Dodgers Let Opportunities Slip Away

Montreal snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory as the Dodgers missed a number opportunities to get back in the game. Three home runs late in the contest erased an early 2-1 Dodger win and L.A. loaded the bases trailing 3-2 with none out in the seventh but couldn't score in front of 35,351 in the final game of a 5-4 home stand. They open a three-game series with the East Division leading Marlins on Tuesday.

Hideo Nomo (3-3), pitching in near 100-degree weather on the ninth anniversary of his major league debut, allowed three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. At least three more runs were prevented by spectacular defense by his teammates, Dave Roberts saving two runs with a diving catch, and shortstop Cesar Izturis cutting off another with a difficult play in the hole.

Nomo is now 3-3 with a 6.27 ERA in six starts and has not pitched longer than six innings or allowed fewer than two runs in any of his six starts. He Nomo threw 94 pitches, including a seven-pitch third, but used 50 pitches in the fourth and fifth innings. He left trailing 3-2.

Then the Dodger bullpen came apart, giving up three runs in the final two innings. Guillermo Mota served up a first-pitch two-run homer in the eighth and Duaner Sanchez allowed a solo shot in the ninth.

Montreal scored in the opening inning but Juan Encarnacion drove the first pitch in the second into the center field seats for his 100th career homer, his fourth this season, and collected his 15th RBI in the last 17 games. The shot cleared center field with plenty of room at an estimated 443 feet. Encarnacion was 6-for-12 in the three-game series and scored five runs.

The Dodgers took a brief 2-1 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Robin Ventura. Shawn Green walked, was singled to third by Encarnacion and scored when Ventura pulled a 3-0 pitch for an RBI single to right.

Roberts, playing center with Bradley out with an injury, made a diving, tumbling catch on a sinking two-out liner with runners on second and third to end the fourth inning.

Montreal tied it in the fifth and Cesar Izturis held the damage to one run by going deep in the hole at shortstop and throwing out the runner with runners at the corners. Nomo then gave up a tie-breaking home run in the sixth and the Dodgers trailed 3-2.

In the seventh, Alex Cora hit a leadoff single to right and went to second when pinch-hitter Jason Grabowski walked. Dave Roberts then placed a bunt between the third baseman and pitcher for a base hit. But Izturis hit a towering pop fly to shortstop, Beltré popped up softly and Green flied to right.

After recording eight come-from-behind victories this season, the Dodgers rally in the ninth only made it closer when pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz hit a sacrifice fly and Adrian Beltré banged an RBI single.

The Dodgers (15-9) were left with a series victory when a three-game sweep was there for the taking, but they remained tied with San Diego (16-10) in the National League West standings heading onto the road.

Dodger Blue Notes--Nomo is 117-93 in 287 big league starts with a 3.90 ERA and 1,817 strikeouts in 1,820.1 innings. ... Tracy reopened the battle for the fifth starter spot after Jose Lima delivered a second consecutive disappointing performance. The manager said seldom-used reliever Brian Falkenborg, Lima or Wilson Alvarez will get a spot start next weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates while Edwin Jackson, appointed the fifth starter in spring training, would remain in Las Vegas. Jackson is 3-1 with a 6.29 earned-run average in five starts for the 51s. ... Dodgers center fielder Milton Bradley (left ankle sprain) didn't play for the third consecutive day but was available to pinch hit from either side of the plate. Bradley said he had "no clue" whether he'd be ready to play Tuesday. ... Rickey Henderson just won't quit. The 45-year-old outfielder signed with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League, where he played last season before returning to the majors with the Dodgers. Henderson has the most runs (2,295), stolen bases (1,406) and walks (2,190) in major league history. He played in 30 games with the Dodgers, his ninth big league team, and batted .208 with two homers, five runs batted in and three steals. ... Outfielder Kenya Lofty was activated by the Yankees and former Dodger outfielder Bubba Crosby was optioned to the team's Triple-A affiliate at Columbus. Crosby made the team out of spring training and batted .222 in 11 games with two home runs. ... Gary Miscreant, the former director of publicity for Walt Disney (no jokes, please) and a member of Dodger co-owner Frank McCourt's transition team, has been hired to fill the void created by the resignation of the popular Derrick Hall, who left the club last month because of philosophical differences with new owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.

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