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MLB: Breaks go against Dodgers

Brewers capitalize on key error; L.A. struggles to drive in runners

Posted: May 28, 2012 10:14 p.m.
Updated: May 28, 2012 10:14 p.m.

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis flips his bat in frustration after striking out against the Brewers during the eighth inning on Monday in Los Angeles.

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LOS ANGELES — Despite dealing with a rash of injuries to starters in the past month, the Los Angeles Dodgers have dealt with it all in stride, making all the right lineup shifts and minor league call-ups.

On Monday night, the team with the best record in baseball finally ran into a bad break it couldn’t overcome.

An error in the sixth inning helped the Milwaukee Brewers score two unearned runs to take the lead for good in a 3-2 win over Los Angeles to open a four-game series at Dodger Stadium on Memorial Day.

The sixth-inning rally began when Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki hit a tapper toward Dodgers starting pitcher Aaron Harang, who then made a throw to first that appeared to pull James Loney off the base.

Aoki was called safe and would later score the go-ahead run in the inning.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly argued the call at first base.

“I don’t know. You get tired of being diplomatic,” Mattingly said of the call. “I just asked (the umpire) to get help. We had a pretty good view of it. It’s a play when the guy goes across the line, it makes it look bad. He was on the bag and we knew it.”

Aoki scored two batters later on Aramis Ramirez’s RBI single to center, putting an end to Harang’s day after 96 pitches.

Rickie Weeks later plated Ryan Braun on a sacrifice flyout to make it a 3-1 Milwaukee lead.

The Dodgers (32-16) didn’t go away easily, scoring a run in the eighth when Jerry Hairston Jr. knocked home Bobby Abreu on a single to left field.

In the ninth inning, Los Angeles brought the tying runner to second base, but Elian Herrera struck out to end the threat, stranding the ninth runner of the game for the National League West-leading Dodgers.

Harang (3-3) went five-plus innings in a losing effort, allowing just a single earned run — a Ramirez solo home run in the fourth – off four hits and four walks. He struck out four.

“I was just getting too deep into counts,” Harang said. “They were battling off some good pitches and it’ll run up your pitch count real fast.”

Brewers starter Shaun Marcum also had to labor through parts of the game, but he got through seven innings while limiting the damage to an Andre Ethier RBI double in the first inning.

That brought Ethier’s National League-leading RBI total to 42 on the year.

The Dodgers scored their only other run off reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

Marcum improved to 3-3 on the year after allowing six hits and striking out nine for Milwaukee (20-28).

“(Marcum gets) some hitters thinking off-speed down, throw a fastball high,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. “Location was great. After the first inning, outstanding.”

Los Angeles did have its chances, going 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position with a lineup still missing four starters due to injuries.

One starter, All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp, is scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list today.

Even without him, the Dodgers went 9-5.

“We’ve kind of survived this 15-day period and there’s a lot of baseball to be played,” Mattingly said. “We still have a long way to go.”

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