Josh Johnson Handcuffs Dodgers; Marlins Win 4-0

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Marlins Defeat Dodgers

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Josh Johnson was his normal dominant self, pitching eight shutout frames as Florida took the rubber match of a three-game series from Los Angeles, 4-0, at Chavez Ravine.

Johnson (9-3), who lowered his MLB-leading earned run average to 1.70, scattered six hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. The right-hander improved to 33-0 when the Marlins score four or more runs. Those runs were due in large part to Mike Stanton, who hit a three-run shot as part of a four-run second frame. Florida has won three of four.

“We needed a win, it is all about the team,” said Johnson. “I was able to locate my fastball on both sides of the plate. I made pitches when I had to.”

Hiroki Kuroda (7-7) absorbed the loss, giving up four runs on six hits with four strikeouts over seven frames. James Loney had two hits for the Dodgers, who lost for just the third time in their last nine games.

“Our goal was to work his (Johnson’s) pitch count, but he dominated,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. “He is one of the premier pitchers in the league.”

The Marlins scored all of the runs they needed in the second frame, including a towering shot by one of their prized young players. Jorge Cantu singled and Dan Uggla followed by rolling a base hit into left. Cody Ross then drove a two-bagger past Matt Kemp in center, scoring Cantu and moving Uggla to third. Stanton followed by extending his arms and driving a high fly ball to left that carried over the wall for a three-run homer and a 4-0 game.

Los Angeles’ best threat came in the fourth when Andre Ethier and Loney hit consecutive two-out singles. Johnson averted the scoring chance by striking out Casey Blake to end the inning. The Dodgers put Ethier and Loney on again in the sixth, via walk and single respectively, but again Blake failed to deliver, popping out to third.

Russell Martin doubled high off the left-center-field wall in the seventh, but Johnson again buckled down, retiring the next two batters to keep zeroes on the scoreboard.

Jose Veras set down the Dodgers in order in the ninth with two strikeouts.

Johnson came one frame short of his first career shutout…The Dodgers have been blanked four times at home this season…Los Angeles fell to 5-11 versus the National League East. It has 23 wins versus the NL West…Florida is 14-8 at Dodger Stadium since 2004, the best record in the National League during that time…Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal saw his 10-game hitting streak come to an end. Furcal also lost his streak of 12 straight games with a run scored…Kuroda has lost six of his last eight decisions…The Dodgers placed pitcher Ronald Belisario on the restricted list Wednesday, while reinstating pitcher Carlos Monasterios from the 15-day disabled list.

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Belisario Issue Remains A Mystery

Ronald Belisario was placed on the restricted list yesterday, but it seems that it wasn’t for disciplinary reasons, as was the case earlier this season when Belisario showed up to spring training 35 days late. Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles has the details:

Belisario was activated on April 21 and apparently had been a model citizen from that point on.

“He hasn’t been an issue,” [manager Joe] Torre said. “No disciplinary stuff has gone on. He has been here for us every day.”

Paul Kinzer, Belisario’s Atlanta-based agent, wouldn’t elaborate beyond that.

“It’s just some personal problems, and he’s got some things he’s got to work through,” Kinzer said. “It’s just a lot of anxiety, and that is about all I want to say right now.”

Pressed on what he meant by the word “anxiety,” Kinzer declined to offer details.

Kinzer also said that Belisario was still in Los Angeles, but indicated the pitcher might be heading home to Venezuela at some point.

“Right now, he is [still in town], but we will have to see how things work out later,” Kinzer said. “Obviously, his family is in Venezuela. But we haven’t set up [any travel].”

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Tonight's Dodgers-Marlins Lineups

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Marlins
Coghlan LF
Sanchez 1B
Ramirez SS
Cantu 3B
Uggla 2B
Ross CF
Paulino C
Stanton RF
Johnson P

Dodgers
Furcal SS
Kemp CF
Ethier RF
Loney 1B
Blake 3B
Anderson LF
Martin C
DeWitt 2B
Kuroda P

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Ronald Belisario Placed On Restricted List For "Personal Reasons"

The Dodgers needed a roster spot today to activate Carlos Monasterios from the disabled list, but the move made came as a surprise.

Ronald Belisario was placed on the restricted list for “personal reasons” to make room for Monasterios on the roster. No further details are known at this time.

Belisario started the season on the restricted list when he showed up to training camp 35 days late, battling work visa issues which he blamed on his 2009 arrest for driving under the influence.

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Dodgers Sign Trent Oeltjen To Minor League Deal

The Dodgers yesterday signed outfielder Trent Oeltjen to a minor league deal, and assigned him to Triple A Albuquerque. Oeltjen exercised an opt-out clause in his minor league deal with Milwaukee last week. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel reported that defense played a part in Oeltjen not getting called up to the Brewers:

Oeltjen had been on an offensive tear with the Sounds, raising his batting average to .301 with 24 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 38 RBI and a .851 OPS. But his defense wasn’t considered major-league ready, so the Brewers opted not to call him up and move out one of their players.

“Our reports were that he was coming on dramatically with the bat,” said assistant general manager Gord Ash. “We liked him, obviously. That’s why we signed him. But as a defensive outfielder, he wasn’t what we were looking for.”

Oeltjen, the 27-year old native of Australia, burst onto the scene last season with the Diamondbacks, hitting three home runs in his first four major league games, in August. However, he collected just nine hits in 50 at-bats following that opening surge.

The Dodgers released Timo Perez, the 35-year old outfielder who was on a minor league deal, to make room for Oeltjen on the Isotopes roster.

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Kuroda Looks To Rebound As Dodgers Wrap Up Series With Marlins

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers haven't been playing so well lately when Hiroki Kuroda takes the mound. They'll have to get over that when Kuroda gets the call tonight in the finale of a three-game series versus the Florida Marlins at Chavez Ravine.

Kuroda is just 2-5 with a 4.93 earned run average in his last eight starts, with the Dodgers going 3-5 over that time. He hopes to erase the memories of his last outing, a 1 2/3-inning stint at Arizona last Friday in which he surrendered six runs and eight hits during a 12-5 affair.

The Japanese right-hander, who managed to beat the New York Yankees the start before, fell to 7-6 with a 3.78 ERA in 16 total outings this season. Kuroda, who won five of his first eight starts, beat the Marlins in his 2010 debut back on April 9 in Miami. He gave up just one unearned run and five hits in eight innings of his team's 7-3 victory.

In four career starts against the Marlins, Kuroda is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA.

Los Angeles will be counting on Kuroda to push that mark to 2-0 after it posted a 7-3 victory last night in the second portion of this set. Vicente Padilla limited the Marlins to a pair of runs on six hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. Jonathan Broxton got the final two outs of the game for his 18th save as the Dodgers won for sixth time in eight tries.

"Vicente was great, he kept throwing strikes," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Everybody was making a contribution. We're playing with a lot of confidence right now."

Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Casey Blake all homered for the Dodgers, while Rafael Furcal had two hits and three RBI to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Kemp belted a two-run homer during a four-run second inning for Los Angeles, which is three games behind San Diego for the top spot in the NL West Division.

Furcal, who was named NL Player of the Week on Monday, also became the first Dodgers player since Gil Hodges in 1953 to score a run in 12 straight games.

The Dodgers also slightly improved their record against NL East foes to 5-10.

Florida fell 9 1/2 games back in the National League East standings with yesterday's loss, its eighth in the past 12 games. Chris Volstad started for the Fish and failed to come through by allowing five runs on five hits and three walks in only three innings of work. He is 4-8 on the season and was sent to Triple-A New Orleans after the game.

"He was getting behind in the count," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said on the team's site. "And on a team like that, they have good hitters one through nine, you can't do that."

Burke Badenhop was recalled from New Orleans to take Volstad's place.

Top rookie Mike Stanton hit a two-run homer and finished with three RBI for Florida, which got two hits and a run scored by Cody Ross. The Marlins are 2-3 on a 10-game road trip.

Taking the hill for Rodriguez's club tonight will be All-Star Josh Johnson, who is 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA over his last two starts -- both Florida losses. Johnson had been 3-0 in his previous four outings before his current winless drought and previously pitched in last Friday's 4-3 setback at Atlanta.

Johnson didn't suffer the loss, as he tossed six innings of one-run ball before the bullpen blew it. He remained at 8-3 this season and lowered his earned run average slightly to 1.82.

The right-hander, who is 2-1 in six road starts this season, faced the Dodgers in a 7-6 win at home back on April 10. He didn't factor into the outcome and allowed three runs in five innings. Johnson is 2-1 with a less desirable 6.23 ERA in five career starts in this series.

Florida won two of three meetings with Los Angeles the last time these two teams got together from April 9-11 of this season.

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