Dodgers Slip into Second Place

The thump you heard yesterday afternoon was the Dodgers falling out of first place after hanging on by their fingernails for the last couple of weeks. Errors in the first inning by Shawn Green and Cesar Izturis resulted in two unearned runs in the first inning as the Dodgers wasted seven strong innings from Jeff Weaver a day after squandering Odalis Perez'seven-inning outing. Milton Bradley's seventh home run -- a 420-foot blast in the seventh -- was the only offense Los Angeles could muster.

After either sharing or holding the top spot in the division since April 14, the Dodgers (24-21) have dropped 11 of 13, lost all three series on a nine-game, 10-day trip and return to Los Angeles a game behind San Diego in the National League West.

Green's problems continued as he made a key error in the first, grounded into an inning-ending double play in the sixth and after two-out singles by pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz and Izturis in the eighth, grounded out to end the inning. Green went hitless in four at-bats, dropping his average to .161 in May and .215 overall.

With one out in the first, Green made his third error at first on a ground ball. A single put runners on first and second, and a walk loaded the bases. When shortstop Cesar Izturis made a wild throw to first, the Brewers scored all the runs they would need to win. It was only the third error of the season for the reliable Izturis, considered a Gold Glove candidate by manager Jim Tracy.

Bradley's home run was his first since May 9 and third this month. He has only four runs batted in and eight runs scored in May after producing 18 RBI and 14 runs in April. Bradley has 22 strikeouts in May, a .326 on-base percentage and leads the Dodgers with 35 strikeouts.

"Jeff Weaver and Odalis Perez deserve a lot better fate than they've gotten to this point." Manager Jim Tracy

Weaver (3-6) gave up three hits and had eight strikeouts. He overcame command problems in the third and fourth (the first two batters reached in each inning), and then retired the last 11 batters he faced, including the side in the fifth, sixth and seventh.

Milwaukee got an insurance run in the eighth on a home run against left-hander Tom Martin.

The Dodgers scored 159 runs in their first 32 games for a 4.9 runs per game average and were 22-10. Since then over 13 games they have scored 33 runs for a 2.5 average and are 2-11.

The Dodgers, batting .270, were fifth in the National League as a team going into Thursday's game. But their 191 runs in 44 games ranked them third-last in the NL.

The only hot hitters are second baseman Alex Cora, who is batting .403 in his past 20 games, and shortstop Cesar Izturis, who is batting .352 during a stretch in which he has reached base in 13 consecutive games.

Dodger Blue Notes--Dave Roberts completed a two-day rehabilitation assignment at Vero Beach, rejoining the Dodgers on Thursday in Milwaukee. Barring an unforeseen setback, Roberts will be activated tonight against Arizona.,, After declaring that he would not rest third baseman Adrian Beltré, manager Jim Tracy gave him the day off to rest his sore left ankle.

Pitching lineups Against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium:
Tonight--Wilson Alvarez (2-1, 3.27 ERA) vs. Randy Johnson (5-4, 2.44 ERA).
Saturday--Jose Lima (5-3, 3.88) vs. Brandon Webb (2-4, 3.73).
Sunday--Kazuhisa Ishii (5-3, 3.88) vs. Casey Fossum (0-1, 8.00).

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