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09/01/09 2:30 AM ET
Busy Dodgers fall in 10th to D-backs
LA completes trades for Thome, Garland late in contest
By David Ely / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- On a night when Dodgers GM Ned Colletti made two big moves to bolster his club's roster, one of his other midseason acquisitions suffered his first poor outing with the Dodgers. Left-hander George Sherrill entered the eighth inning with the Dodgers ahead by one with the task of retiring the heart of the D-backs' order. Excelling in these situations is nothing new for Sherrill -- he entered the game without allowing a run in 14 1/3 innings with Los Angeles. But what happened in the eighth was out of the ordinary. Justin Upton tagged Sherrill for a game-tying home run, and the D-backs later completed their comeback when Rusty Ryal added another solo shot -- this one off right-hander James McDonald -- in the 10th to earn a 5-3 victory on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. "That was very surprising," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of the home run that made Sherrill a mortal. "You know at one point or another, something's going to happen like that. It's just one of those things. He certainly wasn't happy about it." The loss was dwarfed, however, by the news of the acquisitions that were announced toward the end of the game. The Dodgers acquired White Sox slugger Jim Thome for cash considerations and Minor Leaguer Justin Fuller. Quickly thereafter, they acquired Arizona right-hander Jon Garland for cash considerations and a player to be named. And the excitement and activity in the front office trickled down to the Dodgers' clubhouse, where much of the postgame talk centered on the two new Dodgers. Those questioned spoke positively about Thome and Garland and probably were glad they didn't have to relive the loss. Because then they'd have to discuss a lackluster offensive night, apart from three home runs, and the bullpen's inability to close a winning effort from starter Randy Wolf. "It's frustrating, but the bullpen's been throwing the ball real well all year," McDonald said. "You've got to have a short memory and just ready to get back out there again." The D-backs struck first, scoring two runs in the second when Augie Ojeda smacked a two-out double. Apart from that frame, Wolf resembled the dominant pitcher he's been for much of August. In seven August starts, Wolf lost once and lasted at least seven innings five times. Even more important is the Dodgers' 5-2 record for the month in games started by Wolf. His ability to post long outings on a consistent basis and put the Dodgers in position to win ballgames has made Wolf the Dodgers' most dependable starter heading into the season's stretch run. But Monday night, Wolf earned his 14th no-decision of the season when Sherrill gave up the eighth-inning homer. And the Dodgers lost a game started by Wolf for the first time since Aug. 1, when McDonald served up a solo homer in the 10th. "Missed my spot, didn't execute my pitch," McDonald said of the fastball Ryal hit for a homer. "I feel like I threw the ball well overall. I felt good out there my arm felt good just one or two pitches I thought weren't decent pitches. I have to focus and get back down in the zone." Though the Dodgers' bullpen was the culprit for Monday's loss, the relievers have been one of the biggest reasons for the Dodgers' near season-long run atop the National League West. And for the past month, Sherrill had been as sure of a thing that a reliever can be. But the run had to end at some point, and one errant pitch crushed by Upton did just that. "You go into the fire as often as those eighth and ninth inning guys do, and you'd like to believe it's always going to happen," Torre said. "[Brad] Lidge did it last year, and he always came out clean, but it doesn't happen very often."
David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.