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Rafael Furcal struggles in return as Dodgers drop sixth straight with 2-1 loss to Angels

June 23, 2010 |  9:43 pm
It was impossible not to feel for Rafael Furcal on Wednesday night, not that anyone could truly know what he felt.

Furcal returned to the Dodgers lineup after missing five games, all losses, to be with his dying father. He left the team in Cincinnati a week ago and flew to the Dominican Republic. His father died Sunday.

He rejoined the Dodgers on Wednesday, came ready to play, and manager Joe Torre obliged him.

His return as the starting shortstop, however, was a difficult one. He was charged with two errors, one leading to an unearned run, as the Angels beat the Dodgers yet again, 2-1.

His first error came in the fourth, with the Dodgers leading 1-0 on a Matt Kemp RBI double.

Kevin Frandsen doubled to lead off the Angels’ half of the inning. A groundout sent him to third. Then with the infield in, Torii Hunter hit a sharp bouncer to Furcal that he charged and appeared ready to field and throw home.

Only he dropped the ball for an error.

It was still a 1-1 game in the fifth when Mike Napoli led off with a double. Jeff Mathis hit a hard bouncer to Furcal, but first base umpire Tim Welke ruled his throw pulled James Loney off the bag.

Furcal was charged with a second error, though replays appeared to show that Loney had kept his foot on the bag until after he caught the throw. Still, a Howie Kendrick groundout to Furcal was enough to score Napoli with what would be the winning run.

Furcal had no better luck at the plate, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

The game mirrored Furcal’s first game back from the disabled list on May 25. In that game he had two errors in a 3-0 loss to the Cubs, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Wednesday marked the fading Dodgers’ sixth consecutive loss, dropping them four games back of the Padres in the National League West. They have lost nine of 11 overall, and nine straight interleague games.

The Dodgers at least got a promising return to form from John Ely. The rookie had a 9.50 ERA in his last three starts, after posting a 2.18 ERA in the six prior games.

Ely went seven strong innings against the Angels, allowing only one earned run on three hits. He walked two and struck out six.

Joel Pineiro (7-6) beat the Dodgers for the second time in 13 days. Pineiro went 7 1/3 innings, holding the Dodgers to one run on six hits. He walked one and struck out five.

Pineiro has now won four consecutive starts and the Angels five of their last six.

--Steve Dilbeck