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.

Postgame: Dodgers 4, Giants 2

The Dodgers beat the Giants 4-2 tonight in the first of three games in San Francisco. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Timely hitting gave the Dodgers the victory tonight, even though they went just 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. All four runs came in the fourth on a Matt Kemp three-run double and Mark Loretta RBI single.

Hiroki Kuroda turned in a solid start, giving up just one run on six hits in 6 1/3 innings. It was also his longest outing since June and gave him wins in consecutive starts for the first time this season.

Joe Torre used his bullpen by the book. Hong-Chih Kuo faced one batter after replacing Kuroda, Ronald Belisario came in to set up a righty-righty matchup, and George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth and ninth innings. Kuo, Belisario, and Sherrill all got holds. You hear a lot of criticism of the Dodger pen, but there are quite a few solid arms.

ETC…ETC:

Broxton gave up a solo jack to Bengie Molina and a single to Randy Winn with one out in the ninth, but he got Fred Lewis to ground into a force out and Juan Castro made a nice play on a Ryan Garko grounder to end the game.

Chad Billingsley won’t make his Wednesday start with the hamstring injury, so the Dodgers will have to bring up another Triple-A starter or use Jeff Weaver, barring a waiver wire pickup. Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger has a 3.55 ERA in 22 starts with Albuquerque, and he averages nearly seven innings a start.

The Dodgers victory puts them 6.5 games in front of the Giants in the NL West, but the Rockies — on the strength of a cycle by Troy Tulowitzki — stayed 5.5 back.

ON DECK:

Randy Wolf (5-6, 3.55) and Joe Martinez (2-0, 5.87) take to the mound in the second game of the series.

Postgame: Braves 8, Dodgers 2

The Braves beat the Dodgers 8-2 today to win the series 3-1. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Not a good day for the Dodgers. Eric Stults kept the game close in a spot start, but the bullpen couldn’t keep the team in the game. Manny Ramirez went 3-for-4 but the team went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Javier Vasquez was really dealing for the Braves. His stuff looked great throughout, and he shut the Dodgers down to the tune of eight innings of one-run baseball. The Blue had only two extra-base hits in the game, doubles by Manny Ramirez and Orlando Hudson.

Matt Diaz homered in the second, but the Braves didn’t really put together any significant on offense until the ninth, where five hits and a walk, capped by a two-run single by Martin Prado, made the score 8-1.

ETC…ETC:

The Dodgers put together a brief rally in the ninth but Mark Loretta, starting for James Loney at first, flew out to end the game.

Stults, recalled earlier today to replace Tony Abreu on the active roster, certainly did what we asked. He pitched five innings, giving up three runs while on just two days’ rest after a Triple-A start Thursday.

There’s definitely cause to be worried about Ramon Troncoso. Since pitching back-to-back-to-back games July 18-20, his ERA has been a not-so-hot 13.50 in six innings of work. He’s given up 15 hits and struck out just four in that time and was shelled in today’s ninth inning.

Don’t look now, but both the Giants and Rockies are tied for the NL Wild Card lead 61-50 and are just 5.5 games back of the Dodgers in the West. The Rockies are a simply incredible 43-22 since Jim Tracy took over as manager on May 29.

ON DECK:

Hiroki Kuroda (4-5, 4.44) and Jonathan Sanchez (5-9, 4.49 and of no-hitter fame) match up in the first game of a crucial three-game set in San Francisco. The Dodgers won’t have to face Matt Cain but Tim Lincecum is set to take the ball Wednesday.

Postgame: Braves 2, Dodgers 1

The Braves beat the Dodgers 2-1 in 10 innings tonight. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

For the second consecutive night, the Braves won it in extras — this time in the tenth on a Kelly Johnson two-run homer off Guillermo Mota. Andre Ethier hit an RBI double but Matt Kemp grounded out with runners on second and first to end the game.

The game had been scoreless until the tenth, as both Clayton Kershaw (7 innings, 2 hits, 10 strikeouts) and Kenshin Kawakami (7 innings, 4 hits) shut down the opposition. The Braves’ Kris Medlen got the win by pitching two scoreless innings in relief.

The Braves had three hits in the game. No typo. A double by Ryan Church to lead off the game, a Garrett Anderson single in the fourth inning, and Johnson’s homer.

ETC…ETC:

Ronald Belisario made a surprising early return from the disabled list and was effective in pitching part of the eighth. He walked one but got two outs before being removed for George Sherrill.

Manny Ramirez went 0-for-4 to lower his average to .302. Tony Abreu, making his first start in the big leagues since 2007, went 1-for-3 with a walk.

Tomorrow’s starter still hasn’t been announced — but it’s likely to be Jeff Weaver. Weaver last pitched on Monday against the Brewers. He’s made five starts this season.

The Dodgers have won just six of their last 16 games. They’re currently 1 1/2 games back of the Yankees for the best record in baseball.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers will attempt to salvage a 2-2 series split with the Braves tomorrow, with Javier Vasquez (9-7, 2.99) facing a TBD starter for the Blue at 1:10 p.m.

Postgame: Braves 9, Dodgers 5 (12 innings)

The Braves beat the Dodgers 9-5 in 12 innings late last night. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

The Braves won it in the 12th on an RBI base hit that unlocked the 5-5 tie, then broke it open with a three-run homer by Ryan Church. Jonathan Broxton, who entered the game with a 5-4 lead in the ninth, blew the save.

The loss went to Ramon Troncoso, who simply wasn’t effective beginning the 12th inning. Scott Elbert, the Sunday starter (as announced today), then entered in relief and gave up the bomb to Church.

Chad Billingsley pitched six strong innings but again exited early due to injury, this time with a left hamstring strain termed mild. Sunday he left early with a right hamstring strain. He allowed four hits and three walks in his six innings of work.

Only two Dodgers had multiple-hit performances, as Casey Blake went 3-for-6 with a home run and Russell Martin went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .271.

ETC…ETC:

Only James McDonald shined out of the bullpen tonight, as he pitched two perfect innings. Hong-Chih Kuo had his first bad outing since his return from the disabled list, getting only one of three batters out. George Sherrill wasn’t charged with any runs but gave up three hits in 1 2/3 innings.

It could be speculated that Broxton blew the save in part due to a fan that ran onto the field in the top of the ninth. From that point, he walked Nate McLouth and wasn’t in control.

Manny Ramirez went 0-for-3 with a walk before leaving in a double switch to start the ninth. Andre Ethier went 0-for-2 with, count ‘em, four walks.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers send LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.89) against Braves RHP Kenshin Kawakami (5-9, 4.38).

Postgame: Dodgers 9, Braves 1

The Dodgers beat the Braves 9-1 today at Turner Field to win the three-game set in Atlanta. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

19 hits for the Dodgers tonight, as Matt Kemp (3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI) and James Loney (3-for-6, 2 RBI) shined on national television.

Chad Billingsley threw five solid innings but exited early with an apparent right hamstring cramp. He attempted to convince Joe Torre that he could stay in, so things don’t look too serious.

Jair Jurrjens has been one of the best hurlers in baseball thus far, but the Dodgers got hold of him pretty well in the fifth. He ended up with a line of 10 hits, two walks, and four runs in five innings.

ETC…ETC:

When Jason Schmidt comes up to pinch hit and knocks a single, you know you’re going good. Schmidt pinch hit for Billingsley in the sixth and eventually came around to score.

Braves outfielder Matt Diaz on Ramon Troncoso: “I don’t know what the role that last guy has on their team. But I know he has a 2.00 ERA and nasty stuff. He’s not their setup guy and he’s not their closer. So when you’ve got that guy just getting innings, that’s a pretty deep bullpen.”

Casey Blake hurt his hand lifting weights over the weekend and was unavailable today, leading to a Mark Loretta start. X-rays on Blake were reportedly negative. Loretta had his first two-hit game since June 25.

Scott Elbert pitched well in relief of Billingsley, going 2 2/3 innings and being charged with just one run. George Sherrill replaced Guillermo Mota in a double switch and got Chipper Jones to fly out to end an Atlanta mini-rally.

ON DECK:

Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.76) and Manny Parra (5-8, 6.50) meet tomorrow at Dodger Stadium.

Postgame: Braves 4, Dodgers 3

The Braves beat the Dodgers 4-3 today at Turner Field. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Randy Wolf turned in his seventh consecutive quality start but took the loss again, falling to 5-6 after allowing nine hits in his five innings of work.

The Dodgers had two leads early on, 2-1 in the fourth and 3-2 in the sixth, but failed to hold on to both.

Former Dodger Derek Lowe essentially matched Wolf, allowing three runs in six innings as well. The Braves’ bullpen shut the Blue down. Rafael Soriano blew Casey Blake, James Loney, Matt Kemp away in the ninth to get his 16th save.

ETC…ETC:

The Dodgers had only six hits as Manny Ramirez continued to struggle, going 0-for-3 to lower his average to .310 and .182 since the pinch-hit grand slam.

Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo threw a scoreless inning. He hasn’t given up a hit in 3 2/3 innings since returning.

Reliever Ronald Belisario threw a simulated game today, and looks to be on pace to return sometime in mid-August.

ON DECK:

Chad Billingsley (10-6, 3.96) and Jair Jurrjens (9-7, 2.69) start tomorrow at 5:15 P.M. PST.