Despite 13 Hits, Dodgers Lose 5-1

The Dodgers got 13 hits, six walks and the Braves made a pair of errors but those numbers only translated into a 5-1 loss, their ninth in the last 10 games. However, due to a San Diego loss in Philadelphia, the Dodgers clung to a percentage point lead in the N.L. West. Wilson Alvarez (2-1) allowed a pair of homers, including one by the Braves pitcher, and the Los Angeles record slid to 23-19 after peaking at 20-10 not so long ago.

Paul Lo Duca and Milton Bradley collected three hits each in the loss. Lo Duca's average soared over .350 and is among the leaders in the National League. As a club, the Dodgers were 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Pitcher Mike Hampton hit a fastball for a solo homer in the fourth and Chipper Jones hit a changeup for a two-run homer in the fifth off Alvarez, who has been hit hard in back-to-back starts for the first time as a Dodger.

L.A. loaded the bases in the fifth, but Adrian Beltré's low line drive was picked off at the shoe-tops and the throw to first for a double play ended the inning. The Dodgers put runners on first and second with nobody out in the sixth, only to watch Andruw Jones save two runs by making a diving catch of Jose Hernandez's drive into the left-center gap. The Dodgers had two runners on and one out in the eighth, but pinch-hitter Jason Grabowski hit into a double play.

Shawn Green had two hits and drove in the Dodgers' run with a seventh-inning bad-hop single. That was the first RBI in 35 at-bats for Green on the second anniversary of his historic four-homer game.

"That's not Shawn Green. The fact that he got a couple hits, that's not Shawn Green-type stuff we're accustomed to seeing."--manager Jim Tracy.

The Dodger offense has averaged 2.6 runs in its last 10 games and the closest they came to scoring was when Paul Lo Duca rounded third base on Beltré's third-inning single only to be thrown out at the plate by the left fielder.

Dodger Blue Notes--Green had a .619 lifetime average against Atlanta starting pitcher Mike Hampton coming into Sunday's game, and convinced Tracy that he didn't need a second day off. ... Dave Roberts ran the bases before the game, then flew with the team to Milwaukee. If his hamstring is sound Monday, he will fly to Florida for a two-game rehabilitation assignment with Vero Beach. ... Alex Cora's .295 batting average coming into play Sunday was behind only the injured Marcus Giles, Mark Loretta and Jeff Kent, and higher than second basemen with offensive reputations like Todd Walker, Luis Castillo and Jose Vidro. And Cora has three homers, three triples and four doubles, contributing to a .464 slugging percentage, compared to a career average of .344 coming into the season. His OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .847 trails only Giles, Kent and Walker. The only Dodger with a minimum of 100 at-bats and a better OPS is Adrian Beltré. ... There was little change in Hideo Nomo's injured index finger, and Jose Lima will start in his place Saturday.