Dodgers survive cold, but not the Rockies

Los Angeles was as cold as the weather in Denver, collecting only two hits in a rain-shortened 7-1 loss to the Rockies. In a rainless rain delay, the game was delayed one hour and 10 minutes for a fast-moving storm that never appeared. Jose Lima was pounded for seven runs, five earned, in three innings. Wilson Alvarez again made a good case for his inclusion in the starting rotation, pitching three scoreless innings before the game was called.

It was the first series loss the Dodgers have suffered this season but they still hold a two-game lead over the surprising San Diego Padres.

Light rain started with one out in the last of the first inning and continued until the sixth inning when it started to come down hard. The city was blanketed by 6-10 inches of snow later in the evening.

Lima walked Todd Helton in the first, then on a low-out side pitch that bounced in the dirt, David Ross picked him off first with a perfect throw.

Lima gave up a homer and a walk to start the second inning. Adrian Beltré let a potential double play ball glance off his glove into s short left and a double to center gave Colorado a 1-0 lead. A single and two errors by Jose Hernandez allowed a pair of unearned runs. L.A. trailed 4-0 and Lima's pitch count reached 56, 34 of them in the ugly fourth.

The Rockies added three in the third inning and Lima was given the rest of the day off, having thrown 80 pitches, 47 for strikes.

Paul Lo Duca, who got his first start in left field, guided a ball into right field in the top of he fourth for the first Dodger hit. He moved to second on a ground ball and Beltré's single put the Dodgers on the board. It also gave him the team lead with his 16th RBI. That was the start and finish for the Dodger offense.

Wilson Alvarez took over in the fourth inning and allowed a pair of hits with two out, then worked two scoreless innings, dropping his team-leading earned run average to a miniscule 0.75.

The umpires stopped the game after the bottom of the sixth and the hardy but frozen crowd didn't wait for the umpires to declare the game official, they just picked up their blankets and left.

The Denver Post estimated the Wednesday crowd at 3,000 and even fewer attended the Thursday contest that saw the first-pitch temperature at 42-degrees, a slight improvement over the night before.

Dodger Blue Notes--Caesar Izturis missed the final game of the series with the flu. ...Reliever Paul Shuey, who suffered a partially ruptured thumb tendon late in the spring, will have it examined Friday and might be cleared to begin rehabilitation. Even so, he still figures to be sidelined several weeks, including a possible minor league rehab assignment. Shuey's spot on the roster was taken by Duaner Sanchez, who has been one of the early surprises. Sanchez has a 2.08 ERA in seven appearances with eight strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. He is out of options and the Dodgers would likely lose him if they attempted to send him to the minor leagues. ...Catcher Todd Hundley might require his third back operation in less than a year, probably ending hope of the $6.5-million reserve playing this season. Hundley is experiencing hip pain. He sat out spring training after having surgery on Nov. 25 to repair a herniated disk after initially undergoing surgery for the problem June 5. Hundley's contract ends after this season. ...Jeremy Giambi is rehabilitating his damaged lower back at Las Vegas and plans to resume hitting off a tee at the end of the week. Giambi is on a minor league contract. ...The middle game of the Rockies series started with the temperature at a frosty 37-degrees, the third coldest first pitch in Colorado history -- the coldest was 28 against Montreal in 1997. The L.A. and Denver met in 38-degree weather on April 16, 1998 (tie for sixth coldest) but it was a day game. The two also battled in 97-degree weather on July 13, 2003 to set a record for that end of the thermometer. ...Beltré's homer April 21 made it three consecutive games he had homered, a personal best. He also has 19 home runs against Rockies pitching which by far the most he has hit against any club. ..