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Franchise-record six errors doom D-backs

Franchise-record six errors doom D-backs

PHOENIX -- To comprehend what went on Saturday night at Chase Field, one would require much more than a cursory glance at the box score.

Though a second, serious look-see might not suffice, either.

In interim manager Kirk Gibson's second game at the helm, his D-backs matched a dubious franchise record by committing three errors in one inning and broke a decade-long mark with six total errors in their 14-1 defeat to the visiting Dodgers.

Arizona's fifth-largest crowd of 44,169 witnessed Rusty Ryal (two errors) and Tony Abreu (three), reserves receiving starts at first base and shortstop, respectively, make five of those miscues.

"Nothing surprises you, [but] we don't expect to play that way," Gibson said on the night he made his first double-switch as skipper. "We have been played pretty solid [defensively]. It was just one of those games. Tony had a night to forget. I told him, 'I've had worse games than that.'"

"It was rough," added Mark Reynolds, who committed the other error, his 10th, and homered in the ninth for Arizona's lone run. "You just don't know how to explain it.

"Sometimes when guys make an error, it gets in their head a little bit and it snowballs."

Entering their second of three games against their visiting divisional rival, the D-backs were actually on pace to record 25 fewer errors (99) than the '09 iteration ended the season with. In fact, improving each man's glovework was a point of emphasis during the A.J. Hinch-run Spring Training.

Any progress in that category didn't show itself on Saturday. The game shifted in the second with two Arizona fielding errors, one Dodgers player walking on three balls -- yes, three -- and another illegally passing a teammate on the basepaths, all leading to six Los Angeles runs against tough-luck starter Rodrigo Lopez (4-7).

Following Ryal's fielding error, Xaxier Paul drew an eight-pitch walk -- on a 2-2 pitch, according to television replays and in-house official scorer Rodney Johnson. Paul headed toward first base and no one -- not home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman or anyone wearing a D-backs uniform -- stopped him.

"I remember I asked the umpire, 'What was the count?' He said '3-2.' And I threw a pitch in[side]," said Lopez, who admitted he wasn't aware of the three-ball free-pass until a reporter informed him. "I don't know what happened there."

Paul's unlikely walk loaded the bases for Blake DeWitt, who singled home the game's first run. Then Kershaw's would-be ground-out was mishandled by Abreu, allowing Casey Blake to cross home plate.

The Dodgers contributed to the faulty frame when Rafael Furcal ran past Kershaw at second base after plating two on a double to deep center field. Kershaw apparently didn't see the fly ball drop from Chris Young's glove at the warning track and began retracing his steps.

"When the pitcher started running backward, Raffy didn't know what to do," said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. "We don't work on that in Spring Training."

The big blow came a batter later, Los Angeles' eighth of the especially-long inning: Matt Kemp's two-run home run extended his club's advantage to six runs.

Of course, the wackiness continued in the third, as Arizona committed three more errors -- on three consecutive plays.

Blake, a second-time beneficiary of the D-backs' self-inflicted woes, reached second base on Mark Reynolds' two-base throwing error before Paul was involved in another strange play. The Dodgers' left fielder grounded the ball to Ryal, but he tossed wide of Lopez and, as the ball skipped away and Blake ran home for run No. 7, Paul turned toward second base and was tagged out.

Abreu committed his second error on a Russell Martin-struck ground ball, but Lopez induced another ground-out -- this one executed -- to finally end the threat.

"I don't have words to describe it," said Lopez, who was charged with nine runs (two earned) in his shortest outing of the season. "I've never pitched with so many errors behind [me]. You get a ground ball, it's routine, and you're not able to make the outs. Frustrating for me pitching out there, and for them, too."

Lopez left after Furcal and Andre Ethier each lifted solo shots in the fourth to put the Dodgers ahead by nine but the weird, wacky game was far from over.

After singlehandedly turning an impressive double-play in the fifth, Abreu sailed his throw to first trying to retire the speedy Furcal. The mistake allowed Martin to score run No. 11.

"I don't know what happened," Abreu said. "I'm working everyday early before BP."

What's more in the box score: Dodgers lefty starter Kershaw (8-4) held Arizona's lineup to four hits over 5 2/3 shutout innings. He struck out eight and pitched in front of eight flawless fielders.

Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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