Dodgers can't back Kuroda's quality start

Dodgers can't back Kuroda's quality start

SAN DIEGO -- Scott Podsednik has his work cut out.

After acquiring Podsednik in a trade with Kansas City, his new Dodgers teammates showed why more offense is needed in a 6-1 loss to the Padres Wednesday night, wasting a quality start from Hiroki Kuroda and snapping a three-game win streak.

The last 19 Dodgers were retired by five San Diego pitchers, eight by strikeouts. The Dodgers have scored 12 runs in their last seven games, miraculously winning five of those because of fine pitching. When it comes to Deadline acquisitions giving a team a boost, Podsednik needs to be the second coming of Manny Ramirez, circa 2008.

"You certainly have to give credit to the opposing pitchers; it's not easy to hold a club down, even against clubs in a slump, you still have to pitch well," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "We aren't hitting, obviously. I'm still a believer that all of a sudden things will turn around. The capability is there."

The best that can be said for the Dodgers' offense is that it didn't waste many scoring chances, because it didn't have many. They went 1-for-2 with runners in scoring position, Jamey Carroll singling home the only run off Clayton Richard. And Carroll, pressed into service in left field with Ramirez's latest injury, will probably lose the most playing time with the arrival of Podsednik.

"He's a player that makes things happen. I know he did against my clubs," Torre said of Podsednik, acquired for Minor Leaguers Lucas May and Elisaul Pimentel. "He's a veteran presence, he fights for everything he gets. He pretty much has the personality we like and he's having a good year offensively."

Torre said he wasn't sure if Podsednik would arrive in time for Thursday afternoon's series finale in San Diego. He said he probably would bat Podsednik second to utilize his basestealing skills.

Of course, unless Podsednik really is the second coming of Ramirez, he'll need some help.

"It's been weird how our offense comes and goes," said Casey Blake, who is batting .179 in July. "It's like we score in bunches or don't score at all. I don't like to use excuses of facing good pitching and part of that is true, but even with good pitching, you've got to get runners on and opportunities to score and really we had maybe one opportunity and we came through and scored a run.

"We need more chances, more opportunities to do some damage and string hits together. I'd like to point my finger on it. Me, personally, I've been stinking, trying to find something to take to the plate and be positive and move forward. It's been a grind. We need three or four or five guys in the lineup feeling good at the same time."

Kuroda did his part and kept it going by allowing two runs in six-plus innings, a third run charged to Kuroda when Jeff Weaver couldn't keep the game close, allowing RBI hits to the only two batters he faced in the seventh inning. Travis Schlichting allowed two more runs in the eighth.

"I thought Hiro pitched well, but when you're not scoring, it puts a great deal of stress on the pitcher," said Torre. "Every single pitch is crucial."

Kuroda pitched out of a second-inning jam, but two at-bats in the sixth were key. With a runner on second and one out, he walked Chris Denorfia to bring up Adrian Gonzalez, who blooped a 3-2 pitch that fell for a tying single in front of center fielder Matt Kemp, who was playing Gonzalez deep and shaded to left-center. Denorfia scored on Nick Hundley's sacrifice fly.

"It stayed up in the air a lot longer than I think everybody anticipated, but I knew from checking out there 15 times that they were deep, they were real deep, and I knew it was going to be a tough play for him to make," said Tony Gwynn, who scored on the hit. "If he got it, hey, tip your cap. It fell in just like I thought it would, and it kind of got us rolling a little bit."

San Diego broke it open with a pair of RBI hits off Weaver in the seventh and Jerry Hairston's two-run single off Schlichting in the eighth, although George Sherrill retired the two batters he faced.

"The backbreaker was walking Denorfia," said Torre. "He made two good pitches to Gonzalez, but you don't want to put yourself in the position where he comes up with runners on base. He can break a game open. Aside from that, he certainly pitched the way we needed him to pitch, but only one run to work with."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.