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Dodgers waste opportunities in 7-3 loss to Cubs

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Lisa Blumenfeld

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp homered again and Drew Butera had one of the best offensive games of his career, but the Dodgers couldn't cash in their opportunities in a 7-3 loss to the Cubs on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

Each team doubled to open the first inning, Chris Coghlan for the Cubs and Justin Turner for the Dodgers. Both players scored, though the Dodgers left another run on the table thanks to a bad read by Turner.

With Turner on second base and Yasiel Puig on first base and nobody out, Adrian Gonzalez drove a ball to the right center field gap that was pretty clearly not going to be caught; in fact, it hit the right field wall on the fly. But Turner waited near second base, and not only was he unable to score but he prevented Puig from advancing to third base. Turner scored on a ground ball double play by Hanley Ramirez.

Neither pitcher was particularly efficient, though they were able to keep runs off the board through four innings. Josh Beckett struck out six but needed 85 pitches to complete four innings. He opened the fifth inning by allowing a double hit to the center field wall by Edwin Jackson, then a home run to the same spot, only further, by Chris Coghlan, a two-run shot that gave Chicago a 3-1 lead.

Arismendy Alcantara followed with a single, ending Beckett's day. Beckett allowed three runs on six hits in his four-plus innings, with six strikeouts and three walks.

Paco Rodriguez followed with a pair of scoreless innings, facing only five batters as he also picked off Alcantara, to keep the Dodgers close.

Kemp crushed a ball to left center field in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 3-2, his fifth home run in the last six games.

That was all the Dodgers would get off Jackson, who struck out six in his six innings for the win. He walked none for just the third time all season, a vast improvement over the 18 walks and only 25 strikeouts Jackson had in his last seven starts.

Drew Butera doubled with one out in the seventh inning to put the tying run in scoring position. He was 2-for-3 with two doubles on the day, the first game in his career with two extra-base hits. But a potential game-tying line drive double by Carl Crawford was snagged by leaping first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who fired to second base to double up Butera to end the inning.

The Cubs broke the game open in the eighth inning against Brandon League, who walked the first three batters of the inning on 13 pitches. All three runners scored, continuing a disturbing trend for League. He has five walks since his last strikeout, and in his last 78 batters faced (dating back to June 7) he has 12 walks and only five strikeouts.

The Dodgers rallied for a run in the eighth to cut the deficit to 6-3 but that threat ended with Ramirez's second double play grounder of the day.

The Cubs answered back in the ninth with a solo home run by Luis Valbuena off Chris Perez to close out the scoring.

Sunday particulars

Home runs: Matt Kemp (13); Chris Coghlan (6); Luis Valbuena (10)

WP - Edwin Jackson (5-11): 6 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 6 strikeouts

LP - Josh Beckett (6-6): 4+ IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts