Houlton Takes One-Hitter Into Seventh, Loses 3-0

They say that over a 162-game schedule, luck evens out. Try telling that to rookie D.J. Houlton, who seems to draw the other teams ace more often than not. He's gone up against Roger Clemens of Houston and Pedro Martinez of the Mets and lost but held his own. Friday night he faced A.J. Burnett, Florida's hottest pitcher. The results were pretty near the same

. Again he held his own, matching him pitch for pitch until the seventh inning when he ran out of gas and the Marlins tagged him with three runs o break the 0-0 tie, two of the runs courtesy of old friend Paul Lo Duca.

Going into the bottom of the seventh Houlton had allowed only one hit, a single in the fifth after retiring the first 12 Marlins in succession.

He gave up a double to Damion Easley and with one out he intentionally walked Carlos Delgado. Juan Encarnacion was hit by a pitch before Lo Duca promptly spanked a single into right field to score two.

Jeff Schmoll relieved Houlton after 95 pitches and a fielder' choice scored another, with the run charged to Houlton.

The mini-outburst was enough to hand the Dodgers their 66th loss of the season. Houlton had given up only three hits and has struck out six but the only number interested him was his won-lost record, which slipped to 4-7.

Los Angeles had a shot at Burnett in the second inning when with one out, Jayson Werth lived on an error by the Marlin shortstop and Antonio Perez singled. They pulled a double steal but Jason Phillips and Houlton struck out, two of nine 'Ks' Brunett racked up during the game.

Yhency Brazoban and his newly operational change-up allowed a ground single to lead off the last of the eighth, then picked up a strikeout and a double play ball.

In the top of the ninth the Dodgers made one last try to get back in the game. Milton Bradley socked his second single of the game and Jeff Kent added his second one-base knock on Brunett's 112th pitch of the game.

Doug Jones took over for the Marlins and fanned Werth, pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee and Cruz on 14 pitches, running the total to an even dozen Dodgers who struck out.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Outfielder Ricky Ledee received a second cortisone injection in his tender hamstring and was too sore to play defense. Manger Jim Tracy said Ledee would have started in the outfield if he had been healthy. Ledee, the top Dodger pinch-hitter with 10 hits in 20 trips to the plate (.500), did get into the game in the ninth but struck out. …Odalis Perez was scratched from Monday's start after complaining that his strained oblique muscle continued to bother him when he tried to play catch Friday. …After two successful saves in the Atlanta series, Manager Jim Tracy has designated Duaner Sanchez as his stopper until further notice. Sanchez has developed his changeup to the point it has become a solid out pitch. As a result, he has converted both of his save opportunities without allowing so much as a baserunner since rookie Yhency Brazoban was "temporarily" removed from the closer role Aug. 11. …Oscar Robles is among rookie league leaders in several offensive categories, including batting average (.292, ninth), on-base percentage (.392, second) and multihit games (15, tied for seventh). … While the Braves and Dodgers have split their six games this season, Atlanta has out-homered the Dodgers, 15-3. All three home runs came off the bat of Milton Bradley, including the eighth-inning grand slam in the Dodgers' 7-4 win over Atlanta on May 13 and a three-run shot that beat the Braves by an identical score Thursday evening. … Dodgers broadcaster Rick Monday, a veteran outfielder for the club when it won the 1981 World Series, and longtime beat writer Ken Gurnick, who now works for mlb.com, are collaborating on a book about that '81 team. The book is expected to be released next spring, in time for the 25th anniversary of that season, which ended with a six-game victory over the New York Yankees, who had beaten the Dodgers in '77 and '78. …Brad Penny starts against his former team Saturday afternoon.