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Sunday, September 15, 2013
Dodgers limping to the finish

By Mark Saxon



LOS ANGELES -- For the first time in nearly three months, the Los Angeles Dodgers have hit some serious turbulence, and it’s no surprise it has coincided with a series of injuries.

The Dodgers got no closer to clinching the NL West with a 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, their eighth loss in the past 11 games. The Arizona Diamondbacks won, so the earliest the Dodgers can clinch is Tuesday at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Yasiel Puig, who was the latest Dodgers outfielder to go down with an injury, pinch hit in the ninth inning and swung at the first pitch from Sergio Romo, grounding out to shortstop.

Due to injuries, the Dodgers had an outfield of Jerry Hairston Jr., Skip Schumaker and Nick Buss on Sunday. Remember those stories about how difficult it would be to accommodate four star outfielders when Matt Kemp gets healthy? Now, the Dodgers are desperate to get Kemp back.

Brett Pill, the pride of San Dimas, Calif., hit the decisive home run off Paco Rodriguez in the eighth inning.

Perhaps this offseason Hunter Pence can celebrate that he kept the Dodgers from clinching right in the Giants’ faces. He had quite a series, mashing five home runs and driving in 12 runs. It wouldn’t have hurt for the Dodgers to make better pitches to him. Edinson Volquez grooved one that Pence sent screaming over the left-field fence in the sixth inning, a two-run shot that tied the game at 3-all.

The last Giants hitter to have five home runs and 12 RBIs in one series was Mel Ott. That was 84 years ago.

The Dodgers didn’t do much against Ryan Vogelsong, but he made the mistake of having to pitch to the wrong man in the wrong situation. Against an injury-riddled lineup, Vogelsong hit Mark Ellis with a pitch to load the bases for Adrian Gonzalez, one of the Dodgers’ best clutch hitters.

Gonzalez pulled a double into the right-field corner to clear the bases.