A trio of Dodgers -- Jamey Carroll, Andre Ethier and James Loney -- could not come up with the ball during the first inning of a 5-3 loss to the Mets on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
While players warmed up on the field Wednesday, the public-address system at Dodger Stadium played an instrumental version of an old rap song by the Wu-Tang Clan called "C.R.E.A.M." — an acronym for "Cash Rules Everything Around Me."
The musical selection provided an appropriate soundtrack for the evening.
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Both teams are strapped for cash and appear to be preparing to unload salaries leading up to the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.
The last-place Dodgers were even poorer after dropping a 5-3 decision to the Mets, extending their losing streak to five games and dropping them a season-worst 14 games under .500.
Even with most-valuable-player candidate Jose Reyes sidelined because of a strained hamstring, the Mets moved to within one victory of a sweep in the four-game series.
The Mets had a rare opportunity to mock an organization in worse shape than theirs.
One player joked to the New York Daily News that compared to the Dodgers, the Mets "look like a model franchise."
Mets owner Fred Wilpon at least has the backing of Commissioner Bud Selig, who appears determined to remove Frank McCourt as the owner of the Dodgers.
The Dodgers' dysfunction, both on and off the field, has resulted in trade rumors involving Hiroki Kuroda.
Kuroda has an earned-run average of 3.06, but he was only 6-10 after the game on Wednesday. The disparity between his performance and won-loss record has led other teams to wonder if the 36-year-old would waive the full no-trade clause in his one-year, $12-million contract.
"At this point, I haven't been told anything," Kuroda said. "But as long as there is a possibility that this team can reach the playoffs, I don't want to think about anything like that."
Kuroda's latest loss didn't rank high on his list of undeserved defeats, as he was charged with four runs and eight hits in six innings.
A two-out double by Lucas Duda in the fourth inning put the Mets ahead, 1-0.
With the score tied, 1-1, in the sixth inning, Kuroda again had a two-out meltdown.
Carlos Beltran, who reached third base on a throwing error by left fielder du jour Eugenio Velez, scored on a wild pitch to reclaim the lead for the Mets.
Duda then singled, as did Josh Thole, and both scored on a double by Ruben Tejada to increase the Mets' advantage to 4-1.
The Dodgers scored twice off Mets starter Jon Neise in the bottom of the inning, as Andre Ethier hit a run-scoring single and Juan Uribe a sacrifice fly.
The attendance was announced at 31,005 fans, but there were so few Dodgers fans in the building that Mets fans seated on the first base side were able to start a clearly audible chant of "Let's go Mets!" in the ninth inning. The chant was drowned out by Dodgers fans, who countered with a chant of their own.
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