Jason Kubel’s homer downs Dodgers in 11th inning
Matt Kemp was back in center field. The lineup changed. And if Manager Don Mattingly’s closed-door meeting the previous night did what was intended, so did feeling in the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
But it didn’t matter.
The Dodgers lost again to the Arizona Diamondbacks, this time falling, 4-3, in 11 innings.
Jason Kubel, whom the Dodgers wanted but couldn’t afford last winter, welcomed back Matt Guerrier to the major leagues by hitting a solo home run off him that decided the game. Guerrier, who had been sidelined with elbow problems, had last pitched on April 18.
The loss was the Dodgers’ eighth in a row to the Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers blew an opportunity to make up ground in the National League West standings. The first-place San Francisco Giants fell to the Chicago Cubs earlier in the day.
But the gap in the standings remained at 4 1/2 games. The Dodgers have 29 games left on their schedule.
“To me, I’m not concerned about the Giants,” Mattingly said. “I’m concerned about us.”
What Mattingly said was a variation of a cliche commonly thrown around by baseball managers and players. But in this case, he was probably telling the truth. The Dodgers have problems of their own.
The Dodgers couldn’t make any acquisitions before 8:59 p.m. on Friday, which marked the deadline to add playoff-eligible players. With the Dodgers uncertain of closer Kenley Jansen’s status for the remainder of the season, they were looking to add a reliever.
Mattingly changed what he could: the lineup.
Kemp batted cleanup for the first time this year, trading places with Adrian Gonzalez, who moved into the third spot. Mattingly said he plans to continue batting them in this order.
Mattingly wants Gonzalez and No. 6 hitter Andre Ethier, who both bat left-handed, separated in the lineup.
Early on, the game Friday looked like an extension of the one the night before, which the Dodgers lost, 2-0.
The Dodgers had only one hit off Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill in the first four innings.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, when Chris Johnson tripled in Miguel Montero.
The lead grew to 3-0 in the fifth inning, when Johnson led off with a double and Aaron Harang served up a run-scoring single to Cahill, who scored on a double by Aaron Hill.
Faced with the Dodgers’ first real scoring opportunity of the night, Mattingly faced a decision: whether to bat for Harang with two on and two outs in the fifth inning.
Mattingly had Nick Punto hit for Harang, and Punto reached on an infield hit to load the bases, setting up a two-run single by Mark Ellis that drew the Dodgers to within 3-2.
The Dodgers tied the score in the sixth inning.
Kemp reached on a walk, stole second and advanced to third on a fly ball to right field by Ramirez. Ethier drove in Kemp on a flare single to left field. Kemp raised his arm as he saw Ethier’s hit fall and trotted home, tying the score at 3-3.
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