Postgame: Cubs 3, Dodgers 1

The Cubs beat the Dodgers 3-1 today. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS
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Chad Billingsley was effective, but didn’t have his best stuff. He lasted six innings, allowing three earned runs and nine hits.

The Dodgers’ only run came in the second inning off a Tony Abreu RBI single. It was only Abreu’s second start with the big club this year.

The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster went 7+ innings, allowing only four baserunners and one earned run.

ETC…ETC:

Cubs closer Carlos Marmol pitched an impressive ninth to get the save; he struck out two Dodgers, including Manny Ramirez on a called strike three to end the game.

Mark Loretta made another start at first base and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. The Dodgers only had three hits: Abreu’s, a pinch-hit single by Juan Pierre, and a double by Andre Ethier.

With a Colorado victory, the Dodgers are now just 3.5 games in front of the Rockies.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers have a day off tomorrow before traveling to Colorado for a three-game set.

Postgame: Dodgers 2, Cubs 0

The Dodgers beat the Cubs today 2-0 at Dodger Stadium. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Charlie Haeger simply shut the down the Cubs today, going 7+ scoreless innings and earning his first win with the Dodgers. He allowed only three hits and four walks.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ two runs came on solo jacks from Matt Kemp and Casey Blake. Kemp’s homer, a huge shot to left, came in the second inning, and Blake’s was in the fourth.

Interestingly, Jonathan Broxton — who’s posted a 3.86 ERA in August — pitched the eighth, and George Sherrill pitched the ninth. Sherrill was a bit shaky in the ninth, but got the job done in his first save opportunity as a Dodger. He’s still yet to give up a run since he was acquired.

ETC…ETC:

In the eighth inning, Matt Kemp lost a fly ball while playing right field. It was ruled a double, and it put runners on second and third with one out for Aramis Ramirez, but Broxton shut the door.

Haeger threw more fastballs today then the two he threw in his first start, but he still made his living with the knuckler. It’d be hard to not give him another go after that performance.

The Rockies and Giants play at 5 p.m. If Colorado wins, they’ll stay just 4.5 games back of the Dodgers.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers try to sweep the four-game set with the Cubs, sending Chad Billingsley (12-6, 3.70) against Ryan Dempster (6-7, 4.28).

Postgame: Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 3

The Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks today 9-3. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Randy Wolf was on his game today, pitching 7 2/3 strong innings and knocking three hits (including a home run and a double) while getting his seventh win.

The top of the lineup was quite productive for the Dodgers today — especially in the first inning, when Andre Ethier drove in Matt Kemp and Orlando Hudson to begin the game, putting the Dodgers at a 3-0 advantage before Arizona starter Yusmeiro Petit recorded an out.

Hiroki Kuroda is okay, amazingly. He wants to throw his bullpen tomorrow — that’s not likely to happen, but it looks like it could be a shorter timetable for his return than was originally thought.

ETC…ETC

More on Wolf: He ended up allowing three runs, all in the eighth, but that doesn’t speak to how masterful he was. He recorded 20 straight outs at one point and provided 3 RBI of his own. He also had a season-high 10 strikeouts.

Hitters 9-3 in the Dodgers lineup: 11-for-19. Hitters 4-8: 2-for-17, including an 0-fer from Manny Ramirez.

Arizona’s Mark Reynolds, who punished the Dodgers’ Jonathan Broxton with a home run in the ninth inning last night, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts tonight.

ON DECK:

Chris Carpenter (12-3, 2.27) faces Charlie Haeger (making his Dodgers debut) in the first game of a crucial homestand for the Dodgers tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Postgame: Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3 (10 innings)

The Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 4-3 tonight in 10 innings. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

The big story for the Dodgers tonight was what happened to starter Hiroki Kuroda. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Arizona pinch-hitter Rusty Ryal lined a 2-2 pitch right back at Kuroda’s right temple, and the 34-year-old righthander went down immediately. He did move, however, and CAT scans taken after the game at St. Joseph’s Hospital were negative.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers held a 3-1 lead into the ninth but closer Jonathan Broxton allowed back-to-back homers — only his third and fourth homers allowed of the season — to blow the save.

The Blue couldn’t put anything together offensively in the tenth, and the D’Backs came back with a perfectly executed bottom half of the inning off of Ramon Troncoso to get the win. Augie Ojeda singled, Dan Haren bunted him to second, and after two walks, Gerardo Parra hit a walk-off single.

ETC…ETC

The Dodgers took a 3-0 lead, but Ryal’s hit — ruled a ground-rule double — sparked the first run for the D’Backs. From there, the L.A. offense wasn’t the same, with only two hits.

Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill both feasted on an Arizona lineup that was incredibly left-handed in scoreless seventh and eighth innings. The 1-7 hitters in the D’Backs order were lefties.

Offensively, Brad Ausmus had an RBI single in the second, Doug Davis threw a pick-off away in the fifth to score Rafael Furcal, and Mark Loretta hit a sac fly to bring in Casey Blake in the sixth inning.

Matt Kemp didn’t have a hit but still wreaked havoc on the basepaths, reaching base via walk in the tenth inning and stealing second and third.

ON DECK:

Randy Wolf (6-6, 3.43) tries to salvage a game for the Dodgers against Arizona’s Yusmeiro Petit (2-6, 5.87) tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Breaking: Hiroki Kuroda hit in the head by line drive

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Arizona pinch-hitter Rusty Ryal. Ryal, replacing D’Backs starter Doug Davis, hit a 2-2 pitch right back up the middle. Kuroda reacted violently to the ball and hardly moved while on the ground. Ryal appeared apologetic; among notable Dodger reactions included 21-year-old lefthander Clayton Kershaw, who looked legitimately shocked. Eventually, a car came to take Kuroda away and James McDonald replaced him. We’ll know more later.

Postgame: Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 1

The Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 4-1 tonight at Chase Field. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Clayton Kershaw didn’t have one of his better outings, lasting only 4 1/3 innings while walking four and giving up six hits. He was charged with four runs, all of which came in the second inning.

The Dodgers were shut down by one of the better pitchers in baseball, as Arizona righthander Dan Haren went eight strong innings. The only run he allowed was a fifth-inning homer by Matt Kemp — Kemp’s 17th of the year.

Manny Ramirez went 3-for-4 batting fourth, but the 1-3 spots in the order — Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin, and Andre Ethier — were an alarming 0-for-10.

ETC…ETC

The Dodgers announced the signing of second-round pick Garrett Gould to a $900,000 bonus. Ken Gurnick has more on the 18-year-old from Kansas.

One good sign was the performance of the bullpen, which pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings once Kershaw exited. Ramon Troncoso, Ronald Belisario, and Guillermo Mota combined to allow only one baserunner in that time.

Haren also hit the Dodgers well, knocking an RBI single off Kershaw in the second and hitting Andre Ethier in the eighth in an apparent retaliation. Belisario had hit Arizona’ Mark Reynolds in the seventh.

A Rockies loss to Florida means the Dodgers stay five games in front of Colorado.

ON DECK:

Hiroki Kuroda (5-5, 4.21) and Doug Davis (7-10, 3.62) in game two in Arizona.

Postgame: Dodgers 9, Giants 1

The Dodgers beat the Giants 9-1 tonight in San Francisco. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Randy Wolf was dominant in eight innings of work, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk. He got his sixth win of the year and lowered his ERA to 3.43.

Manny Ramirez was truly a formidable force in the Dodger lineup, going 2-for-3 with a double, a homer, and 3 RBI, as well as two intentional walks. No. 3 hitter Andre Ethier went 3-for-5.

The runs for the Dodgers came in bunches — four in the fifth and five in the seventh. Ethier led off the scoring with a fifth-inning two-run double, and Matt Kemp capped it with a three-run homer in the seventh.

ETC…ETC:

Juan Castro made the start for the injured Orlando Hudson. Hudson’s likely to miss tomorrow’s series capper but is listed as day-to-day.

Jeff Weaver was announced as the starter for tomorrow’s game, replacing ace Chad Billingsley, who’s out with a hamstring strain. Weaver has posted a 2-1 record and 3.47 ERA in five starts so far this season while working primarily out of the bullpen.

The Giants had only one hit after the fifth inning, a single by Pablo Sandoval in the ninth. James McDonald retired the side in the ninth on just seven pitches by then getting Juan Uribe to ground into a double play and Ryan Garko to foul out.

ON DECK:

Jeff Weaver (5-4, 3.90) faces Tim Lincecum (12-3, 2.20) as the Dodgers try to sweep San Francisco.