Published May 18, 2011
LOS ANGELES – Randy Wolf's pitch count was his biggest enemy in a tough loss against his former club.
Hiroki Kuroda outpitched Wolf with his second straight scoreless outing, Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Milwaukee 3-0 on Tuesday night to snap the Brewers' four-game winning streak.
"They were making me work tonight — and I was, too. I wasn't very sharp tonight," Wolf said. "I got into a ton of 3-2 counts and wasn't able to put guys away early in the count and get some contact. Obviously, that first-inning mistake was the ballgame, really."
Wolf (3-4) threw 119 pitches over 5 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits with two strikeouts and a season-high four walks. The left-hander's departure was hastened by a 28-pitch first inning and a 30-pitch third inning.
"He picks at the zone and throws pitches off the plate to make you chase," said Kemp, who came in 0 for 5 against Wolf with five strikeouts. "Sometimes he gets behind in the count and walks guys. I got that one hit off him to score those runs, and he shut us down after that. But Kuroda pitched a helluva game. All he needed was two runs today, and that got the job done."
Andre Ethier drew a two-out walk and Kemp drove a 3-1 pitch the other way to right-field fence for his team-high eighth homer and second in 16 games.
"Having played with Matt, I know his strength is right-center to right field," Wolf said. "He's got that inside-out swing and he's a big strong guy. I just didn't hit my spot there. I wanted the pitch up. I wanted it elevated above the belt, but it was thigh-high and in a zone where he could do some damage."
Kemp's ball was the only one that carried far enough. The Brewers hit two balls that died on the warning track, one by Casey McGehee in the first with two men on, the other by Prince Fielder in the sixth with a man on.
"This field here, man, sometimes it'll rob you of home runs. I know that from playing here all the time," Kemp said. "At night, it's definitely hard to hit home runs. But I was pretty sure I got that one. I had to run hard just to make sure it was gone."
Kuroda (5-3) allowed six hits in 7 2-3 innings, struck out seven and walked three. It was the fifth time this season that the Dodgers won when scoring three runs or fewer — including last Wednesday at Pittsburgh, when Kuroda pitched two-hit ball over seven innings in a 2-0 win.
"He was good," Fielder said. "He didn't make too many mistakes and kept the ball down for the most part."
Kuroda gave up an infield single by Rickie Weeks leading off the eighth, then was charged with his first balk in 557 1-3 innings since joining the big leagues in 2008. But Corey Hart and Ryan Braun both flied out, and Kenley Jansen retired McGehee on a foul pop after walking Fielder.
Matt Guerrier pitched a perfect ninth for his first National League save and second of his career.
Fielder came within a few feet of tying it in the sixth, hitting a drive to Kemp on the warning track in center field after Braun's leadoff single.
The Dodgers loaded the bases in the fourth with two walks and a two-out infield single to shortstop by Kuroda, who barely beat the throw by Betancourt after he charged the slow bouncer. But Wolf escaped the jam when Jamey Carroll grounded into a fielder's choice.
Kuroda pitched with two men on in three of the first four innings, but escaped unscathed each time. In the first, Kemp went to the wall in right-center to flag down McGehee's two-out drive with runners at the corners. In the fourth, Carlos Gomez grounded into an inning-ending double play after singles by Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy.
"Kuroda pitched a great game," Wolf said. "He made the big pitches in big situations and got a couple of ground balls when he needed to. He's having a good year so far."
Wolf hit his 32nd career double over Ethier's head in right field leading off the third, extending the Brewers' streak to 14 consecutive games with a two-base hit. But he was stranded at third when Braun struck out and Fielder flied out.
Notes: A moment of silence was observed for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who died Tuesday at age 74. He played at Dodger Stadium in the 1965 World Series and homered against Don Drysdale in the Minnesota Twins' Game 3 loss. ... Brewers radio play-by-play man and ex-major leaguer Bob Uecker, who starred on the television sitcom "Mr. Belvedere" in the late 1980s, recalled the time Killebrew made a guest appearance. "The script of that particular show called for me to play a game against my son's Little League team," Uecker said. "So I went out and I got Harmon, Ernie Banks, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench and Reggie Jackson. That was my team. And they all showed up. It's one of the pictures I have that when I look at it, I say: 'Geez, what a picture this is. They're all Hall of Famers.'" Uecker also is enshrined at Cooperstown — in the broadcasters' wing. ... Milwaukee placed LHP Mitch Stetter on the 15-day disabled list because of because of irritation in his left hip, making him the 11th player the team has put on the DL since the final week of spring training. They also designated RHP Sean Green for assignment and selected the contract of C Mike Rivera from Triple-A Nashville.