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Buckner hurls D-backs past Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES (AP)

Arizona pitcher Billy Buckner sat in the dugout after his six-inning stint and watched in amazement as the Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen became unglued Monday night. That was just fine with the right-hander, who hung a 3-2 defeat on the team with baseball's best record with defensive help from third baseman Mark Reynolds and a two-run double from rookie Josh Whitesell. Cory Wade and rookie Brent Leach combined for five wild pitches, tying the Dodgers record set on July 9, 1918, at St. Louis, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. "It's not really a record that I want to put my name behind," catcher Russell Martin said. "It was a tough night. I just wasn't getting there and wasn't putting my body in the right position to block the ball, and that's what happens." When the two-time All-Star returned to his locker, he received a hug from veteran backup Brad Ausmus, a three-time Gold Glove winner. "There's not a catcher who hasn't gone through a game like that. I've been there," Ausmus said. "You feel awful, because you want your pitchers to have faith in you when you throw a ball in the dirt. Sometimes you just have a combination of a bad day and bad bounces off body parts that they normally get deadened by. But Russ will be fine. I'm not worried about him. He's done a great job of blocking balls in the dirt all year." Wade, who hasn't allowed an earned run in 14 1-3 career innings against the Diamondbacks, threw three in the seventh inning - one of which allowed Miguel Montero to reach after a strikeout. But the right-hander escaped his own bases-loaded jam when Felipe Lopez broke his bat lining out to second base. "When you have two strikes on a guy, you want to put him away and make a quality pitch down in the zone," Martin said. "There were two guys that struck out on good pitches below the zone, and that's what they're taught to do, and I'm taught to block those. But tonight I just wasn't doing it." Martin also wasn't able to prevent two more wild pitches by Leach in the eighth, one on a strikeout that allowed Stephen Drew to reach. Gerardo Parra got to third on the play and scored on a fielder's choice by Reynolds to make it 3-0. "One of the wild pitches was a heater low on a slide step where I just let it go too quick. The other was a curveball that was down and hopped over Russ," Leach said. "When you get ahead, sometimes you open up the zone and see if they can bite at something. That's pretty much what we were doing there." Buckner (2-1) allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two. The right-hander, who began the season in the Diamondbacks' bullpen, has allowed six earned runs over 18 1-3 innings in three starts since being recalled May 22 from Triple-A Reno. "I think with every start and every outing, you can gain a little more experience, get a little more confident and maybe settle in a little more," Buckner said. "So we're taking it one game at a time." Tony Pena followed Clay Zavada and Juan Gutierrez out of the bullpen and gave up RBI singles in the ninth to Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre before posting his first save of the season. Closer Chad Qualls was unavailable because of stiffness in his right forearm. Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) made his first appearance for Los Angeles since his opening-day victory at San Diego. He gave up two runs and three hits in five innings, throwing 86 pitches. The 34-year-old right-hander was activated from the disabled list after missing two months with an oblique strain that occurred during a side session in the bullpen two days after his previous outing. Kuroda gave up a leadoff double to Drew in the second, and picked him off before throwing his next pitch. But he walked his next two batters, and both scored when Whitesell doubled on a 3-2 pitch with two out. Whitesell was recalled from Triple-A Reno on Saturday when first baseman Chad Tracy went on the disabled list with an oblique strain. "That slider away to Whitesell was really the only one I would take back from Kuroda's game tonight," Martin said. "But I thought he threw the ball really well."

Notes

Dodgers executive and former manager Tommy Lasorda has a cameo role on Wednesday's episode of the CBS soap opera, "The Young and the Restless." Not to be outdone, Diamondbacks OF-1B Conor Jackson will appear that same day on the ABC sudser "General Hospital," in the role of a physical therapist. Jackson has missed the last 19 games with what the team is referring to as "general illness."
Tagged: Dodgers, Diamondbacks

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