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Dodgers don't snooze, still lose

Slumping offense finally wakes up, but only after they fall behind, 8-1, and Arizona holds on, 8-7.

August 05, 2007|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Nomar Garciaparra went deep. So did Andre Ethier. And the dormant Dodgers offense rose from its two-week slumber to pound the Arizona Diamondbacks for six runs over the last 3 1/2 innings.

But it wasn't enough.

The Dodgers couldn't erase what was once a seven-run deficit, falling, 8-7, to the Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium and losing for the 11th time in 15 games.

The Dodgers dropped three games behind Arizona in the National League West, the furthest they've been from first place all season. They are also assured of losing their fifth series in a row, another season high.

"You don't want to fall too far behind," Ethier said. "We have to find that edge to start winning again."

Pitching for the first time in 10 days because of irritation in his hip joint, Derek Lowe lasted five innings and delivered only 76 pitches. He gave up six runs, four of them earned.

"It was probably more about getting over the mental part of being in the game," Lowe said. "It didn't interfere with any of my pitches. I dug us a pretty big hole there."

His counterpart, Livan Hernandez, limited the Dodgers to two runs and five hits in six innings, three in which the home team left runners in scoring position.

The Dodgers, who had nine hits in the game, scored a run in the fourth but left the bases full. They had men on the corners with one out an inning later, but failed to score.

The severity of the Dodgers' slide, somewhat reminiscent of their 1-13 crawl coming out of last season's All-Star break, had Manager Grady Little acknowledging before the game that he had concerns.

Make that "deep concerns."

Little called the Dodgers' slump "a total team effort."

"We've limped a little bit with our pitching, we've limped a little bit with our offense, we've limped a little bit with our defense," he said.

"It all works together. It's all part of what it takes to play not-winning baseball."

Little went as far as to ask reporters to sit on the dugout bench where he usually sits during his pregame Q&A session. Little stood in front of the bench, which is what most reporters do.

"We have to change something," Little said. "We can't keep doing the same."

But the execution didn't match the intent Saturday, starting with a two-run home run that Lowe surrendered to Eric Byrnes in the first.

Lowe retired the next 11 batters he faced, but two errant throws by the infielders behind him contributed to the Diamondbacks' tacking on four runs in the fifth and extending their lead to 6-1.

With two men on, first baseman James Loney speared a hard-hit grounder by Miguel Montero. Loney's throw to first was too wide and low to be caught by Lowe, allowing Mark Reynolds to score. The next batter, Hernandez, hit a grounder to second that Ramon Martinez scooped up, but his throw home was high. Catcher Russell Martin had to reach up to catch the ball, preventing him for tagging out Justin Upton.

The exit of Hernandez was the elixir the Dodgers sought, as they pounded reliever Juan Cruz for four runs in the seventh to draw within 8-6. The rally was punctuated by a three-run homer to left by Garciaparra. The home run was only his sixth this season, but his fourth since the All-Star break.

Ethier hit a solo shot to start the eighth.


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