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Ted Lilly struggles again as Dodgers fall 6-4 to Twins and drop 10½ games back

June 28, 2011 |  8:15 pm

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The Dodgers are experiencing a Ted Lilly problem.

The last three times he’s started, he’s been hammered. Which is not only a problem, but a potentially serious one, given that he’s 35 and in the first year of a three-year, $33-million contract.

Lilly was knocked around yet again Tuesday, the Twins jumping on him early and often, on the way to a 6-4 victory that left the Dodgers a season-high 10½ back at the midpoint of the season.

It was Lilly’s third consecutive loss, and not so coincidentally, the third consecutive start where he’s allowed at least five earned runs (10.43 ERA).

It’s not that he’s walking people, but he’s giving up plenty of hits -- 23 in the 14 2/3 innings of those last three starts. And if he’s not giving up home runs, he’s allowing stolen bases.

The Twins stole off his painfully slow delivery four times, and all four times, the runners came around to score. Opponents have stolen off him 19 times this season, the most for any starter in the major leagues.

When the Dodgers rallied with three runs in the fifth to tie it, Lilly came back in the bottom of the inning and surrendered a game-winning, two-run homer to Luke Hughes. Lilly gave up three home runs in his last start.

The Dodgers were trailing 4-1 entering the fifth when Aaron Miles, the National League’s top hitter in June (.419), led off with a solo home run. Which should have been a good sign. It was Miles’ first homer of the season and first since Sept. 16, 2008.

An A.J. Ellis single and a pair of walks loaded the bases for Andre Ethier, who singled in two to tie it, if briefly.

The Dodgers, who scored 15 runs on 25 hits on Monday agains the Twins, settled for the four runs on seven hits Tuesday against five Minnesota pitchers.

The Dodgers reached the midpoint of their season at 36-45.

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Photo: Ted Lilly delivers a pitch during the Dodgers' 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. Credit: Hannah Foslien / Associated Press

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