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Dodgers finally find a limit to Javy Guerra in 5-4 loss to Diamondbacks

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It’s impossible to fault Javy Guerra, who has been a remarkable surprise ever since he first stepped on the mound for the Dodgers on May 15 fresh out of double A.

Guerra had saved 18 games in 19 opportunities, was 2-0 and had a 1.99 ERA. He had done everything they had asked of him. But Tuesday, they asked one more thing, and it proved one too many.

In an extra-inning game, they asked Guerra to pitch two innings for the first time all season. And he buckled, allowing a single and then three consecutive walks to force in the go-ahead run in the Diamondbacks’ 5-4 victory before an announced crowd of 31,404.

In his previous 41 appearances, he had not thrown two innings. His longest outing had been 1 1/3 innings (twice).

But in the 10thinning he gave up a bloop single to Gerardo Parra. After a sacrifice bunt moved Parra to second, Guerra struck out Justin Upton and then intentionally walked Miguel Montero.

That brought up Paul Goldschmidt, an old rival from earlier this season in the double-A Southern League. Guerra walked him on four pitches. Then he walked Chris Young on four pitches to force in the winning run.

It marked the first loss of Guerra’s major league career.

The game started slowly enough, the first inning taking 34 minutes. Neither starter appeared long for the night.

Chad Billingsley opened the game by allowing a leadoff single to Parra and a two-run homer to Montero.

Ian Kennedy quickly made that look like a crisp start. The Dodgers scored four times in the bottom of the first, Kennedy laboring throughout.

Dee Gordon led off with a double and took third on Justin Sellers’ bloop single. Matt Kemp’s fly out in foul territory in right sacrificed Gordon home.

Kennedy, Arizona’s Cy Young hopeful, looked like he might escape further damage when Juan  Rivera popped out, but the Dodgers put together three consecutive two-out, run-scoring hits.

James Loney doubled to score Sellers, Aaron Miles singled to score Loney, and then Miles scored from first on Jerry Sands’ double to left.

By the time Kennedy struck out A.J. Ellis for the third out, he had thrown 41 pitches in the first inning and the Dodgers had a 4-2 lead.

The Diamondbacks, as is their habit, came back. They scored one in the third on Aaron Hill's double, Upton's basehit and Montero's sacrifice fly.

Billingsley -– who has not won a game since Aug. 5 -– settled down after the third, not allowing another hit. But after he got the first out in the bottom of the seventh, Manager Don Mattingly called on reliever Hong-Chih Kuo. Billingsley had thrown 102 pitches.

Billingsley, who had not been sharp in his last four outings (6.30 ERA), allowed three runs, four hits and three walks in his 6 1/3 innings. However, he struck out just two.

Unfortunately for Billingsley, Kuo could not hold the 4-3 lead. He surrendered a tying solo home run to Parra.

And the Dodgers apparently did not appreciate the way Parra admired his blast, the bench –- including Wednesday’s starter, Clayton Kershaw -- letting him know as he circled the bases. Arizona third base coach Matt Williams responded in kind. Parra and Ellis exchanged words as he crossed the plate. Parra apparently was miffed that Kuo buzzed him on an earlier pitch, perhaps not completely aware the left-hander has struggled with wildness all season. And that the Dodgers had only a one-run lead.

Regardless, home plate umpire Marty Foster heard enough to warn both benches. Nothing else came of it, at least Tuesday.

Kennedy went six innings for Arizona, allowing the four runs and seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

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-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers' Javy Guerra delivers a pitch against the San Diego Padres on August 2. Credit: Jake Roth / U.S. Presswire

 
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