Dodgers Lose Marathon 14-inning Game

Both clubs teetered on the edge of disaster during the long evening in Minute Maid Park in Houston, but the Dodgers ran out of luck first, when Preston Wilson launched a fly ball to Kenny Lofton in center field with the based loaded in the bottom of the 14th off Hong-Chic Kuo, sixth pitcher of the evening. It was he longest regular season game in the history of the park.

The two clubs collected 19 hits between them and left 29 runners on base, 15 of them Dodgers and 15 of them in scoring position. Nomar Garciaparra, star of the first game of the series with a grand slam homer in the top of the ninth, went 0-for-6 and left seven runners stranded. Los Angeles utilized six pitchers, if you don't count Brett Tomko and Odalis Perez who had to pinch-hit when they ran out of position players. Houston used eight pitchers and three others as pinch-hitters.

Houston jumped out on top in this game, scoring twice in the first inning on a double, a bunt single that Penny threw away, allowing the first run and a two-out single.

The Dodgers missed a great opportunity in the first after Kenny Lofton -- who had four hits in the game -- beat out a bunt with one out. J.D. Drew singled to right and when Jeff Kent grounded sharply to third base, Lofton was caught in a rundown for the second out. Drew and Kent moved up a base during the play but Garciaparra, who would leave seven runners on base during the evening, flew out to left field.

Los Angeles finally tied the game in the fifth on a walk to Rafael Furcal, Lofton's RBI double and Kent's single. The Dodgers would manage only four more hits the rest of the game, two of them of the infield variety.

Brad Penny had another strong outing. Although he allowed three runs over his seven innings he gave up only five hits. retiring 19 of 20 Astros -- save a walk and a hit-batsman -- from the first through the sixth inning. He wild pitched in the third run in the seventh to put the Dodgers down 3-2, the first time he has allowed three earned runs in any of his five starts.

The Dodgers tied the game in the ninth without a hit.

They again rallied against closer Brad Lidge. Pinch-hitter Oscar Robles walked and was replaced by Jason Repko, who promptly stole second.

After Rafael Furcal fanned, Repko advanced to third on a wild pitch and Lofton also drew a walk, then moved to second unmolested. After an intentional walk to Drew, Kent's fly ball to right field tied the game 3-3.

Both teams ran out of position players and Houston reliever Dave Borkowski had to hit with two on in the last of the 11 and Roy Oswalt pinch-hit in the last of the 13th. Brett Tomko pinch hit -- and fanned -- in the top of the 12th for the Dodgers.

Lance Carter, the fifth Dodger pitcher, wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one out mess in the bottom of the 12th, inducing a short fly to right and a routine fly to center.

Houston, with Ezequiel Astacio and his 27.00 ERA on the mound, walked three but escaped a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the top of the 14th when the Dodgers were forced to pinch-hit Perez who bounced to short.

Los Angeles, their mini-two game winning streak broken, again fell below the .500 mark at 10-11. They meet the Astros again tonight in the last game of a three-game set.
  Score by innings
Dodgers000 020 001 000 00-3
Houston200 000 100 000 01-4

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss       5 1 0 0 .202
Lofton cf       6 1 4 1 .306
Drew rf         3 0 1 0 .338
  Saito p       0 0 0 0 .000
  Martinez 3b   2 0 0 0 .263
Ledee rf        2 0 0 0 .231
Kent 2b         5 0 1 2 .200
Garciaparra 1b  6 0 0 0 .231
Mueller 3b      5 0 2 0 .329
  Cruz ph-rf-lf 3 0 0 0 .258
  Osoria p      0 0 0 0 .000
  Tomko ph      1 0 0 0 .000
  Carter p      0 0 0 0 .000
  Kuo p         0 0 0 0 .000
Navarro c       3 0 1 0 .228
  Saenz ph      1 0 0 0 .289
  Alomar c      2 0 0 0 .440
Penny p         3 0 1 0 .167
Hamulak p       0 0 0 0 .000
  Robles ph     0 0 0 0 .000
  Repko pr-lf   2 1 0 0 .321
    Totals     51 3 10 3
    Astros     48 4  9 4

  Error- Navarro, Furcal. 2B hits- 
Mueller (7), Lofton (2). RBI- Lofton (3), 
Kent 2 (1). SF- Kent. SB- Repko (6), 
Furcal (6). LOB- Dodgers 15, Astros 
DP- Furcal and Garciaparra; Martinez, 
Kent and Garciaparra.

  Dodgers     in h r-er bb so era
Penny        7.0 5 3-3  3  1 2.32
Hamulak      1.0 0 0-0  0  0 1.17
Saito        1.0 0 0-0  1  1 0.82
Osoria       2.0 3 0-0  1  0 4.50
Carter       2.0 0 0-0  2  0 4.66
Kuo (L,0-3)  0.2 1 1-1  2  0 5.54 
  WP-Penny. HBP- 1 by Penny.
T- 4:48. Att-30,451
L.A. First in Stolen Bases-- The Dodgers surprisingly lead the majors with 20 stolen bases after stealing only 58 in 2005. The last time they led the National League in steals was 1970, when Willie Davis had 38, Maury Wills 28 and Manny Mota 11.

Rafael Furcal and Jason Repko have five each (tying them for sixth in the league) and Kenny Lofton and Jose Cruz each have three. Furcal, Repko, Mueller and Drew have been caught once, giving the team a 20-4 record and an .833 percentage.

But on the other side of the coin, catcher Dioner Navarro, the Dodgers' chief catcher, has yet to throw out a baserunner in 11 attempts this season. Sandy Alomar Jr., the backup catcher, has nailed one of 10 runners.

Manager Grady Little placed much of the blame on the pitchers, who he said are getting the ball to home plate too slowly. The result is that Navarro and Alomar have been forced to rush throws and are in a situation where it is almost impossible to throw anyone out.

Only Brad Penny has a caught-stealing to his record credit. The complete list: Lowe 5-0, Perez and Kuo 4-0, Penny 4-1, Baez 1-0, Saito 1-0, Tomko 1-0 and Brazoban 1-0, giving the staff as a whole a 21-1 (.955 percentage) record.

The Dodgers had much the same problem last year, when Jason Phillips, Navarro and others behind the plate threw out 21 percent of would-be base stealers (34 of 164). Navarro threw out runners 8 of 41 times (19.5 percent).

Minor League Moves
: San Diego Padres RHP Aquilino Lopez and released RHP Andy Ashby,
Seattle traded RHP Marcos Carvajal to Devil Rays for RHP Jose de la Cruz
St. Louis Cardinals signed 1B Juan Diaz

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