Kuroda allows No Runs in 5 2/3 innings

Hiroki Kuroda

RHP Hiroki Kuroda made his fourth Spring Training start the best of the season, limiting the Oakland Athletics to a pair of hits and no run while pitching into the six inning. Rookie Josh Lindblom allowed two runs late that tied the game but showed maturity beyond his years by wiggling out of a mess in the seventh inning.

Kuroda, who lowered his spring ERA to 2.50, is entering the final year of a three-year contract and his 3.74 career ERA leads all Japanese-born starting pitchers. He didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning.

RHP Josh Lindblom, 22, blew a save by allowing a pair of runs in the seventh inning, but pitched out of the jam and added a scoreless eighth inning, striking out four in his two innings.

The 22-year-old is a non-roster invitee again this year after being a late addition to major league camp in 2009, when he posted a 1.38 ERA and struck out 10, while limiting opponents to a .156 batting average (7-for-45) in five appearances.

Catcher A.J. Ellis, designated hitter Doug Mientkiewicz and outfielder Reed Johnson all drove in runs for the Dodgers. James Loney went 1-for-3 with a double, the only Dodgers extra base hit of the game, and Casey Blake, Matt Kemp and Nick Green also collected base hits.

It was the second tie of the exhibition series for each team. The Dodgers are now 7-10-2 and the As 9-10-2.

Starting candidates Ramon Ortiz and Josh Towers continue their tryouts for the Dodgers today (Thursday) against the Brewers at Camelback Ranch. At the same time, catcher Russell Martin will see his first action since opening day in a Minor League game against Texas in Surprise.

Dodgers Lose Early Lead
Los Angeles jumped into a 1-0 lead in the second inning when third baseman Casey Blake singles, designated hitter Garrett Anderson and second baseman Blake DeWitt walked and and catcher A.J. Ellis drove in Blake with a long fly.

Hiroki Kuroda retired the first six Oakland hitters before walking designated hitter Jack Cust to open the third inning. With one out, shortstop Cliff Pennington also drew a base on balls but Kuroda got out of the jam and worked a scoreless forth.

Ellis walked in the fifth and Nick Green, taking over at shortstop for Rafael Furcal, singled. The Dodgers second hit of the inning, a single by Reed Johnson, made it 2-0. Johnson was caught stealing but Jason Repko, replacing Andre Ethier, walked but they were left on base.

Oakland got the first hit of Kuroda in the bottom of the fifth inning when Cust singled with one out.

First baseman James Loney doubled in the top of the sixth, Jamey Carroll ran for him and moved to second on Ronnie Belliard's ground ball and scored when Doug Mientkiewicz bounced out pinch hitting for Garrett Anderson.

Ramon Troncoso replaced Kuroda with one out in the sixth and catcher Kurt Suzuki tagged him for a home run, only the Athletics second hit of the game.

Josh Lindblom opened the seventh by allowing his first hits of the spring to first baseman Eric Chavez and right fielder Ryan Sweeney, then bounced a wild pitch. Cust walked to load the bases and a second wild pitch cut the Dodgers lead to 3-2.

Lindblom finally got an out when Adam Rosales' fly ball tied the score. The young Dodgers pitcher recovered to strike out shortstop Cliff Pennington and center fielder Gabe Gross to end the inning.

After the Dodgers went down in order in the eighth, Lindblom allowed a single to left fielder Michael Taylor, struck out second baseman Eric Patterson got Chavez to fly out before notching his fourth strikeout and seventh in four innings, nailing right fielder Travis Buck.

Mientkiewicz singled in the ninth and Melvin Ray ran for him but was caught stealing. It was the only Dodgers hit over the final three innings.

Left-hander Juan Perez made his fourth appearance in the ninth inning and allowed a leadoff single to Cust and Steven Tolleson ran for him. That was it for Perez and Ayala took over, making his team-high sixth appearance. He worked a scoreless inning to keep the game tied and that was the way it ended.

Stults, Hu being shopped
Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports the Dodgers are attempting to trade pitcher Eric Stults and shortstop Chin-Lung Hu according to baseball officials from both the National and American League. However, Dodgers officials say they do want to part with the slick-fielding infielder.

However is is believe that both Stults and Jason Repko, who are out of options could be moved. 

And Then There Were 42
The Dodgers reassigned IF Alfredo Amezaga to minor league camp, trimming their spring roster to 42 players, which includes the injured Cory Wade and the yet to arrive Ronald Belisario. The Dodgers released veteran shortstop Angel Berroa on Monday.

Pitching Probables Thursday vs Milwaukee: RHP Ramon Ortiz and RHP Josh Towers.                           

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	010 011 000-3
Oakland	        000 001 200-3

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	2  0  0  0  .216
 Green ss	2  9  1  0  .208
Kemp cf	        2  0  1  0  .289
 Johnson cf	2  0  1  0  .306	
Ethier rf	2  0  0  0  .266
 Repko rf	1  0  0  0  .087	
Ramirez lf	2  0  0  0  .304
 Paul lf	2  0  0  0  .296
Loney 1b 	3  0  0  1  .310
 Carroll pr-3b	1  1  0  0  .375
Blake 3b	2  1  1  0  .296
 Belliard 3b-1b	2  0  0  0  .154
Anderson dh	1  0  0  0  .361
 Mientiewicz ph-dh 2  0  1  1  .292
 Ray pr-dh	0  0  0  0  .000
DeWitt 2b	2  0  0  0  .350
 Hu 2b	        1  0  0  0  .200
Ellis c	        2  2  0  1  .321
----------------------------------------
 Totals	        30 3 6 3
 Oakland	32 3 6 2

 Two-base hits- Loney (1). RBI- Ellis (2),
Johnson (8), Mientkiewicz (4). SF- Ellis.
LOB- Los Angeles 5, Oakland 8. RISP- Los
Angeles 1-for-6, Oakland 0-for-7. CS-
Johnson (1), Ray (1).

Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda	        5.1  1  0-0  2  2  2.51
Troncoso	0.2  1  1-1  0  0  7.94
Lindblom	2.0  3  2-2  2  4  4.50
Perez	        0.0  1  0-0  0  0  4.50
Ayala	        0.2  0  0-0  1  1  3.68
 WP- Lindblom 2. T- 3:07. Att- 7,917.
Back to the Basics
Tim Kurkjian, senior writer for ESPN The Magazine, wrote: "Manny Ramirez can be a knucklehead, but not when it comes to hitting. Mike Toomey, a Royals scout and special assistant to GM Dayton Moore, was in the Dominican Republic this winter running clinics and tryout camps. Toomey was in the lobby of a hotel at 8 a.m. looking at hitter's swings on his computer when he was tapped on the shoulder by Ramirez, who asked, 'Have you got me in there?' The two looked at video of Ramirez for an hour. 'He said, 'Look, I'm out in front here,' Toomey said. Ramirez came back every day the rest of the week to talk hitting, and to look at tapes; one day, he got down on his knees in the lobby of a hotel and showed Toomey a hitting drill he does. 'I don't think people realize how diligent he is about his craft,' Toomey said. 'He said he got away from his mechanics last year, and went back to the blueprints.' "

Dodger Blue Notes-- Most of the Dodgers were off with no games scheduled yesterday with the exception of right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley, who allowed two runs on a pair of solo home runs while striking out three, walking one and hitting a batter in 6.0 innings against the Indians' Triple-A team. Billingsley threw 84 pitches in the outing. ...Congratulations to Andre Ethier, who had his No. 14 jersey retired at his alma mater, Saint Mary's High School. Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, Assistant GM Logan White, broadcaster Rick Monday and former Arizona State Head Baseball Coach and current Padres Special Assistant to the GM Pat Murphy were all in attendance at the ceremony held this morning in the school's gymnasium. ...Dodger second baseman Blake DeWitt ranks among the NL's Cactus League leaders in batting average (.368, 10th), on-base percentage (.463, 6th) and slugging percentage (.632, 7th). Catcher A.J. Ellis also ranks among the NL Cactus League leaders in on-base percentage with a .471 mark (5th) and is tied for the league lead with eight walks. On the mound, Dodger pitchers hold three of the top 10 spots in ERA with Ramon Ortiz (1.38, 3rd), Russ Ortiz (2.08, 8th) and Carlos Monasterios (2.25, 9th). Chad Billingsley (1.86) and Clayton Kershaw (1.80) would rank among the league leaders in ERA, but do not have enough innings to qualify for the league leaders. Ramon Ortiz also leads NL Cactus League pitchers with 17 strikeouts in Spring Training. ...Congratulations to the Dodgers Sports Lab on winning a Golden Matrix Award for best music video among all professional sports teams for the video "Ice Cream Paint Job."  The video was produced by Manager of Motion Graphics Darrell Quandt and uses still images from Dodger staff photographer Jon SooHoo, who is entering his 25th season with club. --Dodgers Publicity    

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