Dodgers struggle again in loss to Brewers

The Dodgers' anemic offense continued to put an undue burden on their starting pitchers to be letter-perfect.

Jon Garland held the Milwaukee Brewers to a pair of RBI singles over six innings, and even that was too much to overcome.

Shaun Marcum won his fifth straight decision, Carlos Gomez robbed Juan Uribe of a homer and Rickie Weeks singled home the go-ahead run to help the Brewers nip Los Angeles 2-1 on Monday night.

"Our confidence is down a little bit, offensively," said rookie manager Don Mattingly, whose team was held to fewer than three runs for the 10th time in 15 games. "We have to fight and scratch for every run. We're putting our pitchers under a lot of pressure to keep us in games. At some point, we're going to get that big hit to get us over the hump."

Marcum (5-1) wasn't about to let that happen on his watch. The right-hander allowed a run and five hits over seven innings and struck out four. It helped that he faced a lineup with four position players who came in batting .230 or lower — including Uribe and James Loney. On top of that, sluggers Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp both were 0 for 4.

"We can't ask Matt and 'Dre to carry us all year long. We've got to get Juan going and we've got to get James going," Mattingly said. "We're not happy about being under .500, but I'm proud of the way these guys have played. They're playing hard everyday, so I don't see a club that's giving in and not trying and giving you everything they have."

Kameron Loe pitched a perfect eighth and John Axford did likewise in the ninth, striking out Kemp and Uribe and retiring Loney on a flyball to pick up his ninth save in 11 chances and first on the road.

Garland (1-3) threw 94 pitches in six innings, allowing two runs, seven hits and four walks with one strikeout. The right-hander threw 25 pitches over two scoreless innings last Thursday night at Pittsburgh before the game was rained out.

"With the way Marcum was throwing the ball at the start of the game, you knew you were going to have one of those battles. And that's what it turned out to be," Garland said. "It's silly to think you can go out there and throw shutouts every night, so you just have to keep trying to make your pitch, get as many outs as you can and give the team the best opportunity to win."

Weeks, who came in 5 for 28 with runners in scoring position, snapped a 1-1 tie with a sharp ground single through the left side of the infield after Garland walked Marcum on a borderline 3-2 pitch with two outs in the sixth. The hit scored Corey Hart, who led off with a double.

"I thought there were a couple of close ones there," Garland said when asked about umpire Brian Knight's strike zone. "He had a tight zone all night and he didn't budge. And it ended up costing me the game."

Marcum retired his first four batters before the slumping Uribe hit a drive to left-center and discarded the bat with the anticipation of a home run trot. But Gomez raced back and made a leaping catch above the 8-foot high fence, drawing some scattered applause from the crowd of 35,346.

"I was playing about two or three steps toward left field and he hit it pretty good, but I thought it was going to be a routine flyball," Gomez said. "I didn't think the ball was going to go that far, but it was very high, and I timed it really good and made a perfect jump. I knew we were going to win the game after that — because most times we make plays like that, everybody's motivated to do the things we have to do to win the game."

Gomez was on deck in the third inning when Dodgers left fielder Jay Gibbons raced toward the fence and caught Weeks' extra-base bid a split-second before crashing against the auxiliary scoreboard. Gomez was struck on the right hand with a pitch as he tried to check his swing, then stole second and scored on Fielder's sharp ground single past shortstop Jamey Carroll.

Garland escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Gomez, and the Dodgers tied it in the bottom half on Kemp's sacrifice fly after Carroll led off the inning with a bloop single and Aaron Miles bunted his way on. It was the fourth time in four games that Carroll and Miles, the first two batters in the Dodgers' lineup, opened an inning with back-to-back hits.

The Brewers, coming off a three-game sweep against Pittsburgh, have won seven of nine following a seven-game losing streak. Prince Fielder drove in their other run with a third-inning single.

Notes: The Dodgers fans' disenchantment with embattled owner Frank McCourt — and the team's 19-23 record — hasn't turned Chavez Ravine into a ghost town just yet. But they've drawn only two crowds of 40,000 or more in 16 home games since the season-opening four-game series against San Francisco. Both were a result of promotional giveaways. ... The Brewers had at least one baserunner in every inning and stranded 14 overall. ... Garland did not retire more than three consecutive batters at any one time. He is 0-2 in his last four official starts despite a 2.65 ERA during that stretch. ... Gibbons made his third start in the outfield after missing the first 30 games because of vision problems. His leadoff double in the fifth was his first extra-base hit.