Dodger Bullpen Goes Wild In Loss

Russell Martin is a solid defensive catcher, but he is not a brick wall and that’s what the Los Angeles Dodgers needed when its bullpen became unglued Monday night.

But the bottom line is that Arizona laid down 3-2 defeat on the team with baseball's best record.

Cory Wade and rookie Brent Leach combined for five wild pitches, tying the Dodgers record set on July 9, 1918, at St. Louis, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"It's not really a record that I want to put my name behind," catcher Russell Martin said. "It was a tough night. I just wasn't getting there and wasn't putting my body in the right position to block the ball, and that's what happens."

When the two-time All-Star returned to his locker, he received a hug from veteran backup Brad Ausmus, a three-time Gold Glove winner.

"There's not a catcher who hasn't gone through a game like that. I've been there," Ausmus said. "You feel awful, because you want your pitchers to have faith in you when you throw a ball in the dirt. Sometimes you just have a combination of a bad day and bad bounces off body parts that they normally get deadened by. But Russ will be fine. I'm not worried about him. He's done a great job of blocking balls in the dirt all year."

Wade, who hasn't allowed an earned run in 14 1-3 career innings against the Diamondbacks, threw three in the seventh inning -- one of which allowed Miguel Montero to reach after a strikeout. But the right-hander escaped his own bases-loaded jam when Felipe Lopez broke his bat lining out to second base.

"When you have two strikes on a guy, you want to put him away and make a quality pitch down in the zone," Martin said. "There were two guys that struck out on good pitches below the zone, and that's what they're taught to do, and I'm taught to block those. But tonight I just wasn't doing it."

Martin also wasn't able to prevent two more wild pitches by Leach in the eighth, one on a strikeout that allowed Stephen Drew to reach. Gerardo Parra got to third on the play and scored on a fielder's choice by Reynolds to make it 3-0.

"One of the wild pitches was a heater low on a slide step where I just let it go too quick. The other was a curveball that was down and hopped over Russ," Leach said. "When you get ahead, sometimes you open up the zone and see if they can bite at something. That's pretty much what we were doing there."

Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) made his first appearance for Los Angeles since his opening-day victory at San Diego. He gave up two runs and three hits in five innings, throwing 86 pitches.

The 34-year-old right-hander was activated from the disabled list after missing two months with an oblique strain that occurred during a side session in the bullpen two days after his previous outing.

Kuroda gave up a leadoff double to Drew in the second, and picked him off before throwing his next pitch. But he walked his next two batters, and both scored when Whitesell doubled on a 3-2 pitch with two out. Whitesell was recalled from Triple-A Reno on Saturday when first baseman Chad Tracy went on the disabled list with an oblique strain.

"That slider away to Whitesell was really the only one I would take back from Kuroda's game tonight," Martin said. "But I thought he threw the ball really well."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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