Sports Network) - The last time the Los Angeles Dodgers won their division after being at least six games back this late in the season was 1983, when the club battled back from a 6 1/2-game deficit to win the NL West.
Los Angeles is currently six games off the pace in the division standings and will try to put the brakes on a season high-tying six-game losing streak Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series versus the rival San Francisco Giants from Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers were swept in four games at St. Louis before returning home to drop the first two portions of this series with San Francisco. It dropped its sixth straight game with last night's 7-5 setback, as the Dodgers blew a 5-1 lead and allowed six unanswered runs over the last four innings. Clayton Kershaw started for LA and allowed four runs -- two earned -- in six innings for the no-decision.
Closer Jonathan Broxton allowed three runs in one-third of an inning to absorb the loss and erase a one-run edge for the Dodgers, who have lost six in a row for the first time since June. Broxton was forced to leave the game after the umpires ruled acting manager Don Mattingly made two trips to the mound when the former Yankeeslegend took one step off the hill before turning back. The Dodgers were then forced to bring in George Sherrilland he immediately surrendered a two-run double by Andres Torres.
"Don thought he was still on the mound when he went back to talk to Broxton. But replays showed he was on the grass when he went back," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
A total of three batters were hit by pitches last night, and many others were almost hit. That led to the ejections of Torre, Kershaw and Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer. Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer and Xavier Paulfinished 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored in defeat. Blake DeWitt and Casey Blake each had two hits and an RBI for Los Angeles.
Los Angeles will host the New York Mets for four games after this set.
Chad Billingsley has fallen on hard times since winning four straight starts and will take the mound Wednesday for Torre's club. Billingsley won four starts in a row from May 10-May 26, but is just 1-3 with a 5.91 ERA in his last seven outings.
Billingsley last pitched in Friday's 8-4 loss at St. Louis and suffered the defeat for giving up seven runs and 10 hits in four innings of work. The loss dropped him to 7-5 in 17 starts to go along with a 4.61 ERA.
The right-hander, who is also 3-3 in eight home starts this season, squared off with San Francisco in a 4-2 win by the Bay and did not figure into the decision. Billingsley held the Giants to two runs in six innings and is 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 16 games (11 starts) this season.
San Francisco pulled within three games of the NL West-leading San Diego Padres with Tuesday's win, as Torres sparked a three-run ninth inning with his big hit off Sherrill in the ninth. Pablo Sandoval also knocked in two runs and Buster Posey ended with two hits and an RBI for the Giants, who have won 11 of their last 13 games and haven't swept the Dodgers in LA since April 24-26, 2007.
Tim Lincecum started for the Giants and the two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner was reached for five runs and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings for the no-decision. Santiago Casilla got the win with two scoreless innings of relief and Jeremy Affeldt posted his third save with two K's in the ninth.
"I didn't bring my game to the table. I found myself battling every inning," Lincecum said. "A come back win in general was good for us."
Giants starter Barry Zito will take the ball Wednesday and hasn't put together back-to-back wins since opening the 2010 campaign 5-0 in his initial six trips to the hill. He was 0-2 with a 5.79 earned run average in five starts before beating the New York Mets last Thursday in a 1-0 victory. Zito tossed eight shutout innings that day and matched a season high with 10 strikeouts.
It was Zito's stingiest outing since throwing eight scoreless frames in a win over Colorado back on April 30. Zito improved to 8-4 in 19 starts and lowered his ERA from 3.76 to 3.51. The left-hander and 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, who is 2-3 in nine away starts, will face the Dodgers for a third time this season. He is 0-0 with a 2.03 ERA in those starts, both San Francisco losses.
Zito is 6-5 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 career starts against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles has won five of eight matchups with San Francisco this season. The Dodgers swept the Giants in three games by the Bay from June 28-30 and have won 11 of the past 17 meetings between the ballclubs.