Dodger Bullpen Lets Another Game Get Away

The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning Tuesday night but Philadelphia scored five runs for a crushing 8-4 victory, Los Angeles received Jose Cruz Jr. from the Red Sox in an attempt to add another bat to the lineup. The Dodgers will make a roster move today and a player to be named later will be sent to Boston some time this week.

Dodger starter Brad Penny left after seven innings and 108 pitches with a 2-1 lead and 108 pitches. Manager Jim Tracy handed the ball to rookie Steve Schmoll who had saved the last two Dodger wins, and the game quickly went south.

Schmoll had allowed only three runs over his last 11.1 innings (2.45 ERA) but this was another day and another team.

With one out and runners on first and second, Schmoll (2-1) struck out Bobby Abreu looking, but Pat Burrell followed with a booming three-run home run into the left-field seats.

Things got even worse.

Ryan Howard an even longer homer and Mike Lieberthal doubled off Duaner Sanchez to extend the Phillies' lead to 6-2.

A two-run, pinch-hit home run by Ricky Ledee, who didn't start because of a sore hamstring, in the eighth pulled the Dodgers within two.

Leadoff man Cesar Izturis and No. 2 hitter Oscar Robles were on base six times with a pair of hits and four walks but Jeff Kent, Olmedo Saenz and Jose Valentin were 0-for-7, with Kent striking out four times and leaving six runners on base.

Penny, who again pitched well, is 0-2 in his last six starts. He gave up only one run on six hits, walked one and struck out four.

The Phillies, who lead the National League in stolen bases, made life miserable for rookie catcher Dioner Navarro. They stole three bases and scored in the ninth on a passed ball.

Jose Valentin had fanned with the bases loaded after having worked the count to 3-0 in the first inning. The left fielder, nee third baseman, is 4-for-21 ( with runners in scoring position.

After leaving six baserunners on base in the first four innings, the Dodgers drew first blood in the fifth, breaking an 0-0 game. Izturis walked and Robles demonstrated his cricket talents, whacking a pitch that bounced in front of the plate and driving it into left field on a hit and run.

Milton Bradley doubled inside third base to score Izturis, After Kent, who is leading the National League with a .400 average with runners in scoring position, struck out but Saenz's ground ball drove in Robles for a 2-0 Dodgers lead.

Penny allowed a stolen run in the sixth when Kenny Lofton singled, stole second and scored on Abreu's single.

The Dodgers' dropped seven games behind and are 12 games under .500. They need to go 31-19 to reach 81 wins and .500 by the end of the year but San Diego, 57-52, can hit 82 wins by finishing 25-30.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Cruz is a 31-year-old power hitter who is inconsistent at the plate. Cruz is hitting only .215 with 12 home runs and 28 RBI in 68 games this season and is expected to platoon with Ricky Ledee in right field and provide experience off the bench. The Dodgers will pay Cruz approximately $700,000. He makes $4 million this year and was due $1.4 million at the time of the Arizona-Boston trade, a figure the teams agreed to split. The Dodgers attempted to claim Cruz when Arizona designated for assignment last month before the Boston trade. Cruz is with his sixth team in the last four seasons, had a career year with Toronto in 2001, when he hit .274 with 34 home runs and 88 RBI, but over the next three years his batting average hovered in the mid-.240s and he averaged 20 home runs and 72 RBI, numbers that have slipped further this year. But he has been tough on the Dodgers, with a .320 average, three homers and eight of his 28 RBI. Cruz has 187 career home runs, and is one of three players in history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season. To make room for Cruz, who won a Gold Glove with San Francisco in 2003, the Dodgers will have to remove a player from the active roster when Cruz reports -- hopefully today. …Jayson Werth (left knee) is on a rehabilitation assignment with triple-A Las Vegas and will return to the Dodgers today for a re-evaluation… . Jason Phillips (left hand) will return to the lineup today, probably at first base. Ledee was not available Tuesday because of a sore hamstring, the same injury he has dealt with since early June. Jason Repko started in right field. …Jason Phillips said his severely bruised left hand had completely healed and wondered why he wasn't in the lineup Tuesday. Tracy said he wanted to give Phillips an extra day to rest the hand and that he would be in the starting lineup tonight at first base. …Jim Tracy offered a way the Dodgers could make the playoffs. "You shave off one game a week and you win," Tracy said, referring to the fact that the Dodgers entered Tuesday trailing San Diego in the National League West by six games (now seven) with seven-plus weeks to play. …Derek Lowe starts for the Dodgers against Philadelphia on tonight. Lowe won for only the second time in 12 road starts, giving up two earned runs and five hits in six innings while beating Pittsburgh.

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