"We'll try to keep helping [League]; that's the way it is. I'm comfortable with Brandon. He's going to have to get big outs over the course of the year and we'll continue to use him. We can't keep throwing [the same] people out there. We have to use our people."
League already has a 6.75 ERA after last year's 5.30, which came after the Dodgers gave him a three-year contract.
So the focus is understandably on League, even though the loss to the Giants was as much because the offense went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Wasted were three hits from Juan Uribe, including a home run and double; three hits from Yasiel Puig, including a triple; and two hits plus a walk from Matt Kemp, who didn't even start.
And an error by shortstop Hanley Ramirez turned into an unearned run, without which the Dodgers could have won the game in regulation time.
The Giants finally prevailed on Hector Sanchez's two-out single that grazed off the glove of second baseman Justin Turner. Sanchez's hit scored Brandon Crawford, who singled and went to second when Brandon Hicks' bouncer deflected off Uribe's glove and was picked up by Ramirez, whose only play was to first.
The Dodgers had extended the game in the bottom of the 10th with a Jamey Wright escape act that included deployment of the five-man infield. Gregor Blanco started the mess with a comebacker off the right leg of Wright, who retrieved the ball and threw to first. Umpire Andy Fletcher ruled Blanco out, but the call was overturned on replay and Blanco returned to first base.
Crawford's attempted sacrifice bunt was so good it went for a single. Hicks bunted the runners to second and third.
Mattingly went with the five-man infield, bringing left fielder Andre Ethier to play first base with Adrian Gonzalez moving between Ethier and second baseman Turner as Wright pitched to Sanchez, a .125 hitter, with first base open. But Sanchez walked on a 3-2 pitch.
On another 3-2 pitch, Angel Pagan popped to shortstop under the infield-fly rule for the second out and Ethier returned to left field, where he then caught Brandon Belt's fly ball to end the threat.
The Dodgers had taken a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, when the Giants tied it. Uribe homered in the second inning, then doubled and scored the other Dodgers run on an RBI pinch-single by Turner in the seventh.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Pagan singled off the foot of closer Kenley Jansen. Belt bounced a double inside third to score Pagan with the tying run. In his last five appearances, Jansen has allowed runs in three of them and blown two of his last four save opportunities.
"Two hits like that, it is frustrating," said Jansen. "He [Belt] got lucky on it; what can I do? It was kind of a slap swing.
"I'm not worried with what's going on. It didn't start my way, but I know I'm good. I'll learn from it and keep going out and compete."
While in the shadow of the torrid Gonzalez and Dee Gordon offensively this season, Uribe is hitting .379 and silencing skeptics who worried he would coast after signing a two-year contract during the offseason.
The Dodgers got five wild but scoreless innings from starting pitcher Josh Beckett. He allowed only two hits, but walked five and hit a batter, requiring him to escape a pair of bases-loaded threats. Opposing starter Tim Lincecum was effective too, except for the solo home run he allowed to Uribe.
"I made two of four pitches I needed to make," said Beckett. "I burned myself in the fourth inning with a lot of taxing pitches. It would have been nice to give the bullpen more of a breather."
Chris Withrow took over for Beckett in the sixth and allowed a line single to Hunter Pence. Ramirez then tried to run around Michael Morse's grounder in the hole instead of backhanding it, throwing off-balance on a bounce to second, where Gordon couldn't make the short-hop. Withrow then wild-pitched Pence to third, and he scored the unearned run on Crawford's sacrifice fly to center.
Uribe led off the seventh with a double off Jean Machi and was bunted to third by Tim Federowicz. Pinch-hitter Kemp walked on four pitches, the Giants brought in lefty Javier Lopez and the Dodgers pinch-hit for .372 hitter Gordon with Turner, who singled up the middle to score Uribe.