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Dodgers Let One Slip Out Of Their Grasp

Missed opportunities were the theme of the day in Atlanta, as the Dodgers and Randy Wolf lost to Old Friend Derek Lowe and the Braves, 4-3.

The bottom of the sixth inning was one Russell Martin would sure like to have back.  Leading 3-2, with two outs and Adam LaRoche on first base, Martin threw an attempted pickoff play down the right field line, allowing LaRoche to move into scoring position.  LaRoche isn't exactly a speedster, and is four for 12 in career stolen base attempts.  I'm willing to entertain the idea that a pickoff throw was to keep LaRoche from straying too far off the bag at first, but is it worth it trying to pickoff someone so slow? 

The next batter, Diory Hernandez -- he of the .145/.198/.224 line entering today -- lofted a single to right field.  Andre Ethier uncorked a strong throw home that was in plenty of time to nail LaRoche at the plate, but Martin dropped the throw.  Wolf then allowed another single, this time to Greg Norton -- hitting .135/.286/.173 coming in -- which scored Hernandez for the go-ahead run.

The Dodgers could have built a bigger lead by scoring earlier in the game.  The Dodgers loaded the bases with nobody out, and cashed in two runs, but also had runners on first and third with one out, but a Matt Kemp strikeout and Russell Martin lineout ended the rally.

In the top of the seventh, Orlando Hudson doubled to deep center with one out, but was doubled off second base when he ran on contact on Juan Pierre's line drive to center field, which was caught on a diving play by Nate McLouth.

Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano retired the Dodgers in order over the last two innings to close out the game.

Among the positives for the Dodgers was that Hong-Chih Kuo continued his comeback, pitching for the third time in four days.  Kuo retired the side in the seventh, striking out Garret Anderson to end the inning.  Since being activated off the disabled list Monday, Kuo has retired all 11 batters he has faced (that he didn't intentionally walk).

With Kuo's returned health, and the anticipated return of Ronald Belisario, per Ken Gurnick of, the Dodger bullpen looks as solid as it has ever been.

Ethier homered for the second straight game, and is hitting .412/.500/.784 over his last 12 games.

Wolf pitched six innings for the seventh straight start, and for the 19th time in 23 starts this season.

Doug Mientkiewicz, who played in four rehabilitation games in Albuquerque, returned to Los Angeles today, where he will be reevaluated by the training staff while continuing to train at Dodger Stadium.

Chad Billingsley faces off against Jair Jurrjens tomorrow night on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, as the Dodgers try to win the series.

WP - Derek Lowe (11-7):  6 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

LP - Randy Wolf (5-6):  6 IP, 9 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Sv - Rafael Soriano (16):  1 IP, 1 strikeout

Box Score