17 hits Don't Help Dodgers in Opener

Whoever made up the National League schedule certainly must have made some sort of a mistake. The game had so many strange events it should have been played on April 1. What sort of strange events you ask? Let me count the ways.

* The Dodgers banged out 17 hits but left 13 of them on base. Atlanta had an even dozen hits and left four of them stranded, collecting six hits in seven occurrences with runners in scoring position.

* Los Angeles found itself at an early 8-1 disadvantage with Atlanta's Tim Hudson on the mound. Over his career he is 87-4 in games when he is supported by four runs or more. So the Dodgers knocked him out in the fifth inning.

* L.A. on the other hand, started Derek Lowe, who was their best starter during the spring. So Atlanta scored eight times on him in five innings.

* Centerfielder Andruw Jones came into the game hitting .133 against Lowe. Had an RBI single in the first, a vicious line out to left inn the third and a three-run homer in the fifth.

* Nomar Garciaparra was set to make his Dodger Stadium debut but tore/strained a rib-cage muscle in the final game of the Freeway Series and couldn't answer the call to Olmedo Saenz drew the start and first four times at bat he struck out three times and grounded into a force play, leaving seven on base. Little said Garciaparra might be placed on the disabled list. ''They will re-evaluate him tomorrow and we'll go from there,'' the manager said. Does anyone have James Loney's cell phone number?

* JD Drew, who started the 2005 season 0-for-25, had a pair of singles and a pair of runs batted in. The Dodgers searched Dodgertown over in the spring looking for a left fielder. Jose Cruz, who started in left, had four hits -- a career high -- and scored three times.

* The largest single-game regular-season crowd in Dodger Stadium history, 56,000, watched as the Dodgers lost their first opening game in 117 years in which they scored more than nine runs. The previous record was a 9-15 loss they suffered in their first National League game in 1890. It was the 11th time a Dodger team had scored 10 or more runs and the first time they lost.

* The Dodger Injury Bug -- which is really redundant -- sidelined not only Garciaparra but centerfielder Kenny Lofton and contributed to holding catcher Dioner Navarro out of a starting spot. Manager Grady Little has said his spring batting average will have nothing to do with his spot on the team but if he keeps hitting .037 like he did in Florida, one wonders how long Grady and put up with that.

* Sure-handed Jeff Kent fumbled a probably double play ball in the first inning with one out and a runner on first. The Braves tacked a RBI single and a three-run homer together to take a 4-0 lead before the Dodgers had a chance to bat and the hosts could never quite overcome that deficit.

* Of the Dodgers 17 hits, only two of them, doubles by Kent and Jason Repko, were for extra bases. The Braves did their damage in a much more economical fashion, using a pair of three-run homers and a solo shot.

* Kent received his Gold Glove Award before the game and promptly set out to earn another. He had an RBI singled i the third, a two-run double in the fifth and knocked in a run in the ninth with a grounder. For math addicts, that figures out to be 648 runs batted in over a 162-game season.

* Many fans thought they had went to sleep and awakened dome time during the 2005 season after Atlanta score four in the first. They voiced their disapproval and were booing the new-look Dodgers, despite the numerous changes they had made following their second-worst season since moving from Brooklyn in 1958.

* A pair of first-time shortstops had a good day for their new team, former Brave Rafael Furcal had three hits and scored three runs and former Red Sox Edgar Renteria hit a two-out, two-run double off Yhency Brazoban in the sixth.

* Heavy rain was expected Monday and weather experts predicted that the Dodgers would suffer their first rainout since April 17, 2000. Since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, there have been only 17 rainouts and at one time went 856 consecutive games without having to honor a rain check. Previous to that they had a string of 724 rainless games.

Happy Birthday-- John Hummel (1883-1959), Joe Vosmick (1910-1962), Mickey Owen (1916-2005), Willie "The Knuck" Ramsdell (1916-1969), Gil Hodges (1024-1972), Lee Lacy (58).
  Dodgers     a b r h bi ave
R Furcal ss    5 3 3 0 .600
J Cruz Jr. lf  6 3 4 0 .667
J Drew rf      6 2 2 2 .333
J Kent 2b      4 1 2 4 .500
O Saenz 1b     6 1 1 2 .167
B Mueller 3b   4 0 2 1 .500
S Alomar c     5 0 1 0 .200
J Repko cf     5 0 2 1 .400
D Lowe p       2 0 0 0 .000
  C Ross ph    1 0 0 0 .000
  H Kuo p      0 0 0 0 .000
  Y Brazoban p 0 0 0 0 .000
  R Ledee ph   1 0 0 0 .000
  F Osoria p   0 0 0 0 .000   
  D Navarro ph 1 0 0 0 .000
  D Baez p     0 0 0 0 .000  
Dodgers      46 10 17 10 
Atlanta      36 11 12  11 

  Score by innings:
Atlanta   400 042 010-11
Dodgers   001 040 032-10

  Errors-- Atlanta 3, Kent 1. 
2b hits--Cruz Jr. (1), Repko (1), 
Kent (1). RBI: Drew 2 (2), Saenz 2 (2), 
Repko (1), Mueller (1), Kent 4 (4). 
Left on base-- Atlanta 4, Dodgers 13. 
Left in scoring position-- Atlanta 1, 
Dodgers 8. Double Plays--  Double 
plays: 3: (Furcal, Kent, Saenz), 
(Saenz, Furcal), 
(Mueller, Kent, Saenz)

  Dodgers       in  h r-er bb so era
D Lowe (L, 0-1) 5.0 9 8-7  1  2 12.60
H Kuo           0.2 0 2-2  2  0 27.00
Y Brazoban      1.1 1 0-0  1  2  0.00
F Osoria        1.0 2 1-1  0  0  9.00
D Baez          1.0 0 0-0  1  0  0.00
  Hit by pitch-- Kent. 
Passed ball-- Alomar.