LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are struggling at the plate, leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers in dire need of some offense against the San Francisco Giants.
For the second straight night, the Dodgers were limited to a single run, this time a 4-1 loss Tuesday that dropped them 1 games behind their NL West rival.
In the Dodgers’ five wins against the Giants this season, they have averaged 6.8 runs. In their six losses, they have scored three runs.
“There are times you’re going to get shut down when the other team makes pitches, and these two games have been a couple of those times,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “But there’s a lot of baseball to be played, and they know we’re not going anywhere.”
The Giants can complete a series sweep on Wednesday, leaving three games left between the teams that have been battling for the division lead.
Kemp’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the sixth accounted for the Dodgers’ run. He snapped an 0-for-21 drought with a ninth-inning single. Ethier went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, making him hitless in his last 14 at-bats.
The Dodgers lost Monday night’s series opener 2-1, getting only a ninth-inning homer from Hanley Ramirez.
“We’ve got to score runs for our pitchers,” Kemp said. “When we’ve lost to them, we haven’t scored runs, and you’ve got to score runs to win games.”
Joe Blanton (8-12) gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out six and walked two to fall to 0-3 in four starts with the Dodgers since being acquired from Philadelphia on Aug. 4.
“I felt like I threw the ball well,” he said. “In fact, it was the best I’ve thrown since I’ve been here. It was all singles — ground balls through the hole, blooper to left — I mean, all you can do is make your pitch, and if balls fall in, there’s nothing you can do about that.”
Catcher A.J. Ellis has been learning Blanton’s tendencies on the fly since the pitcher arrived.
“I really have to increase the learning curve,” he said. “It’s something I need to do a better job of until he feels comfortable enough with me back there. He’s doing a good job of throwing the pitches I’m calling, but it just doesn’t work out all the time.”
Tim Lincecum (7-13) bounced back from consecutive home losses with his third straight road win. The two-time NL Cy Young winner allowed one run and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, struck out four and walked one. Javier Lopez pitched the ninth to earn his third save in five chances.
Buster Posey, who started at first base while Hector Sanchez took his spot behind the plate, got things started for the Giants with a two-run single in the first inning. They added two more runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Brandon Crawford and run-scoring double by Angel Pagan.
NOTES: The Giants are 9-17 overall in Lincecum’s starts this season. … Dodgers INF Justin Sellers will undergo lower back surgery on Thursday. He has been on the DL since May 23 with a bulging disk. … The Dodgers reinstated RHP Rubby De La Rosa from the 60-day DL and optioned RHP Javy Guerra to Triple-A Albuquerque. Guerra had a 2-3 record with eight saves and a 2.66 ERA while appearing in 44 games. De La Rosa had been on the DL since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. In the minors this season, he posted a 1-0 record and did not allow a run to score over 12.0 innings in stints with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and the Arizona League Dodgers.