LOS ANGELES (AP) - Once the injury-ravaged Los Angeles Dodgers get Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Mark Ellis back in the lineup and start scoring runs in bunches again, they'll probably look back at this recent offensive drought as nothing but a bad dream.
Right now, it's reached nightmarish proportions.
The Dodgers have lost a season-worst seven straight and been shut out five times in their last six games, including Saturday's 5-0 loss to Johan Santana and the New York Mets. They have produced only two runs in their last 57 innings.
Manager Don Mattingly's offense hasn't led at any point of a game since June 24 at Angel Stadium, when the Dodgers had a 2-0 advantage in the top of the second inning and saw Aaron Harang give up two runs in the bottom half.
``When you're not scoring runs, it's frustrating,' said right fielder Scott Van Slyke, who has been filling in for the injured Ethier in right field the past three games. ``I think it's just going to take one game where everyone's swinging the bat well to just kind of relax everybody and get things going.
``I mean, when you look at the Mets today, they got a double, got him over and got him in like three pitches. So when you're scoring runs, it looks easier than it actually is.'
Nathan Eovaldi (0-5) has logged 41 innings in his seven starts this season, and his teammates have totaled just three runs while he's been in the game - giving him the lowest run support in the majors. The Dodgers have been on the losing end in every one of Eovaldi's outings, scoring fewer than three runs in six.
``I go out there not thinking about that,' Eovaldi said. ``I just try to compete, try not to let anybody score and give my team the best chance to win. We all know that it's going to be a challenge and a battle. You just try to make the best of it.'
One night after knuckleballer R.A. Dickey held the Dodgers to three hits over eight innings in his 9-0 victory over Harang, Santana (6-4) had an identical line against a team that is in the depths of a 1-11 freefall that has seen the Dodgers go from five games ahead in the NL West to a game behind San Francisco. At one point, Los Angeles led by as many as 7 1/2 games on May 27.
``I don't have a lot of answers,' Mattingly said. ``Some really tough days right now.'
Eovaldi gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings and did not strike out a batter, after getting tagged for eight runs over five innings in an 8-0 loss last Monday at San Francisco.
The 22-year-old right-hander fell behind 2-0 on sacrifice flies by David Murphy in the second inning and Josh Thole in the fifth. In the sixth, Ike chased Eovaldi with his 11th homer, a towering drive to center field one pitch after intentional walk to David Wright with Andres Torres at third base.
``If we're going to succeed, that's how we're going to do it - by somebody else coming through when we need them,' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ``We've ridden the David Wright horse a lot. Right now, they're going to start pitching around him, so those other guys in the middle have got to start doing damage. And that's why we've won some baseball games recently.'
When asked how much satisfaction he got from hitting a home run after a teammate was intentionally walked in front of him, Davis said: ``Just hitting a home run is a great feeling. Hopefully I can continue to do some damage in situations like that, especially if other teams are going to walk David. Maybe toward the second half of the season, they'll start having to pitch to him.'
Santana (6-4) threw 107 pitches, striking out three and walking two. The two-time AL Cy Young winner and four-time All-Star, who missed all of last season while recovering from shoulder surgery in September 2010, finished June 4-2 with a 2.77 ERA in six starts. Santana is 5-0 with A 0.50 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers.
``After the second inning, he got better and better and better, and he got much better command of his fastball and his changeup,' Collins said. ``This is his best outing since the no-hitter.'
In his fifth start since pitching the first no-hitter in Mets history on June 1 against St. Louis, Santana did not give up a hit between Dee Gordon's leadoff single in the first inning and Van Slyke's leadoff single in the eighth. Tony Gwynn Jr. singled two batters later and both runners advanced on Adam Kennedy's groundout. But Gordon grounded out to third.
NOTES: In every one of Santana's five starts since his no-hitter, he allowed a hit before recording his fourth out of the game. He gave up a two-run homer to the Yankees' Robinson Cano in the second inning, a two-run double in the second by Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce, a second-inning double by Baltimore's Matt Wieters, and a first-inning single by the Cubs' Alfonso Soriano. ... Saturday was the 50th anniversary of Sandy Koufax's first of four career no-hitters, a 5-0 victory over the Mets at Dodger Stadium. ... The Dodgers signed 18-year-old SS Corey Seager, the 18th overall pick in the draft and the brother of Seattle Mariners 3B Kyle Seager. ... Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis picked off Torres at first base in the third inning.
The Associated Press News Service
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