LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers overcame a four-run deficit for the second consecutive game against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night, but this time, they lost anyway, 5-4 before 45,210 at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the third inning, but the White Sox retook the lead with a run in the fourth, and starting pitcher Philip Humber and the bullpen shut the Dodgers down the rest of the way, holding them hitless from the fifth inning on.
The Dodgers had pounded out nine hits through the first four innings, six of them during that furious rally in the third.
The Dodgers (41-25) still lead the National League West by four games over the San Francisco Giants, who lost at Seattle.
Good-hitting pitcher. Chad Billingsley entered the game with the second-highest average (.136) among Dodgers starting pitchers, behind only Clayton Kershaw. He went 2-for-2 to surpass Kershaw and raise his average to .208. Billingsley's leadoff single in the bottom of the third, a pulled shot through the left side of the infield, kicked off what became a stirring four-run rally by the Dodgers to erase the four-run lead the White Sox had built against him. The final three Dodgers runs all scored on two-out singles by Bobby Abreu, A.J. Ellis and James Loney. Billingsley then led off the third with an almost-identical hit, a single through the left side.
Heating up. Suddenly becoming a part-time player seems to agree with Loney. The much-maligned first baseman ran his hitting streak to six games with his RBI single in that big third inning. So far in June, he is hitting .317 (13-for-41) with five runs scored and five RBIs. He has struck out just twice in 45 plate appearances.
Back where he belongs. Tommy Lasorda, the Dodgers' Hall of Fame manager, was at the ballpark for the first time since suffering a heart attack 12 days ago. Lasorda was in good spirits, cracking several jokes while talking to reporters, and said he planned to stay through the middle innings. Lasorda also received a prolonged ovation from the crowd when he was shown on the video board in the first inning.
Giving it right back. After that four-run rally in the third, Billingsley went back to the mound and promptly hit the first batter, Alexei Ramirez, who eventually scored to put the White Sox back in front. Yes, it was an unearned run -- Jerry Hairston committed a costly error at second base -- but it underscores the point that Billingsley wasn't able to follow the Dodgers' big inning with a shutdown inning of his own.
Double trouble. The Dodgers appeared to be on the verge of an early rally, putting runners on the corners with one out against Humber. But the rally was snuffed when Hairston grounded into a double play, the league-leading 63rd time a Dodgers hitter has done so this season through 66 games.
Get a whiff of this. Dee Gordon may be performing better offensively since reclaiming the leadof spot, and he may not be hitting as many balls in the air as he once was. But the Dodgers shortstop is still striking out way too often for a guy who hits in that spot. He did it two more times against the White Sox. He presently is second on the Dodgers with 50 strikeouts and is averaging a strikeout every 5.2 plate appearances, which is far more frequently than he did as a rookie last year (once every 8.6).