The Dodgers dropped the final game of their three-game series at AT&T; Park in the most heartbreaking of ways: with Guillermo Mota serving up a two-run, walk-off home run to Juan Uribe in the 10th inning.
But the 4-2 setback against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday wasn't seen as a setback by the Dodgers, who took two of three games from a team that trailed them by only 5 1/2 games at the start of the series.
"To go anywhere on the road and have a chance to sweep that series is a victory," Andre Ethier said.
Concluding a 20-day stretch in which they played 20 games, the Dodgers went into their off day today thinking their recent problems might be behind them.
Manny Ramirez was 0 for 3 with a walk, but that was against Tim Lincecum, the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Ramirez was seven for 11 with a home run in his previous three games, his form convincing hitting coach Don Mattingly that his slump was over.
Hiroki Kuroda threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings Monday and resembled the pitcher who won a pair of games last October.
Randy Wolf pitched eight innings of one-run ball Tuesday and, more important, received a rare amount of run support.
"We got our fight back," Manager Joe Torre said.
That was the purpose of a team meeting Torre called Sunday after the Dodgers lost for the 10th time in 15 games.
"We kind of hit a really rough patch," Wolf said. "We had a meeting about this and pretty much said to ourselves that that's going to happen. Every team is going to have a rough road where things don't go smoothly. I think good teams get over it and teams that don't make it are the ones that harp on the negative things and don't move on."
The odds were stacked against the Dodgers on Wednesday, as Chad Billingsley was unable to start because of a strained left hamstring. Pitching the first three innings of what was a bullpen game was Jeff Weaver, who pitched three innings only three days earlier.
Weaver matched Lincecum zero for zero but not without encountering trouble. The Giants loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning, but Weaver escaped unscathed.
"It was a battle the whole game," Weaver said.
A leadoff triple by Juan Pierre in the sixth inning was turned into a run that cut the deficit to 2-1.
Lincecum was still on the mound in the ninth inning and was a strike away from his 13th victory when Ethier singled to right field to drive in Rafael Furcal for the equalizing run.
"I was very pleased with where we got in the game with the number of pitchers we used," Torre said.
The Giants said that the umpires played a part in that.
Manager Bruce Bochy was ejected in the second inning for arguing that Ramirez was picked off at first base by Bengie Molina. (Replays showed Ramirez's hand reached around first baseman Travis Ishikawa's tag.)
Bochy, who was thrown out for the second time in the series, handed his duties to bench coach Ron Wotus, who also was booted in the ninth for arguing a call at first -- this one a safe call on an infield hit by Furcal.
So did the Dodgers consider themselves back?
"We'll see," Ethier said.
They'll get a gauge of where they are Friday in Arizona, where they will face Dan Haren.
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Source: Los Angeles Times and Major League Baseball
Los Angeles Times