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NYM@LAD: Herrera's RBI triple cuts the lead in half

LOS ANGELES -- The scoreless streak is over, but the outcome remained the same. The Dodgers finally scored in the bottom of the fourth after 33 innings without a run, but they fell to the Mets, 3-2, Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. It's the Dodgers' fifth consecutive loss and ninth in their past 10 games. Coupled with a San Francisco victory against Cincinnati, the Dodgers are out of first place in the National League West for the first time since April 11, which was five games into Los Angeles' season.

Despite his team being shut out in its previous three games heading into Thursday's series opener, manager Don Mattingly was feeling optimistic before the game. And after his team lost, squandering a sharp performance by Chris Capuano, he insisted he still felt the same way.

"I think we know where we're at," Mattingly said. "We've been able to step back from that road trip and take in a little bit of a breath and kind of look into what really has happened to us and what has gone on through the course of the first half of the season. We are in an optimistic situation."

Although the bats woke up a little bit, the lack of power in the Dodgers' lineup -- especially from the corner infield positions -- continued to be problematic. The last Dodgers home run came on Friday, when Bobby Abreu went yard in the first inning against the Angels.

That lack of pop was even more evident Thursday night as David Wright, whose name had been thrown around in trade rumors surrounding the Dodgers earlier this season, hit a solo home run in the fourth and an RBI double in the first.

But despite the offensive woes and recent struggles, the team remains upbeat. With the All-Star break looming, signifying the upcoming returns of Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, Javy Guerra and Andre Ethier -- whose left oblique strain shouldn't send him to the disabled list -- the Dodgers have yet to hit the panic button despite falling out of first place.

"The race has just begun for us," Capuano said. "I look at the standings and I'm pretty happy where we are at right now."

The lefty said Thursday's game had a better feel than the ones on the road trip and that he thought the team was going to pull out another comeback win in the eighth or ninth. That was largely thanks to a two-run fourth inning that got the players in the dugout finally smiling again while earning the Dodgers a standing ovation from the 49,006 in attendance.

The speedy Dee Gordon led things off with a double that dropped between center fielder Torres and right fielder Lucas Duda. The scoreless drought ended on a triple by Elian Herrera roped over the head of Torres, who was playing in shallow center. Herrera scored one batter later on a Juan Rivera single up the middle that tied the game.

"When we did finally score a run, you could feel the tension lighten in the dugout," said Capuano, who gave up three runs on five hits in seven innings. "It was a good feeling. We were pumped up. We were jumping around. We were pretty jacked up."

"It felt good to score a couple runs to be honest," said Mattingly, who told his pitchers before the game to keep doing what they've been doing despite the offensive problems.

"We got back in the game right there and then they got one right back. At that point, it still felt like we were going to get back and score a run there and get back in it. We weren't able to cross that barrier tonight, so we keep going."

An RBI double by Torres in the fifth proved to be the last run of the game as the Dodgers failed to back up Capuano, who absorbed only his third loss this year.

The lefty, who is having a career year after going 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA for the Mets last season, came into the game 0-4 with a 6.35 ERA in five previous starts against his old team.

"To see his success this year, I'm very thrilled for him," said Capuano's former teammate Chris Young, who got the win for the Mets. "But I wanted to beat him. I wanted us to win the game tonight."

After striking out five and walking none on just 82 pitches -- only 21 balls -- Capuano left the game in the bottom of the seventh as Mattingly opted to pinch-hit Jerry Hairston with the Dodgers in need of some offense. Hairston was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second, but Gordon struck out to end the inning.

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