Rockies Thump Dodgers 11-3; Damage Playoff Hopes

DENVER, Colorado-- Jeff Weaver made only three mistakes in the game, any one of which would have tagged him with the loss. The three all landed in the bleacher seats and accounted for six runs, snapping his perfect 6-0 record over nine games started since the All-Star break. The surprising Colorado Rockies, after enjoying their first winning month of the season (15-14), won their third game in a row and evened the season record between the two clubs at 4-4, mauling L.A. 11-3.

Weaver was operating without his 'A' game, giving up a homer in the first (2-0), a homer in the third (5-1) and a homer in the sixth (6-1) before he hit the 100-pitch mark and sat down.

He was followed by three young Dodger pitchers: Franquelis Osoria, Hong-Chih Kuo -- making his major league debut -- and Steve Schmoll. All three fared about as well as Weaver did. That is they were hit hard and often.

The offense generated 14 baserunners, nine on hits, but except for a brief moment in the second, when Mike Edwards launched a dart into the seats to cut the deficit to 2-1, Los Angeles was never in the game. Two runs in the night were pretty much inconsequential.

Oscar Robles represented the Dodger frustration, twice he came up with the bases loaded and ended the inning. He finally singled in the ninth to knock in a run.

The Dodgers had a chance to score in the first inning when Jayson Werth led off with a soft single to right and stole second (#11). Oscar Robles beat out a hit to shortstop but Jeff Kent fanned and Ricky Ledee and Jason Phillips popped up on the infield.

In the bottom of the inning, Weaver walked Cory Sullivan, an oddity in itself since he had walked only five in his last nine starts, covering 55 innings. Todd Helton made him pay for it immediately with a line shot into the right field seats.

He would walk one more later in the game but the walks were certainly the least of his problems.

Mike Edwards got half of the runs back with a first-pitch bullet into the left field stands in the bottom of the inning. Werth fanned to end the inning with Jose Cruz, who had walked, left standing on second.

Aaron Atkins put Colorado in a comfortable 5-1 lead, following a pair of singles with a 408-foot bomb that landed on the walkway in left field.

The Dodgers were one swing of the bat away from getting back in the game, helped along by the wildness of Rockie pitcher Sun-Woo Kim who walked Dioner Navarro, Cruz and Werth. But Robles, after the count went to 3-0, popped up on the infield.

Again, Helton showed his muscle, booming a shot down the right field line that bounced off the foul pole screen to give the Rockies a 6-1 margin.

Robles came to the plate again in the sixth with the bases loaded. Navarro and Cruz had singled and Werth had walked. This time he struck out.

Young Franquelis Osoria replaced Weaver and sailed through the first four Colorado batters he face. Then he gave up four singles, walked the Rockie pitcher and was given the rest of the evening off.

Rookie Hong-Chic Kuo made his major league debut against Clint Barmes with the bases loaded. Barmes had only recently came off the 60-day disabled list after injuring himself when he fell up the stairs carrying a side of frozen deer meat into his apartment. Kuo got Barnes on a soft pop to Robles at short.

Kuo walked the first two he faced in the eighth and was replaced by another of the Dodgers' kiddie korps, Jeff Schmoll. He gave up a double into the right field alley that scored one run and a long fly to center that scored another, both of which were credited to Kuo. A second sacrifice fly scored the third run, which belonged to Schmoll.

Robles got a third chance in the ninth inning. Following a pinch-hit by Jose Valentin and a single by Werth, Robles stroked an RBI single to left. Willie Aybar, closing the game out for Kent, bounced out to second, Ledee knocked in a run on a fly ball to right and Phillips popped to second to end things.

The Dodgers lost another chance to narrow the margin between them and the San Diego Padres, who lost 12-1 to Milwaukee. L.A. trails the leaders by six and the footsteps you hear are the Giants, who have moved into third place just 1/2 game behind the Dodgers. Arizona slipped to fourth, seven back and the Rockies, while they are 13 behind, are perhaps the hottest team in the division.

Dodger Blue Notes-- When the rosters expanded on the first of September, the Dodgers call up catcher Mike Rose from Las Vegas and lefthander Hong-Chih Kuo from Jacksonville. Rose had played 13 games with the Dodgers earlier in the season, hitting .211 (8-for-38) with two doubles. He batted .259 with five homers and 36 RBI for the 51s. Kuo has had an injury-riddled career that started in 2000. Healthy at last, he was 1-1, 2.08 with Vero Beach before moving up to Jacksonville where he went 1-1, 1.88 with three saves. Combined he has fanned 86 in 54.2 innings. In a related move, Milton Bradley was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Kuo on the 40-man roster. …The sparring continues with the Dodgers and their top draft pick Luke Hochevar. He didn't attend classes on Friday, the last day for students to show up if they are going to enroll in the fall semester. But he didn't sign, either. He can't attend classes this fall but he can enroll in the spring and play baseball at the University of Tennessee. Negotiations can, and probably will, continue until then. …During August, Oscar Robles led the Dodgers with 27 games played an 28 hits; Jeff Kent led the team with five home runs, in doubles and runs scored (20). Duaner Sanchez was 1-0, 2.57 with fives saves in 14 games during August. …Willie Aybar was the ninth Dodger to make his debut this season, bouncing out as a pinch-hitter in the final game of the Cub series. …On this date in 1979, Manny Mota hit his 145th pinch-hit, passing Smokey Burgess on the all-time charts. Mota, now a Dodger coach, held the record until Oct. 6, 2001 when it was broken by former Dodger Lenny Harris. …Wednesday, the Dodgers in a joint effort with the American Red Cross and KABC-TV brought in $500,000 for the relief efforts of those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. …Former Dodger and Minor League Pitching Coordinator Rick Honeycutt joined the Dodgers in Colorado. …The Rockies announced that all game-day ticket revenue for the Los Angeles-Colorado game Sunday, September 4, would be donated to the Hurricane Katrina fund. D.J. Houlton (5-7, 4.94 ERA) faces the Rockies' Byung-Hyun Kim (4-10, 4.90 ERA) in the second game of the series.