Jurrjens, Braves hammered by Dodgers

With his hand on his hip, his back to the plate, and a lump in his throat, Jair Jurrjens watched the last of Matt Kemp's three-run home run disappear over the center field fence.

There was nothing left to do but watch it ride, the big blow of an 9-1 series-clinching win by the Dodgers Sunday night.

For all the mines Jurrjens had dodged during four scoreless innings - the strikeout of Manny Ramirez to strand runners in the third, striking out the pitcher to leave the bases loaded in the fourth - he watched it all disappear in a four-run fifth inning that opened the floodgates.

"I was trying to go high fastball away and see if he's going to chase it, but I left it down the middle," Jurrjens said of his two-out 0-2 pitch to Kemp. "That was the game. One mistakes and it cost us the game."

Kemp matched his career-high with five RBIs after he helped to blow it open against the Braves bullpen with a two-run double in the eighth inning.

The Dodgers' lineup, which was leading the National League with a .276 batting average, proved too treacherous, and on this night much better.

The Braves managed only five hits to the Dodgers' 19 and were shut out until the eighth inning when Martin Prado singled in Matt Diaz. The 19 hits by the Dodgers were a season-high off Braves pitchers.

"They hit the cover off the ball today," Diaz said. "They got a lead early on a three-run homer, and their pitchers did what they're supposed to do with a lead, threw strikes and went after us. We couldn't take advantage."

The Braves wasted an opportunity to gain ground on the Phillies, who lost to the Giants Sunday afternoon. The Braves are stuck seven games back in the NL East.

After winning their first three series coming out of the All-Star break, the Braves have lost each of the last two. A late night trip to the West Coast Sunday night just got longer. The Braves will try to regroup when they open a series in San Diego today. They head on to LA to face the Dodgers again on Thursday.

When the Dodgers arrived at Turner Field on Friday, the Braves' pitching staff had given up a major-league low 69 home runs. But the Dodgers hit three homers this weekend, one in each of the first two games by Andre Ethier and the one on Sunday by Kemp.

Kemp's spoiled what had been a nice pitching duel between Jurrjens and National League All-Star Chad Billingsley.

Billingsley mixed in a nasty curveball, anywhere from 80 mph down to 67 mph -- Chipper Jones can attest -- to rack up nine strikeouts in five innings. He set the tone with back-to-back strikeouts of Jones and Brian McCann in the first inning to strand Martin Prado at second base.

"He was really good," McCann said. "He was throwing everything for strikes, didn't matter what count it was. At 3-2, he threw a backdoor curveball that had really good bite. It was one of those things where he just beat me."

Prado's double in the first and Nate McLouth's double in the third were the Braves' only hits off Billingsley, who had to leave after the fifth inning with a cramp in his hamstring.

Jurrjens had thrown first-pitch strikes to nine of the first 12 batters he faced, but he had trouble putting hitters away. He needed 103 pitches in only five innings, while giving up four runs on a season-high 10 hits.

"It really made it difficult when I wasn't throwing my slider for strikes, just had two pitches to throw [fastball and changeup]," Jurrjens said. "You're going sit [on a particular pitch] and keep fouling and fouling. It made it difficult on me."