charged with six runs and six hits, pitched only one-third of an inning.
With Takashi Saito unavailable for the third consecutive game because of illness, Broxton was once again the designated closer for the day.
Torre said he put Broxton in the game in the eighth with the Dodgers ahead, 3-1, because the heart of the Astros' order -- starting with No. 2 hitter Kazuo Matsui -- was due up.
Broxton would have pitched the ninth inning if the Dodgers still had the lead, Torre said.
But the Dodgers' advantage quickly disappeared, as the first five hitters Broxton faced singled.
Broxton shrugged off the run of hits, pointing out that the first four were to the opposite field.
"They were hitting me the other way, so there was nothing I could really do," he said.
"It wasn't like they were hitting me hard or anything. It was just pecking away."
The outing was Broxton's first in five days.
Jason Schmidt pitched in a game for the first time in almost 11 months, tossing a perfect first inning for Class-A Inland Empire in Lancaster.
Schmidt, who underwent major shoulder surgery last June, made 12 pitches to force a fly out and two groundouts. He threw 10 fastballs and two changeups. He topped out at 88 mph.
Torre said that Schmidt threw 15 more pitches in the bullpen.
"It was a good first step," Torre said.
Nomar Garciaparra, who is recovering from a strained left calf, will travel with the Dodgers to Milwaukee and take part in an early workout Tuesday. Garciaparra might be sent on a minor league rehab assignment after that, Torre said. Garciaparra said he started jogging Friday and that his calf hasn't bothered him.
Chan Ho Park or Hong-Chih Kuo are most likely to start in Anaheim on Saturday, the next day the Dodgers need a fifth starter. Esteban Loaiza, the last pitcher to be put in that role, is on the disabled list.
Asked whether top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw was an option, Torre said: "I'm assuming he could be an option but not in my mind at this point. . . . I don't think there's any question that he's on our radar screen. Now it's just a matter of making sure you don't make a move too soon. Our ambitions are geared more toward getting to October than it is to next week."
Torre said a decision would be made Tuesday or Wednesday.
Delwyn Young started at second base, becoming the last position player on the active roster to draw a starting assignment. . . . With his mother in town for the week, James Loney hit .350 over the six-game homestand.