Dodgers Punchless in Loss to Kansas City

The Dodgers first visit to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City was rather forgetable, collecting just two runs against a team with a staff ERA of 5.48; one that has won only 21 of 63 games this season. L.A. got solo homers from Hee-Seop Choi (#13) and J.D. Drew (#12) plus seven other hits. The last 10 runs scored by the Dodgers have come on solo home runs. In addition, Eric Gagne's right elbow is acting up again and the injury may be serious.

The two teams played a weak game of home run derby and the competition ended with a pair of dinger each but Kansas City won the real game on the strength of their first home run coming with a runner on base.

Hee-Seop Choi shot a liner into the right field seats just inside the foul pole in the first inning, his 13th of the year, fourth in his last five games and his seventh in his last four games.

Shortstop David DeJesus banged a two run homer off Jeff Weaver (6-6) in the last of the second but J.D. Drew tied the game with a booming drive into the grass in dead center some 418 feet away.
< That was the start and finish of Los Angeles scoring.

After the two run homer in the first, Weaver retired eight of the next ninehitters he faced, fanning four, until Mike Sweeney doubled off he top of he left field wall leading off the fourth. Weaver walked the next Royal with a fly to right and a double play ball.

In the last of the fifth, rookie Shane Costa hit his first major league homer on a 3-2 pitch that bounced off the top of the right field wall and out of the park to give K.C. a 3-2 lead.

The Dodgers managed a hit an inning through the first five, then were retired 1-2-3 in the sixth.

From the fourth through the seventh innings Los Angeles were retired with only a single by Kent in the fifth inning breaking the string.

L.A. mounted a pair of threats in the final two innings.

Drew had walked to lead off the eighth, becoming only the second Dodger baserunner since Jason Phillips' single in the fourth. Kent, who had singled twice in three previous trips, struck out swinging but Olmedo Saenz was hit by a pitch. Jason Werth fanned for the second out. Jason Grabowski struck out on a ball that appeared low and outside to end the threat.

Then in the top of the ninth, Jason Phillips laced a single to center field and Jason Repko ran for him. Despite his .360 average, Antonio Perez was asked to bunt and after fouling off two pitches struck out. Izturis, attempting to bunt for a hit, was thrown out but did advance Repko to second.

That brought to the plate Choi, the Dodgers' hottest hitter, with the tying run at second. He bounced out to shortstop to end the game and the 15,000 Kansas City fans in attendance enjoyed their 22nd win of the season against 41 losses.

More Problems--Eric Gagne, who earned his eighth save Sunday and had retired 14 straight batters, reinjured his elbow during the game and is scheduled to visit to Doctor Frank Jobe to determine the extent of an injury that may be a major to the club.

Dodger Blue Notes--The Dodgers and Royals met once before --in 2003 -- when the Dodgers took two of three games from Kansas City. …Cesar Izturis' hamstring responded enough to treatment and two days off and he was able to play. …Since Jose Valentin injured his knee on May 3, Dodger third basemen have combined to hit .309 (42-for-136). Included were Antonio Perez, Olmedo Saenz, Mike Edwards, Oscar Robles and Norihiro Nakamura. … Hee-Seop Choi, after slugging six home runs in the three-game Minnesota series, hit in the second spot in the lineup and for a good reason. When hitting second he has a .327 average and all 12 of his home runs. Actually 13 after his first at bat Tuesday night. When hitting in any other slot in the lineup he has a .098 average. … In another lineup oddity, Antonio Perez appeared in the #9 hole but is leading the team with a .362 average. He boosted that to .370 with a first inning double… The Dodger Nation wished Happy Birthday to former Brooklyn Ace righthander Don Newcombe who was celebrating his 79th at home in Los Angeles. …