Dodgers' ninth-inning rally goes to waste in 7-6 loss to Tigers

KEY MOMENT: Yasiel Puig had not played since spraining a thumb on a headfirst dive Saturday. But, as the Dodgers loaded the bases with none out in the ninth inning, there was Puig, headed to the on-deck circle and then the plate, as Dodger Stadium went nuts. Puig struck out looking, but the Dodgers scored three runs off Detroit closer Joe Nathan to force extra innings.

AT THE PLATE: Carl Crawford had a pair of doubles, Juan Uribe had three singles, and Dee Gordon had two singles. Gordon, who had 22 hits in 94 at-bats last season, has 12 hits in 32 at-bats this season. Adrian Gonzalez hit the Dodgers' lone home run. Matt Kemp struck out three times and has eight strikeouts in 18 at-bats this season.

ON THE MOUND: Of the five runs starter Josh Beckett gave up, one was unearned because of an error by Gordon, and another could have been avoided had the Dodgers had someone with a stronger throwing arm than Crawford in left field. The oft-maligned Brandon League pitched two shutout innings and has not given up a run in four innings this season.

PITCHING PLANS: Swingman Paul Maholm worked the ninth inning, meaning Dan Haren probably will start Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Manager Don Mattingly said reliever Brian Wilson (nerve irritation in pitching elbow) probably would not be able to return April 15, when he is eligible to be activated, but could return April 20 or 21. The Dodgers cleared roster space for Beckett by optioning reliever Jose Dominguez to triple-A Albuquerque.

EXTRA BASES: Puig was not in the starting lineup but took batting practice and hit one ball almost to the back of the left-field pavilion. His thumb was heavily taped. Puig also had a long on-field conversation with – and a big hug for -- Tigers defensive coordinator Matt Martin, his first professional manager. In 2012, Puig spent the first nine games of his pro career with the Dodgers' Arizona rookie league club, hitting four home runs. Martin managed the club.

UP NEXT: The Dodgers are off Thursday. They open a three-game series in Arizona on Friday at 6:40 PDT, with the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-1, 3.86) facing the Diamondbacks' Brandon McCarthy (0-1, 7.82). On the air: TV: SportsNet LA; Radio: 570, 1020.

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