It's win-or-else for the remainder of this series after the Dodgers dropped a 4-1 decision to the Mets on Thursday night at Shea.
After he reached first base with an infield single in the fourth inning, first baseman Nomar Garciaparra limped across the bag, obviously feeling pain in his tender left quad. The veteran warrior remained in the game, but he departed in the sixth inning, when he aggravated a sore oblique during his final at-bat.
Two: During their six innings against Mets left-hander Tom Glavine, the Dodgers had only two baserunners get into scoring position. Garciaparra reached second base with one out in the fourth inning, but was left stranded. Julio Lugo reached second on a one-out double in the fifth inning, but he was also left stranded at second. Game ball
Wilson Betemit -- five balls: In a pinch-hit role in the eighth inning, Betemit slugged a solo home run -- his third hit in the National League Division Series. Jeff Kent -- four: The veteran second baseman had two hits and is now 4-for-8 in the series. Nomar Garciaparra -- four: He gets high marks just for playing in obvious pain for as long as he did. Hong-Chih Kuo -- three: The young left-hander retired eight of the first 10 batters he faced and 12 of the first 15, but a leadoff walk to Jose Valentin in the fifth started an inning he couldn't finish. Sense of October
A brisk fall breeze blowing in from center field helped the Dodgers in the fourth inning. A ball that Mets left fielder Cliff Floyd hit off Kuo had home run written all over it until right fielder J.D. Drew went back to the wall, looked up, reached up and caught the ball.
Lines of the Game
4 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI
Comment: For the second straight game, Lofton went hitless in four at-bats, striking out once and getting the ball out of the infield just once. He might need a breather in Game 3.
1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Comment: The rookie right-hander made his playoff debut with a bang, striking out the first two batters he faced in the seventh inning, including Carlos Delgado on a backdoor slider. Billingsley also fanned Carlos Beltran to start the seventh.
"We're not giving up. It's a matter of going out and winning three in a row. We won seven in a row coming into this series, so we're capable of running off three in a row." -- Dodgers pitcher Brett Tomko
The Dodgers get a day to rest up and lick their wounds before sending future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux to the mound on Saturday at 4:35 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium in the first of three must-win games.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.