Perez Hit Early And Often in 8-6 loss

Odalis Perez gave up seven quick runs in the first two innings and the Dodgers tried all evening to catch up, putting men on base everywhere but leaving 16 of them stranded -- four times they loaded the bases and came up with just two runs -- in an 8-6 loss. After winning streaks of four and eight early in the season, the team has hit a downdraft and has lost three in succession.

One couldn't blame Perez for the whole mess. A leadoff grounder to Hee-Seop Choi was fumbled, then underhanded to first base although Perez did not cover the base. Catcher Jason Phillips backed up the play, preventing the ball from going into the Rockies dugout.

A sacrifice bunt followed and Choi picked the ball up and -- despite Jeff Kent standing on first base -- softly tossed the ball to Perez who had started to cover but held up with the ball was fielded. That put runners on first and second with none out instead of none on with two outs. The Dodgers never recovered.

Perez was charged with eight runs and 10 hits in five innings, allowing a four-run first inning and three in the second. It was the third consecutive game in which a Dodgers starting pitcher had allowed at least five runs by the fifth inning.

The bullpen is certainly stressed. Elmer Dessens went on the disabled list and D.J. Houlton was held back in case the weather turned out as predicted. Brad Penny was scheduled start the series finale but will not work if it is cold.

Buddy Carlyle had pitched in three of the previous four games. Tracy used four relievers (Steve Schmoll, Duaner Sanchez, Kelly Wunsch and Giovanni Carrara) to hold the Rockies and they worked three scoreless innings.

Dodgers had 11 baserunners in the final four innings and scored only twice, going 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position. They left the bases loaded in the eighth when pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz flied to center, and they ended the game with the bases loaded when Jeff Kent grounded to short.

Milton Bradley had two of the Dodgers' 11 hits and drove in a run, and Ricky Ledee had a two-out, two-run single.

The Dodgers (12-5) saw their lead over second-place Arizona in the National League West slip to 2 games after the Diamondbacks beat San Diego.

Dodger Blue Notes--Third baseman Jose Valentin was struck by a pitch on the right wrist and hand, but X-rays were negative, and he was diagnosed with a contusion. … Wilson Alvarez will rejoin the Dodgers on Monday after throwing a 46-pitch intrasquad game at extended spring training on Saturday. … Rockies right-hander Marcos Carvajal, who was taken from the Dodgers by Milwaukee and immediately traded to Colorado in the Rule V draft, had not allowed a run in four relief appearances coming into the day, a span of six innings. Carvajal posted a 1.88 ERA in 36 appearances at Single-A Columbus, Ga., last season before a late-season promotion to Double-A Jacksonville, where he pitched in just one game.