Blanton starts strong, falters in Dodgers 7-3 loss

Joe Blanton appeared to be on his way to a solid outing. Then he couldn't get himself out of a jam in the fifth and it proved to be costly.

Blanton (8-10) allowed four runs — all in the fifth — in five innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 7-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Saturday night.

"He's rolling along, his pitch count is down and you're thinking he's got a chance to go deep," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It seemed like he was doing what he wanted with the baseball and all of a sudden the switch got flipped and he couldn't keep them from hitting the ball hard. The whole game flipped right there."

Blanton allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out three.

The pivotal inning was sparked by a pair of ground ball doubles by Donovan Solano and Nick Green down the left-field line.

"A couple of cheap doubles down the line — well-placed hits by them — and things got going a little fast," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said.

Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco (9-11) overcame nine hits in five innings as he snapped a five-game losing streak by allowing just two runs.

"I think Ricky was surrounded by Houdini because I don't know how he did it," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "And David Copperfield tried to help him too because it was hard to watch."

Nolasco struck out Matt Kemp in the second inning to get out of a bases-loaded jam and induced two double-plays to prevent a big inning to earn his first victory since July 6 at St. Louis.

"It's funny how the game goes," Nolasco said. "Sometimes you pitch well enough to win and you lose. Sometimes you have no business being in the game and you just find ways. I was just trying to find a way, limit the damage, and the offense came through to put up some big runs."

Carlos Lee hit one of the Marlins' season-high five doubles and drove in two runs to lead the Miami offensive attack. Lee is hitting .485 (16 for 33) with runners in scoring position since being acquired in a trade from the Astros on July 5 and has 25 RBIs during that time.

"Carlos is an RBI machine," Guillen said. "That's the reason why he made a lot of money over his career."

Matt Kemp had three hits, stole two bases, and drove in a run for the Dodgers.

Shane Victorino bounced into a fielder's choice to drive in the Dodgers' first run and Andre Ethier's RBI single gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead.

Dodgers starter Joe Blanton (8-10) allowed just one hit through four innings before running into trouble in the fifth.

"He had a good mix of stuff going, but we stuck with it and continued to have good at-bats and made him pay when it counted," Miami's John Buck said.

Miami overcame the two-run deficit in the pivotal inning when they scored four runs keyed by consecutive doubles from Donovan Solano, Nick Green, and Buck. Green and Buck drove in runs to tie game 2-all as the crowd of 27,681 erupted for the home squad.

"It's awesome," Nolasco said. "This crowd is so much funner when we're hitting and scoring runs. It gets so loud and the hitters feed off of it. We haven't heard that in a while, but it was fun."

Two batters later Gorkys Hernandez laid down a successful squeeze bunt, which gave the Marlins a 3-2 lead and Justin Ruggiano followed with an RBI single.

"Started the fifth with a strikeout and then they hit two rollers right down the line that got through — that started the inning," Blanton said. "I made one or two mistakes after that, it happened quick. It was kind of like, 'What just happened?'"

Lee's double off the left-center field wall against Brandon League in the eighth gave Miami a 6-2 cushion. Solano's base hit to right scored Lee.

Kemp's RBI groundout in the ninth capped the scoring.

NOTES: United States women's beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor was in attendance. Her husband is Dodgers backup C Matt Treanor. ... Kemp is batting .462 (24 for 52) with three homers and 12 RBIs since July 28. ... Former Marlins infielder Hanley Ramirez continued to receive boos before each at-bat. Ramirez went 1 for 4. ... Dodgers 3B Jerry Hairston Jr. left the game in the sixth inning with left hip tightness. ... Marlins INF Greg Dobbs was a late scratch from the lineup with a tight left oblique and is day to day. ... Miami's Emilio Bonifacio (left thumb) is expected to begin a rehab assignment next week with Class-A Jupiter and is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 19 when the team plays at Colorado. ... Dodgers LHP Chris Capuano (10-8, 3.29 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-1, 1.50 ERA) in the series finale on Sunday.