Ted Lilly has a balky first start

There will be plenty of more days for Ted Lilly to demonstrate why the Dodgers are paying him $33 million.

He's under contract for three years.

Lilly was rocked in his first start since the Dodgers made him their most expensive signing of the winter, as he lasted only 42/3 innings in a 10-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.

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The veteran left-hander was charged with four runs, three of which came in an unsightly fifth inning that blew open the game.

Lilly seemed to be doing fine until he was called for a balk attempting to pick Aaron Rowand off first base in the fifth. Instead of having the bases empty with two outs — Rowand would have been out at second base had the balk not been called — the Giants had a runner in scoring position with one out.

Rowand scored on a single by Miguel Tejada, who in turn scored on a double by Freddy Sanchez. Aubrey Huff singled to knock in Sanchez.

Lilly's day was over.

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Lilly said he watched a replay of the balk.

"I've done that quite a few times and certainly more times than not, it's not called a balk," he said. "But there have been times when it was something like that and they do call it a balk. I guess it's hard to define what the actual rule is. It's just left up to umpires' discretion, so there's certainly no point in arguing."

Lopes leaves team

First base coach Dave Lopes wasn't at Dodger Stadium on Saturday because of a death in his family. Lopes is expected to miss the series finale against the Giants on Sunday and could be away from the team when it plays in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On Friday, the Dodgers begin a three-game series in San Diego, where Lopes makes his home.

In his absence, assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen will coach first base.

The second baseman on the Dodgers' famed infield of the 1970s, Lopes is credited for introducing the aggressive baserunning style that lifted the team to its two victories this season.

First hit for Gimenez

Looking at the baseball that was enclosed in a plastic case, Hector Gimenez suddenly became quiet.

"I'll always have this to remember that moment," he said.

The baseball was one Gimenez slapped to left-center field in the seventh inning for his first career major-league hit.

Some comedy ensued. When the ball was thrown into the dugout, it was received by Rafael Furcal, who had another ball in hand. Furcal threw the decoy ball into the stands.

This is only the second stint in the majors for the 28-year-old catcher from Venezuela. His first was in 2006 as a September call-up for the Houston Astros. He had two at-bats, striking out and grounding out to shortstop.

Shoulder surgery turned him from a top prospect to a minor league journeyman.

Gimenez pinch-hit on Friday and reached on an error.

Casey's comeback

Casey Blake is eligible to be activated Wednesday, but Manager Don Mattingly said the earliest the third baseman will be activated will be two days after that. With the Dodgers in Colorado on Wednesday and off Thursday, Mattingly said it makes sense to wait until the Dodgers are in San Diego to make a roster move.

Blake, who is recovering from a back injury, has been playing in minor league games at the Dodgers' spring training complex in Arizona.


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