Dodgers deliver early knockout of struggling Burnett to end four-game slide

LOS ANGELES -- James Loney is as low-key on the field as he is away from it. With little fanfare, he's topped the 50-RBI mark with a couple weeks to spare before the All-Star break.

Loney tied a season high by driving in four runs to help the Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the New York Yankees 9-4 on Saturday, tying the teams' second regular-season series at a game apiece.

That gave him a team-leading 51 RBI a night after going hitless in four at-bats and getting thrown out for complaining about striking out to end the game.

"Not so many strikes today. I got some in the hole," he said. "Guys are getting on base a lot and I'm just trying to produce at those times."

Loney had RBI singles with the bases loaded in consecutive at-bats in the third and fourth innings. He's got his sights on a 100-RBI season.

"That would be special. I've never done that before," he said.

The Dodgers, who lost the opener 2-1 Friday night, stopped a season-worst four-game home losing skid. They've dropped 10 of 14 overall to fall out of first place in the NL West. They'll need another win in the finale Sunday to equal what they did in the clubs' first regular-season meeting in 2004, when they took two of three.

It was manager Joe Torre's first victory against the Yankees since leaving as their manager in 2007.

"It's important because they're the world champions and they're dangerous," he said. "Every time we face somebody we have to measure ourselves. It certainly doesn't hurt your confidence when you go out and beat this team."

The Yankees' three-game winning streak ended against the team they've beaten eight times in 11 World Series meetings, while their lead in the AL East shrank to two games.

Hiroki Kuroda (7-5) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked three for just his second win in his past seven starts.

A.J. Burnett's struggles on the mound continued with his shortest outing of the season. The right-hander (6-7) gave up six runs and six hits in three-plus innings, walked six and struck out five. He's 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA in his past five starts.

"My command got away from me in the third. I had it early. I had unbelievable stuff. I had velocity, I had movement and I had a good hook," he said. "What it comes down to right now is the fact that I have to relax a little bit and have some fun out there. But it's hard to do right now."

Burnett had said a day earlier that he thought his problems were caused by tipping his pitches. He's had family concerns on his mind, too. His 89-year-old grandfather died Friday in Arkansas, where Burnett had gone on Thursday before rejoining the Yankees in Los Angeles.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is sticking with Burnett, and won't have him skip a start.

"I've been saying all along that he is going to get out of this and he will," he said. "Every great player has been through slumps. I think struggles with pitchers always start with command. Anyone who can command the baseball can have success."

The Dodgers rallied from deficits of 3-0 in the first and 4-2 in the third.

Loney's two-run double on the first pitch from Burnett in the third tied the game at 4. After Burnett loaded the bases for the second time with no outs, Russell Martin hit a double play grounder, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.

They added two runs in the fourth, cashing in when reliever Boone Logan loaded the bases. Loney had an RBI single, with Matt Kemp getting thrown out at the plate on the same play, before Casey Blake's RBI single made it 7-4.

The Dodgers extended their lead to 9-4 in the seventh on an RBI single by Rafael Furcal and an RBI double by Kemp.

In the bottom of the first, the Dodgers got two runs on a ground-rule double by Manny Ramirez and Loney's sacrifice fly.

Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer in the first for New York. Alex Rodriguez made it 4-2 with a fielder's choice grounder in the third.

Game notes
The Dodgers drew a season-high 10 walks, including three by Ramirez. ... Torre, Yankees captain Derek Jeter and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all attended John Wooden's memorial service at UCLA before coming to the stadium. ... Yankees RHP Phil Hughes, returns to the rotation Tuesday in Seattle. He'll be followed by RHP Javier Vazquez before LHP CC Sabathia goes on Thursday. ... Rodriguez and Torre apparently haven't caught up with each other yet. ... Jeter had a walk, a single and two strikeouts on his 36th birthday. "It was my present," Torre said. ... Yankees relievers Alfredo Aceves (back) and Sergio Mitre (oblique) are scheduled to throw off the mound Monday at the team's spring training complex in Tampa, Fla. Both are likely to have rehab assignments before returning to the team.