LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers' pitching staff surrendered four home runs against the Atlanta Braves. Two of them came off Hiroki Kuroda, who had an otherwise solid outing and got no runs to work with while he was in the game.
Kuroda allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings on Tuesday night before the Braves exploded for eight runs in the ninth against Kenley Jansen and Ramon Troncoso in a 10-1 victory — Brandon Beachy's first in the majors.
"That's a tough thing for us because we were down by two, and then we get back in the game in the seventh," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "The final score looks different than what the game really was. It's a 2-1 game going into the ninth, and then you just can't stop them."
Los Angeles got on the board in the seventh against Scott Linebrink when Juan Uribe led off with a scratch single off Linebrink's glove. Uribe scored from third when third baseman Chipper Jones robbed rookie Jerry Sands of a possible double down the line with a diving stop and threw him out by a step.
"I was a little out of position for where he hit it, because he's been inside the ball the last two nights and hitting it the other way quite a bit," Jones said. "Apparently, we ran one in on him and he got around on it. It was just a reaction play, trying to knock it down and keep it on the infield. It stuck, and I made a good enough throw to get him and preserve the lead there."
The run ended a scoreless streak of 18 2-3 innings by the Braves' bullpen. Jonny Venters replaced Linebrink, striking out pinch-hitter Marcus Thames and retiring Casey Blake on a bases-loaded grounder after a two-out walk to Jamey Carroll.
In the Braves' ninth, Eric Hinske batted for Venters and deposited Jansen's 3-1 pitch into the first row of the lower seats in the right field corner for a two-run homer. It was Hinske's first of the season and sixth of his career as a pinch-hitter. He also capped the rally with an RBI single after Dan Uggla's three-run homer off Troncoso and RBI singles by Brian McCann and Alex Gonzalez.
"Those are all major league hitters, and any time anyone can pop it out of the yard," Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas said. "The guys who hit them tonight, they all have power. They're not slap guys, who you wouldn't necessarily say have no power."
Kuroda, a control specialist who came in averaging 2.02 walks per nine innings during his four-plus seasons in the majors, walked his first two batters in the fifth before starting a 1-6-3 double play on Nate McLouth's comebacker and retiring Beachy on a groundout with Freddie Freeman at third.
But in the sixth, Martin Prado led off with a drive that barely cleared the fence in left-center. The homer was just the second hit off Kuroda to that point, including Prado's leadoff single in the first. Kuroda got behind Freeman 2-1 before his next pitch cleared the fence just to the left of center field.
"He went out there and competed. When you give up two solo home runs in seven innings, that's not a bad outing," said Barajas, who got the night off while A.J. Hinch caught Kuroda for the third time in his four starts. "Every now and then those mistakes are going to be hit out of the park. But he pounded the strike zone. He struggled in his last outing. And to come back and give us that kind of performance, it was a game we could have won."
Kuroda was lifted with one on in the seventh when Brooks Conrad came up as a pinch-hitter for Beachy. Kuroda lost a 1-0 decision to Tim Hudson last August in Atlanta when Conrad homered against him in the seventh inning. The right-hander also pitched a one-hit shutout against the Braves at Dodger Stadium on July 7, 2008.
"He throws a four-seamer that can ride up in the zone, a two-seamer that he spots on the outside corner, a tight little slider 85-86 miles an hour and a split that was very effective for him in the first inning," Jones said. "After that, he had a little trouble throwing it for strikes. That's a big strikeout pitch for him."
Andre Ethier hit a two-out double to right field off Jason Heyward's glove at the warning track with two outs in the first, but was stranded. The hit extended the longest active hitting streak in the majors to 16 games and matched the longest streak of Ethier's career, which he established as a rookie in 2006.
Beachy (1-1) yielded just two hits over six scoreless innings, struck out seven and walked two in his seventh big league start. He came in with a 5.19 ERA over his three previous outings, including a 6-5 loss on Thursday against Florida at Turner Field in which he was charged with five runs and four walks in 5 1-3 innings.
"It's not a bad place to get the first win. I don't think any place would have been a bad place for that, but I think it's pretty cool that it happened here," said Beachy, who struck out the side in the fourth. "It took a lot longer than I had hoped to get it, but it feels good."
Notes: Mattingly will celebrate his 50th birthday on Wednesday. He spent his entire 14-year playing career with the Yankees, who were 6-4 when Mattingly played on his birthday. In those games, he was 12 for 38 with nine RBIs, including home runs on his 26th and 29th birthdays. ... Beachy did not give up a home run for the first time this season. The Braves' staff has gone 50 consecutive innings without allowing a homer.