LOS ANGELES (AP) - Andre Ethier played center field for the first time in his major league career due to Matt Kemp's hamstring injury. And he held up just fine.
Ethier caught the first two outs of the game and made a diving catch in the sixth inning to rob Justin Upton of a hit, but the Los Angeles Dodgers' five-game winning streak ended with a 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
``I kind of laughed to myself after that first pop fly was hit to me,' Ethier said. ``You've just got to be ready. You can't be saying: `Don't hit the ball to me.' I was out there wanting to track down stuff and just trying to be aggressive and knowing where my teammates were going to be on certain balls. More than anything, I just wanted to have fun with it out there.'
Ethier had his fun - to a point. He had to retrieve five of Arizona's 13 hits, one of them an RBI single by Miguel Montero during a three-run fifth that began with six straight singles. The first one was by Wade Miley, who pitched in and out of trouble through 6 2-3 innings to get the win.
``Sometimes you don't string hits together,' Ethier said. ``You just can't wait for the big double or the big home run. Sometimes you've got to go out there and get a rally going. But we just couldn't get one going.'
Chad Billingsley (2-3) threw 77 pitches in four-plus innings and was charged with four runs and eight hits in his 200th regular-season game. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.34 ERA in his last five starts, a stretch that began with a 12-0 loss at Houston in which he lasted only 3 1-3 innings.
``I thought Chad was pretty good today,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``He was just, honestly, a little bit unlucky. Today was just one of those games where we didn't get the big hit.'
Miley (4-1) scattered eight hits and walked one, but managed to limit Los Angeles to just one run on Mark Ellis' homer. The 25-year-old left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in five starts since being inserted into the rotation on April 23 to replace Daniel Hudson, who is out with a right shoulder impingement.
Ellis had three hits for the Dodgers, who still own the best record in baseball at 24-12 and lead San Francisco by six games in the NL West.
Arizona loaded the bases in the second when Miley reached on a strikeout-wild pitch after a two-out intentional walk to Aaron Hill. Billingsley then walked Gerardo Parra to force in a run, but he minimized the damage by retiring Willie Bloomquist to end the inning.
``The big reason we jumped out to the lead was Wade hustling after he struck out,' Bloomquist said. ``That's just a little thing that probably won't show up in the box score, but that's what kept that inning going.'
The Diamondbacks' fifth included run-scoring hits by Upton and Montero against Billingsley and another RBI single by Jason Kubel against Javy Guerra. But Guerra got Ryan Roberts to ground into a 5-2-3 double play and retired Hill on a groundout.
Lyle Overbay drove in Arizona's fifth run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, again with the bags full. The Diamondbacks came in 6 for 30 in bases-loaded situations.
``The biggest thing was getting the bases loaded, and guys came through with big hits,' Bloomquist said. ``We were threatening in virtually every inning to score. Not to look at the negative, but if you were trying to be picky, we left a lot of guys on base. The positive is, we had a lot of guys on base. So we were making things happen and we executed a lot better.'
NOTES: Ethier, who won his first Gold Glove last year in RF, also started the 2010 All-Star game in center field and played 90 minor league games at that position between 2004 and 2005. ... Scott Van Slyke, the son of former major leaguer Andy Van Slyke, was in the starting lineup for the first time in the big leagues. He played RF and was 0 for 4 while batting third in front of Ethier. ... Dodgers 1988 Cy Young Award winner and World Series MVP Orel Hershiser threw out a ceremonial first pitch on a night when the club handed out Hershiser bobbleheads. His catcher was another Dodgers Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw. ... The Dodgers wore black caps with an interlocking ``LA' during batting practice as a show of support for the NHL's Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. The Kings beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-0 to take a 2-0 series lead back to Staples Center.
The Associated Press News Service
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