Angels Throttle Punchless Dodgers 3-1

After a sparkling 12-2 jump out of the gate, the Dodgers have not only come back to the field they have faded into third place and seem to be sinking deeper and deeper. They lost the second game of the Interleague series to Anaheim by a 3-1 margin. In two games against Mike Scioscia's forces they have scored one run on 13 hits, 11 of them doubles.

Brad Penny worked seven strong innings, allowing only five hits but one of them was a home run in the third inning. L.A. tied the game in the seventh and hit for Penny with runners on first and third and one out but nothing came of it except for the fact they took the burly hurler off the hook as far as the loss was concerned.

A pre-game meeting with Manager Jim Tracy didn't seem to perk the offense up and the club dipped to 10-18 since the first fourteen games of the season.

They came into the Angel series second in the National League in runs scored, although observers would not have believed it after watching the first two games. But having said that, the Dodger staff had an earned run average of 4.80 -- down at 14th in the National League.

Ben Molina, hitting .180, put the Angeles on the board in the third inning with a home run to center field. Penny gave up only four more hits in his seven innings of work but left with a no-decision.

But that could have been worse.

Los Angeles banged into a pair of double plays in the first two innings, got men on first and second with no outs in the third on a single by Antonio Perez and a walk to Paul Bako but came up empty again

From that point, the next 13 went in order, save for an error and Hee Seop Choi's single. But in the seventh they came to life.

Milton Bradley boomed a double to center and with one out, Perez looped a single to right field to score him. Bako singled and Tracy opted to strike while there was a chance and pinch-hit for Penny.

Olmedo Saenz struck out and Cesar Izturis lofted a fly to left field to end the inning and the threat.

The Angels, relieved to see Penny off the mound and in the dugout, jumped on Giovanni Carrara immediately with Molina leading the attack with a single. With one out, Carrara gave up a tie-breaking double, a single and a walk, then walked himself when Tracy called for Kelly Wunsch to pitch to lefty Steve Finley.

Dodger fans booed Finley the first game of the series, thinking somehow he chose to leave the friendly confines of Dodger Stadium. He answered with a single to right field off the suddenly ineffective Wunsch, putting Anaheim in front 3-1.

Duaner Sanchez restored order without further damage and Eric Gagne smothered the visitors in the top of the ninth, fanning a pair and getting the final hitter on a tap to the mound.

L.A. had one more bit of powder in their magazine in the last of the ninth. Bradley slugged a long double to right center and after Ricky Ledee fanned and Perez bounced out, Bako walked to put the tying run on base.

But Bako fared only marginally better than the previous pinch-hitter, flying to center to end the game.

Dodger Blue Notes--Derek Lowe will take the hill for the Dodgers Sunday. Pitching assignments for the three games in San Francisco depend more on the medical staff than the coaching staff. Odalis Perez's tender shoulder will be determined Sunday after he -- hopefully -- had a bullpen session. If he is still out of action, either Scott Erickson, who was torched by the Angels in game one, or Wilson Alvarez will open the Giants series.