Crippled Dodgers Shut out in Chicago

CHICAGO, Illinois--The first time the Dodgers played the Chicago White Sox they lost 11-0. It was the opening game of the 1959 World Series, a series the Dodgers would improbably win. Friday night, playing the Sox in Chicago for the first time since 1959, this time in U.S. Cellular Field, the thin Blue line collected eight singles and allowed a pair of homers as rookie starter D.J. Houlton was tagged with his first loss, a 6-0 shut out.

Manager Jim Tracy sorted through the list of names not on the disabled list and patched together a lineup but it had only J.D. Drew, Jeff Kent and Jayson Werth from the team the club expected to defend their N.L. West Division title as they reassembled the first days of spring training.

Coming off a sweep by the Kansas City Royals, Antonio Perez started at shortstop instead of Izturis who tweeked his hamstring in the first game of the K.C, series and was set down as a precautionary move; Jason Repko was in the outfield instead of Bradley, still suffering from a torn ligiment in his hand; Saenz was the designated hitter, despite fouling a ball off his foot Thursday night; Jason Phillips came out from behind the plate and started at first base for the first time this year; Mike Edwards started at third and Mike Rose was behind the plate.

Add this to a rookie starter and the results were predictable.

Sox ace Mark Buehrle threw his sixth career shutout and boosted his record to 8-1 while lowering his ERA to 2.67. He was supported by Jermaine Dye and Frank Thomas who homered in the series opener.

Houlton was charged with four runs in six innings. In the opening inning he walked Scott Podsednik, hit Tadahito Iguchi and former Dodger Paul Konerko singled home two runs.

The White Sox added a run in the third another in the fourth ended the suspence with a two-run homer against Giovanni Carrara in the seventh inning.

Additional injuries included catcher Mike Bako who blew his knee catching a bullpen and may have to undergo surgery. Rookie Derek Thompson is unavailable due to some sort of an injury that has cut his velocity. Thompson had his medial collateral ligament repaired after suffering a partial tear in spring of 2003.

The Dodgers did out hit the White Sox 8-6 with Jeff Kent and rookie Mike Edwrds collecting two hits each. Edwards boosted his average to .338. Tow double plays impacted the Dodger attempt to generate some offense.

In the last four games, Los Angeles has scored nine runs.

One bit of good news was received when Matt Merricks, taken from the Dodgers by Colorado in December's Rule 5 draft, was returned to the Dodgers. The left-handed pitcher has spent the entire season on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

Elmer Dessens will make his first appearance on Saturday night since going on the disabled list on April 24. Tracy said he is hoping for 70-80 pitches from Dessens, who started twice before his injury with no record and a 4.00 ERA.

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