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: 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.

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: Brewers 6, Dodgers 3

The Brewers beat the Dodgers 6-3 tonight at Miller Park. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

Dodger starter Jeff Weaver went just 3 1/3 innings in what Joe Torre called his worst outing of the year. Still, Weaver was only charged with two earned runs due to a throwing error by Rafael Furcal in the first.

Although he struck out seven in five innings, Brewers starter Mike Burns definitely wasn’t fooling the Dodgers. Still, he got the job done and three Milwaukee relievers combined to toss four scoreless innings.

No one really shined offensively for the Dodgers, as no player had more than one hit. Only Russell Martin and Orlando Hudson were held hitless.

All three LA runs came in the fifth on back-to-back jacks by Rafael Furcal and Andre Ethier.

ETC…ETC:

Scott Elbert — fresh off a call-up from Albuquerque (with Blake DeWitt being sent down — pitched wonderfully, going 2 2/3 hitless while allowing only one walk.

Jonathan Broxton’s going to miss the All-Star Game with a toe injury.

The Dodgers couldn’t get to Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman this time, as the 41-year-old saved his 20th in 1-2-3 fashion after blowing a save last night.

ON DECK:

The Dodgers attempt to win the series in Milwaukee, sending out lefthander Clayton Kershaw (6-5, 3.27) to face Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 2.95) in an 11:05 AM PST start.

Postgame: Dodgers 12, Brewers 8

The Dodgers beat the Brewers 12-8 in 10 innings tonight at Miller Park. For a full recap and boxscore click here.

THE BARE ESSENTIALS:

And what a game that was, as the Dodgers rallied to tie the score in the ninth off Trevor Hoffman and then put up six in the tenth to open the game up, only to have the Brewers put up a mini-rally in the bottom of the tenth off Jonathan Broxton. Still, the Blue came away with the win.

It was the Matt Kemp show tonight, as the snubbed center fielder went 3-for-5, including a masterful bunt for a base hit in the ninth and grand slam in the tenth. That’s not to mention his Willie Mays-esque catch to end the game, running with his head turned towards the wall but still managing to make the grab.

Chad Billingsley struggled, lasting only 5+ and allowing five runs on five hits and four walks. He raised his ERA to 3.37 heading into the all-star break.

Jonathan Broxton wasn’t great either, giving up two runs in the tenth inning in his first appearance since Sunday. It wasn’t a save situation, though. An indicator: Broxton didn’t strike out any of the seven batters he faced.

ETC…ETC.

Five homers for the Dodgers tonight, the most they’ve had in a game since the epic back-to-back-to-back-to-back home run game against San Diego on September 18, 2006. You may remember that Hoffman was the partial culprit in the game as well.

Home run hitters included Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, James Loney, Russell Martin and Kemp.

Solid relief turned in by Guillermo Mota (allowed only one runner to score when he inherited a bases-loaded, no-out situation, Ramon Troncoso (a scoreless inning and two thirds), and Cory Wade (another scoreless inning).

ON DECK:

The Dodgers continue the three-game set in Milwaukee, sending RHP Jeff Weaver (5-2, 3.32) for his first start since June against Brewers RHP Mike Burns (1-2, 5.57) at 4:05 PST.

It’s a no go for Matt Kemp

It was speculated that Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp would replace Carlos Beltran on the NL All-Star roster, but it turns out that Phillies right fielder (and former Dodger) Jayson Werth will be in St. Louis instead. Werth has hit homers in his last four games and evidently proved his all-star worth to Phillies — and NL — manager Charlie Manuel. All three Philadelphia starting outfielders will be All-Stars.

This means that barring a last-minute injury replacement, the Dodgers will have only one position player in St. Louis: second baseman Orlando Hudson. Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton will accompany the O-Dog as well.

Dodgers grab finale, 5-3

Clayton Kershaw was brilliant, the Dodgers’ offense was balanced once again, and the relief corps did just enough to secure a victory in the finale of the rubber game with the Angels, 5-3.

Kershaw delivered a near-virtuoso performance tonight: seven innings, four hits, four walks, and no runs. The 21-year-old, operating without his best stuff, struck out only five but got 11 ground ball outs. He threw 107 pitches in his seven innings of work, his longest outing since May 17 in Florida.

For the first seven innings, the Dodgers offense wasn’t too balanced. It essentially relied on two guys: Matt Kemp to single, and Juan Pierre to send him home with an RBI double. Joe Torre’s recent decision to bat Matt Kemp late in the order as a sort of second leadoff hitter began to really pay dividends tonight, as Kemp’s speed on the bases allowed him to be both a table-setter and potential table-clearer.

Eventually, James Loney hit a two-run shot in the eighth (it was reviewed by the umpires and upheld) and Casey Blake hit an RBI base knock in the ninth to cap the Dodgers’ twelve-hit performance.

After Kershaw exited, Ramon Troncoso came in for the eighth. He got two outs but put two runners on before being pulled. Situational lefty Brent Leach — who’s been nearly twice as effective against right-handed hitters as lefties — got Angel pinch-hitter Kendry Morales to hit a grounder to Blake at third.

Blake delivered an off-line throw to Loney at first, however, and the Angels scored their first run of the night. Jonathan Broxton then came in and walked Gary Matthews Jr. — the perpetrator of last night’s ninth-inning homer — before striking out Erick Aybar to end the inning. Broxton ran into a bit more trouble in the ninth, allowing two runners to score, before getting Napoli to ground out to end the game with Rivera at first.

Big win for the Dodgers, who move to 46-24. Angels again stay a half-game back of Texas at 36-31. The Blue have a day off tomorrow while they travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox in a three-game set beginning Tuesday.