SAN FRANCISCO -- If the Dodgers survive this sudden wobble through the West, the turning point in the season might not be a victory, but Friday night's 6-5 loss to the Giants. After letting two early leads against Tim Lincecum get away, they capitalized on the absence of Giants All-Star closer Brian Wilson (back spasms) to score three runs in the ninth inning and fell just short, absorbing a defeat while claiming a moral victory. "I don't know if we were playing a little soft earlier, but tonight I liked the way we fought back," said catcher Russell Martin, who singled in the Dodgers' first run (snapping an 0-for-14 history against Lincecum) and started the ninth-inning rally with a single.
"With our attitude at the end, it showed that when we put our mind to it, good things happen. We put good at-bat after good at-bat and if we do this day in and day out, we'll be where we need to be." That would be in contention for a postseason berth, which they are not now. They did, after all, fall short in Friday night's comeback. They've lost three straight against division rivals, with cracks showing in their dominance against the National League West (25-11). "We haven't played very well in our division, or against them, so that's why we were doing all we can there at the end to try to get outs and close that game out," said manager Bruce Bochy, whose Giants are 4-6 against the Dodgers this year. "They've pretty much had their way at times with us -- just like San Diego has -- and that's critical." The Dodgers not only are seven games out of first place, but 4 1/2 games behind the second-place Giants, who lead the Wild Card race. The fourth-place Rockies trail the Dodgers by one game. With the Trade Deadline on Saturday around game time, the Dodgers have been in talks to acquire, among others, starting pitchers Ted Lilly and Paul Maholm to take over the fifth spot, which was filled in this game by Carlos Monasterios, who ran out of gas in the sixth inning. Jeff Weaver came in with the Dodgers trailing, 3-2, and allowed three extra-base hits in two innings, including a home run to Aubrey Huff, who earlier had a two-run double off Monasterios in the third inning. "The guys kept fighting and it makes me frustrated to know that if I put up zeros, we'd have a chance to win the game," said Weaver, who has struggled through July after a lights-out June. Huff's double followed a throwing error by Matt Kemp that ricocheted off shortstop Rafael Furcal and allowed both runners to advance a base. "I just made a bad throw," said Kemp. "Not much I can say about it. I hit Fukey in the chest. My fault." Furcal, who snapped a 1-for-26 slump with a homer and added a double, single and pair of walks, also committed a baserunning error for the third out in the fourth inning, gunned down trying to stretch his double into a triple. "It's a stupid play for me," said Furcal. "That situation, I can't get thrown out. I see the ball in front of me stop in the [right-field] corner. They [Huff] made a good throw to second base and second base [Freddy Sanchez] made a perfect throw [to third baseman Pablo Sandoval]." The Dodgers also let an opportunity slip away after Furcal's third-inning home run by putting runners on second and third with no outs and not scoring any more runs until the ninth, when Martin singled, newest Dodger Scott Podsednik tripled off the glove of center fielder Andres Torres and Furcal walked. Lefty Jonathan Sanchez, scheduled to start Monday, came in to face Andre Ethier and wild-pitched Podsednik home and Furcal to second, then struck out Ethier on a pitch in the dirt. But Sanchez then hit James Loney with a pitch on the hand and in came Chris Ray to face Kemp, who singled home Furcal with Loney taking third. Ray got the save when Casey Blake grounded into a forceout. "The last inning we're four down and it started from the first swing of the bat," said manager Joe Torre. "Nobody threw their hands up. At the end we had the tying run at third, the possible winning run at first and an RBI guy at the plate. "There was a lot of energy out there tonight. The guys have been frustrated and sort of taken on that personality, but I saw a different ballclub tonight. I hope we keep it going. It's important we make sure if somebody is going to beat us, we make them earn it."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.