MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - On and off the field, the Los Angeles Dodgers are still struggling to figure things out.
A few hours after owner Frank McCourt won a reprieve in bankruptcy court to maintain day-to-day operations of the cash-strapped ballclub, Ted Lilly was trying to maintain control of his pitches.
For one day, at least, McCourt was more successful.
Lilly lost his third-straight start Tuesday night, giving up six runs and nine hits in a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins. After falling behind early, the Dodgers rallied to make it 4-all in the fifth after Aaron Miles' first homer of the season and Andre Ethier's two-run single.
But Minnesota's Luke Hughes hit a two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning, Lilly was pulled, and the Dodgers didn't score again.
``I'm not quite sure what's going on with him,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Lilly. ``But obviously they're getting to him early.'
A day after beating the Twins 15-0 on a club-record 25 hits, the Dodgers found themselves down 3-0 after two innings. Minnesota scored in four of the first five innings, just as Los Angeles had a day earlier.
Twins starter Brian Duensing (5-7) retired eight of the first nine batters, allowing just a single to Miles, but eight of the next 12 hitters reached base.
``I'm hurting the ball club,' Lilly said. ``Four runs should be enough for us to win. We also threw five innings of scoreless relief, too. It'd be nice to give us a better shot to win that game.'
Lilly has allowed at least five runs in his last three starts, continuing a frustrating string. He's yielded 17 runs in his last 14 2-3 innings. Minnesota stole four bases against the soft-tossing lefty.
``It seems like every time I go to throw over at the first, they're standing there, and then when I go home they're standing on second,' Lilly said.
Minnesota snapped its six-game losing streak. The Dodgers still haven't won more than three in a row this season.
``For the most part, we've been able to put a couple games together,' Mattingly said. ``Looks like we might get something going here or there, and then we just seem to fall back. Obviously we're going to need to win tomorrow and keep trying to put this thing together.'
Off the field, meanwhile, McCourt is in a Delaware bankruptcy court in a contentious battle over one of the most storied - and lucrative - franchises in baseball. The ownership fight is linked in part to McCourt's divorce from his wife and former team CEO Jamie McCourt, who is also claiming half his assets.
The Dodgers have blamed their bankruptcy filing on Commissioner Bud Selig's refusal to approve a multibillion-dollar TV deal with Fox that McCourt was counting on to keep the franchise afloat.
McCourt gained approval from Judge Kevin Gross to enter into a $150 million bankruptcy financing arrangement to keep the team running.
NOTES: Dodgers C Rod Barajas (sprained right ankle) is progressing in his rehab, taking batting practice and throwing. Mattingly said Barajas is in line to play rehab games Saturday and Sunday. ... Mauer was 1 for 4 and is hitting .630 (17 for 23) lifetime against the Dodgers. He's hit safely in each of his seven games against Los Angeles, recording multiple hits in five of those games. He is 4 for 9 against Lilly. ... Miles is hitting .419 (26 for 62) in June, the top mark in the National League. ... Twins RHP Kevin Slowey (abdominal muscle strain) is slated to start Wednesday for Class-A Fort Myers and will throw about 50 pitches. Slowey's next appearance will be at Triple-A Rochester on Monday.
The Associated Press News Service
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