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Dodgers unable to do much in 3-1 loss to Rays

Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy only made it through four innings, on 83 pitches, in a 3-1 loss to the Rays on Wednesday.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)
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All those empty seats on a toasty afternoon in Chavez Ravine and a controversial television deal that prevents so many fans from watching games at home might have been a blessing for the Dodgers on Wednesday.

This was not a game for a highlight video or one the Dodgers would want those in attendance to tell too many friends about.

The Dodgers mustered only five hits — all singles — and failed to advance a runner to second base from the third through ninth innings of a 3-1 loss to lowly Tampa Bay, which has the third-worst record (38-62) in baseball.

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Rays left-hander Matt Moore gave up one unearned run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings, and Tampa Bay bunched three hits off Brandon McCarthy in a three-run fourth to prevent the Dodgers from gaining ground on San Francisco in the National League West. The Giants lost to Cincinnati but remain 2 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers.

“We weren’t able to scratch many runs across, but he did a good job of keeping guys off base, he mixed his pitches well and got the double-play ball when he needed it,” Dodgers left fielder Howie Kendrick said of Moore. “Pitching is going to be tough sometimes.”

McCarthy, making his fifth start since returning from elbow ligament replacement surgery,was tough through three innings, giving up one hit and striking out four in a row in the second and third.

But Brad Miller led off the fourth with a double to right and Evan Longoria punished a full-count curve that hung over the middle of the plate, driving a two-run homer to left — his 23rd of the season — for a 2-1 lead.

Corey Dickerson struck out, but Steven Souza walked, stole second and scored on Luke Maile’s double to make it 3-1.

“The Miller at-bat [upset] me the most — I should have been able to finish him off but made a really bad two-strike pitch,” McCarthy said. “The 3-2 curve to Longoria was not a good one.”

McCarthy walked Kevin Kiermaier intentionally and struck out Moore to end the inning and was pulled despite throwing only 83 pitches, 33 of them in the fourth. He was charged with three runs and four hits in four innings, striking out seven and walking two.

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“His stuff was good, his fastball had life and he was getting swings and misses, but after 33 pitches in the fourth, it didn’t make sense to send him back out for seven or eight more pitches,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “This was the first time he’s thrown on regular rest. I wanted to be mindful of him coming back from surgery.”

McCarthy (2-1) said his arm felt fine, but that last Friday night’s start in sweltering St. Louis took a toll on his body.

“It was a weird, tough week, and I think the fatigue kind of accumulated,” he said. “I wasn’t able to execute like I wanted to. It was body fatigue. I think St. Louis took a lot out of us. It was a little tougher to recover.”

Rays first baseman Logan Morrison tumbles into the seats after catching a pop up by Howie Kendrick in the seventh inning Wednesday.
Rays first baseman Logan Morrison tumbles into the seats after catching a pop up by Howie Kendrick in the seventh inning Wednesday.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images )

The Dodgers scored in the second when Maile, the Rays catcher, made an ill-advised throw to second with runners on first and third, two outs and McCarthy, an .056 career hitter, at the plate.

The throw — on what became the first stolen base of Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis’ nine-year career — bounced into center field for an error that allowed Joc Pederson to jog home from third. McCarthy struck out on the next pitch to end the inning.

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Moore walked Pederson to open the seventh and Ellis launched a fly ball to the wall in left, where Dickerson made a leaping catch.

“I hit it well, but I didn’t think I caught it flush,” Ellis said. “I was hopeful that in a day game at Dodger Stadium it would go out, but it was a yard short. That’s why I [came in after the game and] walked into the weight room.”

Moore got Chase Utley to pop out, and reliever Kevin Jepsen got Kendrick to pop to first baseman Logan Morrison, who made a spectacular catch while tumbling over the short wall in foul territory and falling into the first row of seats.

It was Kendrick’s first infield popup since 2013.

“He was battling the sun, he fell over and kept his glove up the whole time,” Kendrick said of Morrison. “It was a great play by him.”

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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