ATLANTA (CBSLA.com/AP) — Dodgers manager Don Mattingly refuses to put all the blame on his beleaguered bullpen.
With Los Angeles’ offense scratching out just two early runs and then having 19 straight batters retired before A.J. Ellis drew a two-out walk in the ninth inning, Mattingly believes the entire team is at fault.
“The last couple days, we’re not giving ourselves any breathing room and we’re asking a lot out of our guys,” Mattingly said. “We’re asking them to be perfect. That puts some extra pressure on us.”
Kenley Jansen and Brandon League combined to allow four runs in the eighth, and the Dodgers lost 5-2 to end a three-game sweep by the Atlanta Braves on a rain-soaked Sunday.
Ramiro Pena had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth, and Jordan Schafer drove in two runs for the Braves.
Jansen (1-3) took the loss for the second straight game, this time allowing one hit, two runs and a walk while getting just one out in a game twice delayed by rain for a total of 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Jansen began the eighth by allowing a single to Freddie Freeman and walking Brian McCann. Mattingly brought in League for the first time in the series, but Los Angeles’ closer fared no better than his teammate.
“Obviously we’ve got to get that thing in order,” Mattingly said of the bullpen. “We’ve got guys who are capable of throwing good. We just haven’t been consistent.”
After Atlanta loaded the bases when third baseman Juan Uribe was charged with a fielding error on Andrelton Simmons’ sacrifice bunt attempt, League gave up a tying RBI single to pinch-hitter Gerald Laird to make it 2-all. Pinch-runner B.J. Upton scored on Pena’s fly.
The Braves added two more runs off League on Chris Johnson’s RBI single and a sacrifice bunt by Schafer.
Closer Craig Kimbrel earned his third save of the series and 14th in 17 chances as the Braves earned their fourth series sweep this season.
Kimbrel struck out Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez, and after Ellis walked, Andre Ethier also whiffed.
“When you put up two runs a day, it’s not exactly fair to the bullpen and your pitching staff to say your pitching is letting you down late in the game,” Mattingly said.
“Well, it could be 4-2 or 5-2 (in Los Angeles’ favor). You add on a run here or there, and it takes a lot of pressure off a guy that you can’t give up one hit that changes the whole game.”
Luis Avilan (2-0) pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out one.
The Dodgers went up 1-0 in the first when Carl Crawford led off with a double, moved to third on Mark Ellis’ groundout and scored on Gonzalez’s RBI single.
In the third, Crawford walked, moved to third on Kemp’s double and scored on Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly to give Los Angeles a 2-0 lead.
Los Angeles rookie Matt Magill didn’t allow a runner to get into scoring position until the fifth when Pena reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on Braves starter Mike Minor’s single and scored on Schafer’s RBI single to make it 2-1.
Magill was chased after Justin Upton’s leadoff single in the sixth. J.P. Howell made just two pitches, a pair of strikes to Freeman, when the game was stopped by a second rain delay. This one lasted 33 minutes.
Magill, who could lose his spot in the rotation with Ted Lilly likely to come off the disabled list on Monday, gave up four hits, one unearned run and three walks in five-plus innings. Magill has a 5.00 ERA in four starts.
“I think every time I go out there I feel more comfortable on this big stage, just trying to go out there and do my job and help give my team the best chance of winning,” Magill said. “I felt good going in. I just knew that if I attacked the guys, good results would happen. It’s just a bummer we lost — that’s all.”
Minor allowed three hits and two runs with two walks and a season-high nine strikeouts in six innings.
In Atlanta’s seventh, Mattingly used three pitchers — Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez and Jansen — to face five batters. Jansen struck out Justin Upton to end a threat with runners on first and second.
“It goes back to us not being able to add on anywhere,” Mattingly said. “One of those times we’ve got to tack on a run here (and) tack on a run there to not put ourselves in that spot where we can’t give up anything.”
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