Getting ugly

The Dodgers might have to turn their attention at the trading deadline to acquiring a pitcher, especially now that they are no longer so desperate for another bat. Kuo clearly isn’t going to last in the rotation, but the club is running out of alternatives, unless Ned and Grady want to give D.J. Houlton a shot. Kuo gave up seven runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 tonight, in a critical game for the Dodgers. Dodgers might get back into this one — they have runners on the corners after Nomar finally got a hit and Loney get yet another one — but they can’t keep letting Kuo put them in five-run holes like this. Padres 7, Dodgers 2, bottom 4

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Tonight’s lineup: Nomar returns, Kemp starts against RH, Ethier sits

Ethier/Kemp isn’t going to be a straight platoon because Kemp, as a right-handed hitter, wouldn’t get nearly enough at-bats that way. Nomar is hitting sixth for the second time after one day in the seven hole. The Dodgers’ seventh (.476) and eighth (.421) hitters tonight are both hitting well above .400

SS Furcal
CF Pierre
C Martin
2B Kent
LF Gonzo
3B Nomar
1B Loney
RF Kemp
LH Kuo

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This weekend at Dodger Stadium, enter at your own risk

Watch out for flying beer bottles. And bags of baseballs. And airborne bats. Yes, it’s true, Milton Bradley is back. Or at least he will be on Sunday. The volatile one has been traded to San Diego from Oakland, giving him a second go-round with former Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta (because it was sooooo successful the first time), who now is a special assistant in the Pods’ front office. I’m told he won’t arrive until Sunday’s series finale, but that will at least give Dodgers fans one game to, ummmmmmm, welcome him back with open arms (that is, when they aren’t ducking beer bottles). Funny how that oblique injury he used to avoid being traded to Kansas City has healed so miraculously. The shame of it is, the Padres have had such a good thing going for the past couple of years, winning division titles with a closeknit clubhouse with very few major distractions. Well, that much is about to change, as Milton embarks on his 2,332nd fresh start (actually, it’s his third fresh start — in the past four seasons). But hey, maybe this time, it’ll really work. And maybe by next week, I’ll be dating Jessica Biel. What a world.

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Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 5

Brett Tomko almost got one of those three-inning saves because there was nobody out when he came in in the seventh inning and he would have finished the game — except that he didn’t finish the game. He gave up three consecutive one-out hits in the ninth and then walked Stephen Drew, all in an inning that began with the Dodgers leading by six runs. The walk to Drew brought the potential tying run to the on-deck circle, which created a save situation for Saito on a day when the Dodgers had led 9-1 at one point. … In a statistical oddity, the Dodgers left at least one runner on base in all nine innings, a total of 13 for the second game in a row, but this time, obviously, it wasn’t nearly as costly. That goes a long way toward explaining why this game took 3 1/2 hours to complete. … Dodgers go to 45-34 and pull even with the Pods for first place, a half-game ahead of the Snakes. Dodgers have now won seven of nine from the Snakes this season, including five of six in PHX.

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A big, big win for the boys

Well, as big a win as you can have in Game No. 79, anyway. This gives them a winning road trip and a touch of momentum — especially offensively — heading into the big series with the Pods. This lineup has really come alive since the change of hitting coaches. On this 10-game trip, the Dodgers have reached double figures in hits seven times. Assuming they don’t tack on a few more in the ninth, they will average 5.5 runs a game on this trip. The guess here is that Bill Mueller will be the hitting coach as long as he wants to be … but nobody, including Bill Mueller, knows how long he wants to be. … Dodgers 9, D-backs 3, bottom 8

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