Blown Chances Haunt Dodgers

It was just one of those days you occasionally encounter -- blown chances to score, softly hit balls dropping in for hits -- and the Phillies left Los Angeles with a split, scoring three in the eighth inning to win 6-3. The loss, coupled with an Arizona sweep of Atlanta, dropped the Dodgers 6-4 and 2 12/ games behind the white-hot Arizona Diamondbacks in front of 48,270 at Dodger Stadium.

West Division
                w-l   pct   gb
Arizona        34-22 .607   --
LA Dodgers     32-25 .561  2.5
San Diego      30-26 .536  4.0
San Francisco  29-27 .518  5.0
Colorado       27-29 .482  7.0
Joe Beimel took over in relief with the score tied 3-3 and was tagged the loss, but the Phillies came up with an assortment of seeing-eye hits, dropping in front of outfielders and just inside the foul line. His earned run average went from 1.89 to 3.26.

But it was four double plays that, in the words of "My Fair Lady" what done them in and left six baserunners during the pivotal fifth, sixth and seventh innings -- including leaving the bases loaded in the seventh when rookie Matt Kemp grounded out on the first pitch.

Aaron Sele worked six strong innings, throwing only 87 pitches and allowing four hits. But after giving up a pair of doubles in the seventh, Danys Baez took over and got three straight harmless fly balls.

Joe Beimel ran into bad luck but newly arrived Hong-chih Kuo pitched well as did Jae Seo, who was just moved into the bullpen.

The Dodgers were shut down on one hit through four innings, bouncing into a pair of double plays in the first and second innings after the leadoff man reached base.

Trailing 2-0, they rallied in the fifth, three straight men on base with one out on an Olmedo Saenz double an infield hit by Willy Aybar and Joel Guzman's single that drove in a single run.

In the sixth, they loaded the bases with nobody out when Kenny Lofton singled to right and both Ramon Martinez and Matt Kemp beat out infield hits. The tying run scored, but it came on a double-play grounder by J.D. Drew, after which Olmedo Saenz flied to shallow center to end the inning.

After the Phillies took a 3-2 lead in the seventh, a pair of two-out walks to Martin and Andre Ethier gave them a final chance before Lofton tied the score single an error on the center fielder that allowed Ethier and Lofton to move to second and third.

Martinez drew the third walk of the inning before Kemp bounced the first pitch softly to the mound, ending yet another chance.

Beimel began the seventh by serving up back-to-back doubles, putting the Phillies in front for good. Chase Utley, a former unsigned Dodger draftee, knocked in the winning run and finished the four-game series 8-for-18 with a double, two homers and three RBI.

The Phillies scored their final two runs on fielder's-choice plays, runs that would prove crucial after Martin hit a solo homer in the ninth. The first was a bad throw by Saenz to the plate, allowing Martin to get run over by Utley. The second also attempted to nail a runner but failed.

The Dodgers have won 20 of 28 games over the past month, but that has gained them only 2 1/2 games in the standings.

Russell Martin's third homer in the ninth only closed the gap a little.

Kenny Lofton lived on an error and singled three times but only scored once.

Switch Hamulack and Kuo-- Los Angeles optioned reliever Tim Hamulack to Las Vegas and recalled Hong-Chih Kuo. Kuo has been pitching for the 51s since April 30, making 12 appearances. The left-hander has allowed nine runs (five earned) in 12 innings of work, striking out 18 and walking eight. He has a 1-0 record with one save. Before heading to Las Vegas, Kuo made 10 relief appearances with the Dodgers in April, going 0-3 with a 5.54 ERA over that stretch.

Hamulack has appeared in 24 games for the Dodgers this season, posting a 6.57 ERA. The left-hander came into the seventh inning of Saturday's game and struck out the Phillies in order. However, he allowed two runs on two walks and a double to Bobby Abreu in the eighth.
  Score by innings
Philadelphia 101 000 130-6
Dodgers      000 011 101-4

  Dodgers    ab r h bi ave
Lofton CF     5 1 3 1 .324
Martinez SS   3 0 1 0 .351
Kemp LF       4 0 1 0 .333 
Drew RF       3 0 0 0 .278 
Saenz 1B      4 1 1 0 .300
Aybar 2B      4 0 1 0 .314
Guzman 3B     4 0 1 1 .250 
Martin C      3 2 1 1 .271
Sele P        2 0 0 0 .167 
  Baez P      0 0 0 0 .000
  Ethier PH   0 0 0 0 .300
  Beimel P    0 0 0 0 .000
  Kuo P       0 0 0 0 .000
  Seo P       0 0 0 0 .125
  Furcal PH   1 0 0 0 .259
    Totals   33 4  9 2 
    Phillies 36 6 10 5

  Error- Drew.  2B- Saenz (9). 
HR- Martin (3). RBI- Lofton (12), 
Guzman (3), Martin (16). LOB- 
Philadelphia 8, Los Angeles 6. 
SB- Lofton (12). DP- 2 (Aybar, 
Martinez and Saenz).

  Dodgers       in h r-er bb so era
Sele           6.0 6  3-2  0 6 2.33 
Baez           1.0 0  0-0  0 0 3.81
Beimel (L,2-1) 0.1 3  3-3  0 0 3.26 
Kuo            0.2 0  0-0  0 0 5.27
Seo            1.0 1  0-0  0 0 5.37
  T- 2:46. Att- 48,270.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Outfielder Jason Repko, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since suffering a high left ankle sprain May 9, is expected to be off crutches by tomorrow and could begin a minor-league rehabilitation assignment in three or four weeks. Even though he was hitting .304 when he went down, tough decisions will have to be made. The Dodgers have several productive outfielders, including rookies Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. …Longtime University of Southern California coach Mike Gillespie retired and former Dodgers catcher Chad Kreuter was hired as his replacement. Kreuter, 41, has spent this season as the manager of the Modesto Nuts, the California League team of the Colorado Rockies. "I'm excited to have this opportunity to coach a program with the best history in all of college baseball," Kreuter said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to continuing USC's tradition of excellence. Kreuter spent parts of 16 seasons in the majors and played for seven teams, including the Dodgers and Angels, mostly as a backup catcher. He had a .237average in 944 games. Kreuter's best season came with the Detroit Tigers in 1993, when he hit .286 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 119 games. …

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