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Unearned Runs Equal Unearned Playoff Spot For Dodgers

Three unearned runs by the Pirates, plus a dormant night from the Dodger offense put the playoff plans on hold for at least another day, as the Dodgers lost to the Pirates 3-1 at PNC Park.

Two potential double play grounders were botched by the Dodgers, leading to all the Pittsburgh runs. In the first inning, a grounder to Blake DeWitt may or may not have been a double play (the ball was hit slowly), but it didn't matter as DeWitt threw the ball into right field, turning a potential bases empty, two out situation into a first-and-third, nobody out rally. A sacrifice fly brought home the first unearned run.

After a pair of doubles by Blake DeWitt and Orlando Hudson tied the game in the second, the Dodger defense made another key miscue in the third inning. With one out and runners on first and second, catcher Ryan Doumit grounded to James Loney for a potential 3-6-3 double play. However, Loney was anxious, putting his hand in his glove before fielding the ball, botching the play and hurting his thumb in the process, although he stayed in the game. Instead of the inning being over, a two-out single by Brandon Moss plated unearned runs two and three for the Pirates.

After that, the Dodgers never had much of a rally the rest of the game. The only time they had more than one runner on base in an inning was the fourth, but Matt Kemp was picked off before Blake DeWitt doubled, negating that scoring opportunity. Manny Ramirez came to the plate as the tying run in the eighth, but he grounded sharply to second base for an inning-ending double play.

For the second straight game, every run given up by Jon Garland was unearned. He last gave up an earned run on September 14, and has a current streak of 15 straight innings without allowing an earned run.

The Braves and Rockies both won, so the best the Dodgers can do tomorrow is clinch a playoff spot. The earliest they can clinch the NL West is Sunday.

Magic Numbers
To win NL West: 3 (Rockies beat the Cardinals 2-1)
To clinch a playoff spot: 1 (over the Braves, who beat the Nationals 4-1)

Randy Wolf faces off with Paul Maholm tomorrow night.

WP - Donald Veal (2-0): 2 IP, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts

LP - Jon Garland (11-12): 6 IP, 6 hits, 3 unearned runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts

Sv - Matt Capps (26): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts

Box Score