By Bob Hurst
With a slim choice of closers — regular closer Jonathan Broxton, along with potential closers Hong-Chih Kuo and Vicente Padilla, were on the disabled list — Mattingly turned to rookie Kenley Jansen to hold a two-run lead.
Jansen proceeded to give up three runs on three hits, a hit batter and a walk. Hunter Pence hit a walk-off single to give the Astros a 4-3 win.
It was another disappointing loss for the Dodgers, who dropped their eighth game in their last 10, and fell closer to last place in the NL West.
“It’s just something when your team’s not playing well, it’s one more thing to add to the checklist,” Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw said.
The Dodgers have been plagued with a long line of injures. It started before the season with catcher Dioner Navarro, infielder Casey Blake and pitchers Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla going on the DL.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal went on the disabled list in April, followed by Blake again. This month, outfielder Marquis Thames, Broxton, Kuo and Padilla were out.
It almost got worse in Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Andre Ethier had to leave the game with a bruised left elbow and lower back, and a sprained left big toe. He crashed into the fence chasing a fourth-inning double.
“It wasn’t one part, just all parts,” Ethier said.
And catcher Rod Barajas sprained his right wrist on a play at the plate and was replaced in the fifth inning. X-rays on both Ethier and Barajas were negative.
The good news for the Dodgers was that Furcal was activated from the DL after missing 37 games due to a broken left thumb. To make room on the roster, the Dodgers placed infielder Juan Uribe on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left hip flexor.
Uribe was the seventh Dodger on the DL to start the week.
Third baseman Blake, reliever Blake Hawksworth and Thames were scheduled to begin rehabilitation assignments at Triple-A Albuquerque this week.
The Dodgers face a brutal schedule after their series with the Astros, playing 19 games against Florida, Colorado, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, all teams with winning records.
And they’re crossing their fingers that no one else gets hurt.
Scary at-bat: Chicago Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd kicked his legs while on the ground after getting hit by a pitch in the face in Saturday night’s game at Boston.
Byrd was hit under his left eye on a fastball from Alfredo Aceves, and couldn’t see out of his eye for about five minutes.
“I started kicking because I realize I couldn’t see out of my eye,” Byrd said. “That’s something I’m not used to.”
Byrd suffered multiple facial fractures and was placed on the 15-day disabled list, but could miss more time.
“I have my vision, no brain damage, so it could’ve been worse,” Byrd said. “No complaints.”
Byrd is batting .308 with three home runs and 11 RBIs this season.
Honoring Killebrew: The Minnesota Twins paid tribute to Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew before Monday’s game, a week after Killebrew died at his Arizona home at the age of 74.
Twins players stood around the No. 3 drawn in the dirt behind second base at Target Field for a moment of silence. Flowers, teddy bears, baseball cards and hats were among some of the items left by fans outside of Gate 3.
The team also wore 1961 throwback jerseys in honor of Killebrew, who arrived in Minnesota that season when the Washington Senators franchise moved.
Killebrew, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, hit 475 of his 573 career home runs with the Twins and ranks 11th on the all-time major league homer list. He also was a 13-time All-Star and the AL MVP in 1969, when he hit 49 home runs and drove in 140 runs.
Quotable: “He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money. He won’t get it.” – Mets owner Fred Wilpon in a story in the New Yorker, referring to Mets shortstop Jose Reyes and Crawford’s seven-year, $142 million contract that he signed with the Red Sox.
Diamond Notes: Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Johnson is 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA….Cincinnati sent right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez to Triple-A Louisville before Monday’s game. Volquez, who went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA in his All-Star rookie season of 2008, is 3-2 with a 6.35 ERA this year…Atlanta’s Brian McCann became the second player to hit a pinch game-tying home run in the ninth inning, followed by a game-winning homer. McCann did it on May 17 against Houston. His two-run shot in the bottom of the 11th gave the Braves a 3-1 win. The only other player to do it was Jeff Heath of the Boston Braves in 1949.
Copyright © 2011 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.