Dodger Playoff Hopes Take a Holiday

In the latest chapter during this summer of Dodger discontent, Matt Holiday banged a home run to hand them a 5-4 loss, Milton Bradley went on the disabled list and pitching ace Brad Penny was thumped for three home runs by Colorado whose road record is 16-43, the worst in the major leagues. If this was a boxing match, it might be time to throw in the towel so our fighter wouldn't have to take any more punishment.

The Dodgers hoped they could make up some ground with the schedule allowing them to play Colorado nine times in 22 games but after losing two of three at home, the finale before 40,019 Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, that idea seems as illusive as their playoff chances.

Dustan Mohr and Aaron Miles also homered to help Colorado win their first series at Dodger Stadium since Aug. 28-30, 2001. They entered the series with an ugly 7-24 record in their last 31 games in Los Angeles, including an 0-3 mark this season.

Adding to the season's woes, outfielder Milton Bradley was placed on the disabled list with a torn tendon in his knee, although he is seeking a second opinion from his doctor in Ohio. Mike Edwards was recalled from Las Vegas to replace him on the roster. All-Star shortstop Cesar Izturis may join him on the list with a bad back.

This loss was their fourth in the last five games and No. 70 of the season, topping last season's team's total. The Dodgers dropped a season-worst 13 games below .500. They trail NL West-leading San Diego by 6 1/2 games.

A homer off Brad Penny (6-8) in the second gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead, and Holliday's shot with two on in the third made it 4-0. The home run followed a pair of two-out walks.

The Dodgers got one run back in the bottom of the inning on doubles by Jose Valentin and Oscar Robles, but Miles hit Penny's first pitch of the fifth into the right-field pavilion for his second homer to make it 5-1.

Jayson Werth's two-out RBI single in the last of the fifth made it 5-2, and the Dodgers drew within one run by scoring twice in the sixth on RBI singles by pinch-hitter Antonio Perez and Robles.

They stranded a runner on third base in the second and third innings. They left the bases loaded with two out in the fourth when Penny grounded out and runners on first and third in the fifth when Jose Cruz Jr. struck out. In the sixth inning, the Dodgers could only turn four walks and RBI singles by Antonio Perez and Oscar Robles into a pair of runs. The crushing play came when Perez tried to stretch his single with nobody out into a double and was thrown out.

The Rockies bullpen retired the final 11 Dodgers in succession.

Penny was lifted for a pinch hitter after allowing five runs and four hits in six innings. He issued a season-high four walks and struck out eight.

The team seems to be sinking and their are no relief ships on the horizon.

The Dodgers open a three-game weekend set with Houston tonight, a series in which they will face Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens. Those three are a combined 37-25, all with an ERA below 2.70.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Outfielder Milton Bradley was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday because of his knee injury. He suffered an 80 percent tear of the patellar tendon in his left knee and is expected to require season-ending surgery. Bradley, who earlier spent seven weeks on the DL with a torn finger ligament, is the 22nd Dodger to suffer a disabling injury this season. Teammates said they don't expect him to ever wear a Dodgers uniform again, although club officials said no such determination has been made. Jayson Werth started in center field for the third consecutive night and Manager Jim Tracy said he will be their for the rest of the season. …All-Star shortstop Cesar Izturis will undergo an MRI Friday which he now suspects might be related to the pulled hamstring that kept him from playing in the All-Star Game. The Dodgers' deadline for signing their first selection Luke Hochevar is Monday, the final day he can return to classes at Tennessee. The Dodgers are believed to have offered Hochevar a $2.5 million signing bonus, which is far short of the $4 million Hochevar is believed to be seeking, and neither side has budged from its number. Arguably the top college pitcher in this year's draft, Hochevar is being advised by notorious hardball agent Scott Boras. …During the Florida series, Brad Penny bet one of the batboys in Florida on that he couldn't drink a gallon of milk and keep it down. Penny won the bet, but the batboy was suspended for six games by Marlins officials. Penny asked why there's a 10-game suspension for steroids and a six-game suspension for milk and is picking up the batboy's lost wages, hoping the batboy won't lose his job over the humorous prank. Now Penny's agent is getting calls from Minor League teams who want to have milk-drinking promotions and late-night shows that want Penny to appear. …Wilson Alvarez hopes to throw in the bullpen this weekend. He said he plans to retire after this season and forfeit a guaranteed $2 million salary for 2006. Derek Lowe (8-12, 4.20 ERA) will start against the Astros' Andy Pettitte tonight.