Error Costs Dodgers Five Runs and a 9-6 Decision

KANSAS CITY, Missouri--The Dodgers were swept by the improved Royals in a series that each game turned on a single play that could have swung the game in LA's favor. Jason Grabowski banged a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Derek Lowe was cruising when a ground ball tagged "double play" bounced toward Antonio Perez who was filling in for Cesar Izturis. The ball went through Perez, the Royals went on to score six runs -- five unearned -- and the game was quickly out of hand.

Zack Greinke (1-7, 6.01) started for the Royals having given up 25 hits and 17 earned runs in his last two starts over 8.2 innings and one would think the Dodgers were in line to break out of their offensive funk. But this night he worked five strong innings and while he allowed eight hits, he gave up just three runs.

Derek Lowe not only matched his efforts but bettered them, cruising into the sixth inning after allowing four hits and a pair of runs over the first five. But then disaster hit.

The Dodgers left the bases loaded in the first after Antonio Perez and Jason Repko singled and with one out Jeff Kent walked. Olmedo Saenz and Hee-Seop Choi both popped out softly.

In their half of the first, the Royals also collected a pair of singles but added a sacrifice fly and the Dodgers trailed (1-0) early for the third straight night. They built the margin to 2-0 in the second on a bloop double to left and a ground ball that ran up the middle past Kent's diving attempt to corral it.

Los Angeles got on the board in the third when Jason Repko walked and J.D. Drew singled him to second. With one out, Olmedo Saenz singled softly to right, driving in Repko. But Hee-Seop Choi was fooled by a change-up and bounced into a double play to end the threat.

The Jason connection struck in the fourth inning when Jason Phillips led off with a single and Jason Grabowski lined a home run onto the berm in right field to put L.A. up 3-2. The Dodgers went on to load the bases when Repko and Kent were hit by pitches and Drew singled but Saenz was unable to handle three straight changeups and struck out.

After allowing a run in the second inning Lowe found his groove, retiring the next 11 in succession before a pair of one-out singles put runners on the corner in the sixth. Then a ground ball hit right at Perez at shortstop that looked like a certain double play -- but it skipped under his glove as the tying run scored.

Then the roof fell in.

The next Kansas City batter scuffed a ball softly between short and third and the bases were loaded with one out. A slowly hit ball to Perez resulted in a force at second but the runner beat the throw to first and the Royals were back in the lead 4-3.

Kansas City finally hit a ball hard, a single to right, and increased the margin to 5-3 before a double just inside the foul line past a diving Mike Edwards scored the fourth and fifth runs of the inning.

Suddenly Lowe was out of the game.

Rookie Franquelis Osoria gave up a pair of singles -- the seventh of the inning -- before he finally stopped the bleeding with a strikeout.

But by then the Dodgers trailed 8-3.

Osoria gave up four hits in the seventh and another run before Scott Erickson got a double play ball to hold the damage to one run.

Erickson loaded the bases by walking three in the last of the eighth but Repko started an inning-ending double play when he caught a ball in medium right and gunned the runner down at the plate.

In the ninth the Dodgers mounted a too-little, too-late rally. Drew walked and pinch-hitter Oscar Robles beat out an infield hit. A second pinch-hitter, Jayson Werth doubled them both in. Werth scored on a grounder by Mike Edwards to end the suffering and the Dodgers were only too happy to get on the airplane and fly to Chicago to meet the White Sox.

Saenz, Edwards and Drew had a pair of hits each and Grabowski and Werth knocked in a pair. Repko reached base four times but only scored a single run as the Dodgers left 11 on base, eight of them in scoring position.

Dodger Blue Notes--Jose Lima finished off the Dodgers visit to Kansas City with a perfect rendition of the National Anthem before the final game. …With the addition of Eric Gagne to the disabled list, the Dodgers have had 15 different players (393 player games) make the to-be-avoided chart. Two, Gagne and Wilson Alvarez, have made it twice. Others include (in the order of their appearance) Brad Penny, Jayson Werth, Alvarez1, Gagne1, Darren Dreifort, Antonio Perez, Elmer Dessens, Jose Valentin, Jason Grabowski, Odalis Perez, Paul Bako, Milton Bradley, Alvarez2, Ricky Ledee and Gagne2. …Penny's effort in the second game of the series was the eighth time in the last nine games a Dodger starter has gone six innings and allowed three runs or less. …Kent's RBI single ended a string in which their 10 Dodger previous runs had come on solo home runs. Six came from Choi, two from Drew and Kent and Grabowski had one each. …Kansas City is 15-15 after a 8-26 start and 11-4 under new manager Buddy Bell.