Satchel Was Right; Giants One-Half Game Behind L.A

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania-- Just when the starting rotation seems to have sorted themselves out, Odalis Perez was thumped in the second game of the Pittsburgh series, allowing five earned runs in six innings as the Dodgers dropped to 49-61 after a 9-4 lacing. Giovanni Carrara and Wilson Alvarez also were hit hard with the Pirates scoring in six of their eight innings. Los Angeles had a dozen hits but left nine on base.

Satchel Paige said, "Don't look back, someone might be gaining on you." The Dodgers have to take that to heart as San Diego won a 3-2 decision over Washington, and Los Angeles dropped a full six games behind. San Francisco beat Houston 5-2 and are breathing down their throat, just a half game out of third place.

The Dodgers roughed up the Pirates prize rookie, Zach Duke, but he boosted his record to 5-0 and became only the second rookie in Pirates history to win his first five decisions as a starter. Whitey Glazner did it the first time in 1921.

Los Angeles claimed a small moral victory -- and that's about all they are having as the season wears down -- scoring more than one run on the youngster, only the second time in his short career he has allowed more than one. His earned run average bloomed from 0.90 to 1.54.

Another rookie, center fielder Chris Duffy, had four hits for the second time in his 17 career starts, scored three runs and had an RBI, and rookie first baseman Brad Eldred doubled in a run.

So the Dodgers' complaint that they are using too man rookies gives the impression that Pittsburgh has better rookies than Los Angeles -- at least they did Saturday night.

Dodgers starter Odalis Perez (6-6) gave up nine hits and six runs -- five earned -- in six innings to lose for the first time in six starts. It was his first loss in his last six starts.

Olmedo Saenz had another huge night, collecting three hits for the second game in a row and clubbing his career-high 12th homer of the season. He drove in three runs, giving him nine in two games but that wasn't enough.

Milton Bradley doubled twice and scored two runs, while Dioner Navarro and Cesar Izturis each had a pair of hits.

The Dodgers still dropped their ninth in 14 games and saw their record of the seven wins in a row in PNC Park (since 2002) and nine straight against Pittsburgh go down the drain.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers reported that X-rays taken of catcher/first baseman Jason Phillips' badly bruised left hand did not show any broken bones. Phillips was out of the starting lineup for the third straight game on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. …Outfielder Jayson Werth, who has been on the DL since July 27 with bursitis in his left knee, is making progress with his rehab. It is estimated he would join Las Vegas after the weekend when they play Iowa. …The Dodgers close out their three-game series with the Pirates Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Jeff Weaver (9-8, 4.52 ERA) draws the start.