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Dodgers nearly no-hit in finale vs. Braves

MLB.com @kengurnick

ATLANTA -- A 10-game trip against playoff-caliber teams started with the arrival of Manny Machado, included a 16-inning loss with utilityman Enrique Hernandez on the mound and ended on Sunday with the Dodgers one strike away from being no-hit by Sean Newcomb before losing, 4-1, to the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Chris Taylor singled a 2-2 fastball past diving third baseman Johan Camargo with two outs in the ninth inning to ruin Newcomb's bid for history. It was the lefty's 134th pitch of the game, the most thrown in an MLB game since Tim Lincecum's 148 in 2013.

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ATLANTA -- A 10-game trip against playoff-caliber teams started with the arrival of Manny Machado, included a 16-inning loss with utilityman Enrique Hernandez on the mound and ended on Sunday with the Dodgers one strike away from being no-hit by Sean Newcomb before losing, 4-1, to the Braves at SunTrust Park.

Chris Taylor singled a 2-2 fastball past diving third baseman Johan Camargo with two outs in the ninth inning to ruin Newcomb's bid for history. It was the lefty's 134th pitch of the game, the most thrown in an MLB game since Tim Lincecum's 148 in 2013.

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"Just battled him, honestly," said Taylor. "I was the only guy that got him a fourth time around. He's got a really good fastball and I just wanted to be on time. If he got me with offspeed, fine. But he was going after guys with the high heater and I was just thinking, 'Stay above it, just trying to shorten up.' He was throwing it by guys all day."

The Saturday night flap over batting-practice attire was rendered insignificant by a dreary getaway-day loss that might have doubled as the last start in a while for All-Star Ross Stripling, as he made it only four innings. The Dodgers are expecting to move one of their six starters to the bullpen soon.

Video: LAD@ATL: Stripling strikes out Acuna Jr. to end frame

Manager Dave Roberts said there would be a conversation to determine Stripling's next assignment -- another start, a skipped start, relief work -- but the pitcher sounded as though he's prepared for a change in roles, if not seeking one.

"It's obvious I'm just not putting guys away early like I was a month or two ago," said Stripling.

Until Taylor's single, the Dodgers came close to a hit only twice. Shortstop Dansby Swanson made a tricky catch with his back to the infield on a Hernandez popup leading off the second inning and center fielder Ender Inciarte went to the warning track to catch a Machado fly ball with one out in the fourth. Taylor was singled home by Machado to ruin the shutout.

Video: LAD@ATL: Swanson makes a nifty sliding basket catch

Newcomb, a former first-round pick of the Angels acquired in the Andrelton Simmons trade, began the ninth by getting Logan Forsythe on a flyout to left field and Cody Bellinger on a high fly to shallow right field before Taylor's hit.

"He was just in control and we didn't get a lot of good swings off," Roberts said of Newcomb. "It was good to watch him compete. Our guys didn't quit and ran that pitch count up."

Although the loss prevented the first four-game Dodgers sweep of the Braves since 1990, the Dodgers went 6-4 on their trip through Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Atlanta, and are still in first place.

Video: LAD@ATL: Machado lines an RBI single to left field

"We're playing good baseball," said Roberts. "I thought it was a very productive, successful road trip. We've got to go home and play four with a Milwaukee team that's playing well. Our guys are pitching well, playing defense, doing all the things we need to do."

Meanwhile, the club will soon send a starting pitcher to the bullpen, and Stripling looks like the one. Primarily a reliever since recovering from 2014 Tommy John surgery, Stripling was pressed into starter duty this year because of rotation injuries, and he stepped up like, well, an All-Star.

Video: LAD@ATL: Roberts on Newcomb, loss to Braves

But after serving up back-to-back home runs in the All-Star Game, Stripling (8-3) allowed five runs and three homers in 4 2/3 innings in Philadelphia and four more runs -- including a Nick Markakis two-run home run -- on Sunday, needing 88 pitches to get through only four innings.

"'Disappointing' is a decent word for it," Stripling said, if he's returned to the bullpen. "When I got moved to the bullpen [after Tommy John surgery] and it took a year and a half to get back in the rotation -- and to think it could take that long again, [it] kind of stinks. I'm proud of the work I've done when guys got hurt. I feel like I stepped up and threw some big innings and hopefully they remember that. It's kind of, 'What have you done for me lately?' I'll take it, whatever it is and I'll get guys out in whatever role and try to make my way back, if that's the case."

Despite striking out five, Stripling allowed back-to-back RBI doubles in the first inning to Markakis and Kurt Suzuki, then Markakis slugged his homer in the third, which ended on Stripling's 70th pitch.

SOUND SMART
Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta was the last to fire a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 30, 2015, at Dodger Stadium. The last Braves pitcher to no-hit the Dodgers was Kent Mercker in 1994.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Despite the short start by Stripling, the Dodgers received two scoreless innings each from Daniel Hudson and Erik Goeddel.

HE SAID IT
"There is something to the pride factor, that you don't get no-hit and not letting one guy finishing the game, let alone no-hitting you." -- Roberts, on the 27-out effort

UP NEXT
The Dodgers open a seven-game homestand on Monday night against Milwaukee, with Kenta Maeda opposing Freddy Peralta in a 7:10 p.m. PT start. Maeda was cruising in his last start, but allowed a tying three-run homer to Jorge Alfaro in the seventh inning in what turned into a 16-inning loss to the Phillies.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers