Dodgers Flatline at .500 With Loss To Cubs

Derek Lowe was tagged for 13 hits and six runs in losing to Chicago 9-5 and lost a battle with a chair in the dugout to boot, suffering cuts on his pitching hand in the scuffle. Lowe and Duaner Sanchez gave up two gopher balls, the first opening up a 4-0 lead and the second, a three-run crusher, breaking up a one-run game in the eighth before a crowd of 54,000+ that didn't exactly throw roses at the end of the performance -- at least not those still in attendance after the final home run.

Two Cubs, Nefti Perez (4-for-5) and Derek Lee (5-for-5), outhit the Dodgers 9-8. The pair slugged two homers, scored five runs and knocked in six.

Lowe nearly wriggled out of a mess with runners on second and third and two out in the top of the second but gave up a three-run homer to put the Dodgers down 4-0.

Following the end of the inning, Lowe threw a chair down the dugout runway, cutting his hand in the process and needing help from the training staff to stop the bleeding.

If manager Jim Tracy could only stop the bleeding as easily.

After the Dodgers had battled back to cut the margin to 6-5, Duaner Sanchez retired the first five he face only to give up a pop single to right, an infield hit that Cesar Izturis stopped but couldn't handle and a back-breaking three run homer to Lee.

It was Lee's fifth hit of the night, his league leading 17th homer of the season and he is the triple crown leader in the National League with 50 RBI and a .380 batting average. br>
It was the 63rd home run allowed by Dodgers pitching this season. More than one-third of those have been given up by Jeff Weaver and Scott Erickson, who have allowed 22 apiece. Only Cincinnati and Philadelphia, two clubs with losing records, have given up more homers in the N.L. than have the Dodgers. Tracy and pitching coach Jim Colborn aren't sure what the answer is, but they are sure of one thing.

"It has to stop," Tracy said.

Olmedo Saenz banged his sixth homer with J.D. Drew on base in the third and Jason Phillips hit a solo shot, his third. Izturis and Drew had a pair of hits each as the Dodgers (26-26) fell to .500 for the first time since they were 1-1 on April 6.

The only good news for the third-place Dodgers was that the entire N.L. West went down to defeat, allowing them to hold at 6 games behind division-leading San Diego.

Dodger Blue Notes--Milton Bradley is poised to go on the disabled list after reporting no improvement on his injured finger. Bradley has the fourth finger on his right hand immobilized in a brace in hopes the pain from a slight ligament tear calms down. If it doesn't in the next two days, the club is expected to disable him retroactively to Monday and recall Jason Repko. … Tracy says Izturis is the best shortstop in the National League but all-star game voters don't rank him in the top five. The Gold Glover is hitting .340, a fact that seems to escape most fans. The leading shortstops are Chicago's Nomar Garciaparra, who has been on the disabled list for six weeks and isn't close to returning, followed by St. Louis' David Eckstein, Atlanta's Rafael Furcal (who is hitting .229), New York's Jose Reyes and Colorado's Clint Barmes. Who was it that said the common sense of the common people is a common fallacy?. … Left-hander Odalis Perez worked a third bullpen and reports a persisting pain in his arm. It is apparent he is not near even a Minor League injury rehabilitation assignment. … Right-hander Elmer Dessens will begin a rehabilitation assignment at Las Vegas on Friday night, starting and scheduled to pitch two innings. Dessens was disabled April 20, with shoulder problems. … After hitting a hot streak and boosting his batting average to .308, hulking Hee-Seop Choi has slumped badly and after a strikeout Wednesday night was 0-for-22, dropping his average to .256. Hitting coach Tim Wallach is trying to get Choi to shorten his swing and use the whole field more. …Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has sent a letter to Major League Baseball requesting that the club be scheduled at home every year on April 15 so that Jackie Robinson Day can be held at Dodger Stadium. Robinson spent his entire career with the Dodgers.