Dodgers in Freefall, Headed For Fourth Place

Derek Lowe, Boston's hero of the 2004 playoffs, continued to struggle as do the Dodgers after a sound 6-0 thrashing Friday night that left them periolously close to landing in fourth place. Another huge crowd -- 51,057 -- was on had at Dodger Stadium to watch disappointedly as the Dodgers managed only six baserunners and dipped to 40-50, their worst record after 90 games since an identical mark in 1992, only the second time in franchise history the club finished in last place.

Injuries have decimated the Los Angeles offensive but Lowe, who signed a four-year, $36-million contract in January, has been a major disappointment dropping to 5-10 for the season.

He is winless in his last seven starts, 0-5 with a 7.29 ERA in that time and he failed to finish the fifth inning before the Giants banged out 10 hits and six runs, including a pair of home runs.

Lowe hasn't won since June 6 and has allowed eight home runs in his last three starts.

Giants' lefty Noah Lowry isn't exactly Warren Spahn and sports a 5.05 ERA, a mark that jumps to 7.57 in road games. But he didn't allow a hit until Jason Phillips doubled down the left-field line with two out in the fourth inning.

Overall he gave up only Phillips' double, Jason Repko's fifth-inning single and three walks, leaving with one out in the eighth after allowing walks to Jayson Werth and pinch-hitter Hee-Seop Choi. He struck out seven.

Luke Hochevar of the University of Tennessee and the Dodgers' first pick in the 2005 Amateur Draft, was named the 2005 Roger Clemens Award winner Thursday night at the Westchase Marriott Hotel. The Roger Clemens Award is presented each year to the top pitcher in college baseball. Hochevar, the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year, struck out a school record 154 batters while posting a 15-3 record and 2.26 ERA for the season. He opened his season with the loss but rebounded to win 15 of his next 16 decisions to tie Lance Broadway of Texas Christian University for the national lead in wins.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Cesar Izturis returned to the Dodgers' lineup Friday night, and Oscar Robles stayed in the leadoff slot, with Izturis hitting second. Izturis missed 11 games with a strained right hamstring, and during that time Robles had 23 hits in 50 at-bats (.440). To make room for Izturis on the roster, the Dodgers optioned reliever Franquelis Osoria back to Las Vegas. …Jeff Kent was replaced by Olmedo Saenz at first base. Kent had a ball glance off his left wrist in a defensive play at first base Thursday and fouled a couple balls off his leg while batting. When he's healthy, however, Kent figures to see a lot of playing time at first base because of the play of Antonio Perez, whose best defensive position is Kent's second-base spot.…Jose Valentin, out since May 4 with torn knee ligaments, will begin a rehab assignment with Las Vegas on Sunday. Milton Bradley (torn finger ligament) made his first start for Las Vegas on Friday. Wilson Alvarez (shoulder) will throw a bullpen session today in Los Angeles. The Dodgers remain hopeful that both Bradley and Valentin could return by the end of next week. Odalis Perez makes his first appearance on the mound since play resumed Saturday in a game with the Giants. Perez is winless since posting a 4-1 record in April.