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.

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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.

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Postgame: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 3 (10 innings)

The Dodgers beat the Cardinals 5-3 tonight to end their season-high four-game losing streak. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Oh, was this one big. The Dodgers eeked out a victory to salvage a game out this four-game set with the Cardinals. Neither the pitching nor the offense was great, but the Blue found a way to win.

Matt Kemp came up with the game-winning single in the top of the 10th, knocking in two runs with two outs against Todd Wellemeyer.

The 1-4 hitters in the Dodgers lineup went 1-for-17, including a woeful 0-for-5 day for Manny Ramirez on the day his name came up in a New York Times report that said he tested positive for PEDs in 2003.

Hiroki Kuroda turned in a quality start, going six innings and giving up two runs. Cardinal starter Kyle Lohse did him better, allowing only one run in his six frames.

ETC…ETC:

The Dodgers revamped their bullpen today, trading for George Sherrill and replacing Brent Leach on the active roster with Scott Elbert. The ‘pen did a solid job, allowing only one run in four innings — a solo shot by Rick Ankiel off Guillermo Mota. It broke Mota’s 20+ scoreless innings streak.

Casey Blake went 4-for-5 and scored two runs. Matt Kemp had two other hits besides the game-winner and had an incredible stolen base in which he took off before Kyle Lohse even started his delivery.

Jonathan Broxton got the save but didn’t look all that impressive a day after he blew a crucial save attempt. His fastball didn’t appear to have the same velocity as usual and he walked the leadoff batter, Joe Thurston.

ON DECK:

Jason Schmidt (1-1, 7.88) and Tommy Hanson (5-1, 2.95) at 4:30 P.M. PST in Atlanta tomorrow.

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Postgame: Dodgers 4, Marlins 3

The Dodgers beat the Marlins 4-3 tonight at Dodger Stadium. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Casey Blake won it with a walk-off single in the ninth with the bases loaded, two outs, and a 2-2 count. He was facing Marlins reliever Luis Ayala and hit a bloop pop-up that found a hole between second and center.

Hiroki Kuroda turned in only his second quality start this season, going six innings and giving up three runs.

The Dodgers won this one on the strength of their bullpen, as Guillermo Mota and Jonathan Broxton turned in spotless relief (only one walk and no hits allowed in three innings), and they scored three runs off a total of five Marlins relievers. Mota extended his scoreless innings streak to 19. Broxton got the win, his seventh.

Andre Ethier and Orlando Hudson each had three hits as Ethier continued his tear of late. Rafael Furcal went 2-for-5.

ETC…ETC
:

Marlins starter Rick Vandenhurk stymied the Blue, allowing a run in the first but shutting them down before exiting after five innings.

After 14 hits last night, Florida had only six Saturday. No Marlin had more than one hit.

Manny Ramirez went 1-for-5 and struck out in a key situation in the ninth.

ON DECK:

Chris Volstad (7-9, 4.34) and Jason Schmidt (1-0, 5.40) tomorrow night in the rubber game of the three-game set.

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