Dodgers try to clinch NL West title today

Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said he was glad that what happened on Monday happened on Monday instead of next week.

Manny Ramirez walked into Torre’s office and told him he couldn’t play because of tightness in his hamstring. Casey Blake was in Los Angeles to meet with team physician Neal ElAttrache about his hamstring. Ronnie Belliard received a cortisone injection in his strained right groin.

With Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin already scheduled to sit, the Dodgers were left with a depleted lineup.

None of the injuries appear to be serious.


“I’ll be ready tomorrow,” Ramirez said, referring to the first game of the Dodgers’ two-game set in San Diego beginning tonight.

Blake, who has sat out the last six games, felt something in his left leg when he tried to run Sunday. The visit with ElAttrache was described as a step toward getting Blake completely healed by the start of the postseason. Blake is expected to be with the Dodgers in San Diego.

Rough day for Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda reached a milestone he was looking forward to reaching for a long time, as he pitched his 2,000th professional inning between the majors and Japan.


“I didn’t want to do it like this,” said Kuroda, who has pitched 300 2/3 of his 2,001 innings since moving to the United States in the spring of 2008.

While only two of the seven runs charged to Kuroda in four innings were earned, he blamed himself for the loss.

“It was my job to establish a rhythm that the team could ride,” he said. “I couldn’t do that.”

Kuroda had a particularly rough time in the second inning, which started with third baseman Mark Loretta’s throwing error that put Pittsburgh’s Lastings Milledge on base. Kuroda gave up two doubles, two singles and a walk in the five-run inning for the Pirates.

Kuroda served up consecutive home runs to Andy LaRoche and Garrett Jones in the fourth inning.

Short hops

Pirates Manager John Russell was booed loudly for removing starter Zach Duke, who was only one out from a complete game. Duke had a shutout until the ninth inning, when he gave up sacrifice fly to Chin-lung Hu that drove in Orlando Hudson. . . . Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, who entered the game in the fifth inning, was hit on the right knee by a line drive from Luis Cruz and had to leave the game. X-rays were negative.