Dodgers Not Having Bad Luck -- Just No Luck at All

LOS ANGELES, California-- The Dodgers found out Thursday night that their luck hasn't changed -- its still bad. Jeff Kent, playing first base to protect his tender hamstring, made an error that cost three runs, Jason Phillips hit what looked like an RBI double in the seventh that bounced into the stands and caused Kent to return to third after what seemed to be a game-tying hit and starter Brad Penny was ejected in the third innings in the 4-3 loss to the Giants.

Los Angeles continued their habit of leaving men in scoring position, three in the seventh inning and five in all, in front of 46,234 on Thursday night who by their presence apparently have not given up hope.

The only glimmer of good news came when Outfielder Milton Bradley, out for the past six weeks with a torn ligament in his right ring finger, left after the game to begin a rehabilitation assignment in Las Vegas.

The Dodgers' last, best hope died when Phillips' hit took its crazy bounce into the seats. Antonio Perez was walked intentionally to load the bases but Jayson Werth struck out, leaving the bases loaded.

The Giants had gone ahead 4-1 in the top of the inning on a three-run homer by Omar Vizquel with two outs on an 0-2 pitch from Penny's replacement D.J. Houlton (4-3).

The Dodgers should have been out of the inning after a tap to the mound that Houlton tossed to first but that glanced off Kent's arm for an error.

Penny was given the evening off after three strong innings in which he held the Giants hit and a walk.

Jason Repko led off the bottom of the third on a Jason Schmidt walk. Penny bunted back to the mound and Schmidt/s throw to second pulled shortstop Omar Vizquel off the bag and the throw to first was dropped, putting runners at first and third.

Not so.

After Penny crossed the bag, he turned to his left instead of his right, made a slight move toward second, was tagged before he could get back to the base and was called out.

Penny argued briefly, headed back to the dugout and threw his helmet in disgust. The umpire immediately tossed him, and an Penny then had to be restrained by manager Jim Tracy and third-base coach Jim Lett in the resulting argument.

However, the three-run homer in seventh was the crusher.

With one out, Jason Ellison hit a soft tap that Houlton threw to Kent and hit him on the left arm. A single, another soft ground ball and Vizquel's three run shot make all the runs unearned but they certainly counted.

Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Antonio Perez singled with two out and stole second. Jayson Werth walked and Jason Grabowski singled in to score Perez.

San Francisco tied the game in the sixth on three straight two-out singles in the seventh.

After the Giants had taken a 4-1 lead, Pinch-Hitter Ricky Ledee walked in the bottom of the inning and Oscar Robles singled to right. Mike Edwards' ground ball scored Ledee with two out. Kent walked and Phillips ground-rule double to left scored Oscar Robles but Kent had to return to third.

Perez intentionally walked but with the bases loaded Werth struck out to end the inning.

Pinch-Hitter Olmedo Saenz singled in the ninth but was left on first.

The Dodgers (40-49) remained 7" games behind division-leading San Diego in the National League West. They have lost five in a row, dating to a loss at Colorado eight days ago.

Derek Lowe starts for the Dodgers tonight. He will be trying to win his first game since June 6 when he beat Detroit. In his last six starts, he has four losses and two no-decisions. He pitched six innings last Thursday at Colorado, giving up five hits and three earned runs, including two homers.

Schmoll up, Ross down-- The club optioned outfielder Cody Ross to Las Vegas and recalled reliever Steve Schmoll. Tracy plans to use Schmoll to spell struggling set-up man Duaner Sanchez. Schmoll, a rookie who made the 25-man Major League roster out of Spring Training, was demoted May 14 with a 4.96 ERA and he initially struggled in Las Vegas, but did not allow an earned run over his last 11.2 innings there

Dodger Blue Notes--Even with the Dodgers eight games under .500 and 7 games behind first place at the break, DePodesta said he still plans to try to add players at the July 31 trading deadline to make the club better in 2005 instead of dealing players for prospects to make it better in 2006 and beyond. …Shortstop Cesar Izturis will come off the 15-day disabled list and return to the lineup tonight against the Giants. When Izturis is activated, rookie reliever Franquelis Osoria may be returned to Las Vegas. …The Dodgers' top pick in last month's draft, Luke Hochevar, was named this year's winner of the Roger Clemens Award, given to the best pitcher in college baseball. Scouting director Logan White said that negotiations with Hochevar haven't begun and that the Dodgers are in no hurry because Hochevar already has pitched almost 140 innings this season. …Disabled left-hander Wilson Alvarez pitched one scoreless inning for Las Vegas Thursday night. Alvarez, recovering from a sore shoulder, struck out two, walked one and allowed a single. He could be activated by the weekend.

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