Three Pitches Cost Tomko, Dodgers

Brett Tomko never looked better, never felt better than when he pitched the second through fifth innings Monday night. But baseball rules don't let you pick and choose so his first inning have to be accounted for, more exactly the first three hitters. It was homer, single, homer and lights out for the Dodgers who lost a 4-1 decision.

Tomko struggled in outings against Washington and Atlanta, allowing a combined 11 runs in just 7.2 innings. He looked destined for the same fate after serving up a home run to leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, then a single to Carlos Beltran and a long two-run home run to Carlos Delgado.

After the first inning Monday, Tomko didn't allow a run until the sixth, giving up six hits in that stretch.

It was the second straight loss for the Dodgers, who now face former Dodger Pedro Martinez who has gone on to craft a Hall of Fame career and former Atlanta ace Tom Glavine on Wednesday.

The Dodgers, couldn't handle Mets' rookie pitcher Alay Soler's change, and managed just a solo home run by Willy Aybar and a double from Ramon Martinez to go with five singles. Then there were nine strikeouts.

Tomko served up a home run to leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, a single to Carlos Beltran and a long two-run home run to Carlos Delgado and the Dodgers were down 3-0 before many of the 34,000+ fans had settled into their seats.

He settled in after the first, working scoreless innings from the second and fifth, then ran into trouble again in the sixth when Cliff Floyd and Jose Valentin opened the inning with back-to-back singles, followed by an RBI single from rookie Lastings Milledge to make it 4-0.

Relievers Hong-Chih-Kuo, Danys Baez and Takashi Saito were solid over the final three innings but the hay was in the barn by then and the Dodgers had dropped their second game in succession..

The rookie Soler's only mistake was the long home run he gave up to Willy Aybar in the sixth inning to make it 4-1. Aybar extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

The Dodgers also threatened in the eighth with back-to-back singles by Kenny Lofton and J.D. Drew, but reliever Pedro Feliciano got Aybar to ground into a fielder's choice, and pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz bounced out to end the inning.

Los Angeles had a hit in each inning except the third and the ninth, but Soler always got himself out of trouble, earning his first career win.

"He changed speeds awfully well," said Dodgers manager Grady Little. "He was tough for us to get to."

Kuo had his second strong appearance since being recalled from Las Vegas. After a 1.2 inning effort Monday, he took over for Tomko in the sixth and struck out Reyes, and then got Paul Lo Duca to fly out to left field

Danys Baez and Takashi Saito each worked a perfect inning but by then it was much too late.

On a night that only San Francisco won in the National League West, the Dodgers remained 2.5 games behind Arizona.
  Score by innings
New York    300 001 000-4
Los Angeles 000 001 000-1
  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      3 0 0 0 .255
Lofton, CF      4 0 1 0 .322
Garciaparra, 1B 4 0 1 0 .366
Drew, RF        4 0 2 0 .283
Aybar, 3B       4 1 1 1 .311
Ethier, LF      3 0 0 0 .289
  Saenz, PH     1 0 0 0 .297
  Saito, P      0 0 0 0 .000
Martinez, 2B    4 0 2 0 .361
Martin, C       4 0 1 0 .270
Tomko, P        2 0 0 0 .091
  Kuo, P        0 0 0 0 .000
  Cruz, PH      1 0 0 0 .240
  Baez, P       0 0 0 0 .000
  Kemp, LF      1 0 0 0 .320
    Totals     35 1  8 1
    Mets       35 4 10 4 

    Errors- none. 2B- Martinez (4). HR- 
Aybar (2). RBI- Aybar (17). LOB- Mets 
8, Dodgers 8.
  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Tomko (L,5-4) 5.1 9  4-4  1 0 4.57
Kuo           1.2 1  0-0  0 3 4.70
Baez          1.0 0  0-0  0 0 3.68
Saito         1.0 0  0 0  0 1 2.25
  T- 2:36.Att- 34,420.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Derek Lowe is pumped up over the fact he'll pitch against his former Boston teammate tonight in the second game of a three- game series. Odalis Perez will make his first start since May 2 in the series finale against the Mets Wednesday. Perez is making his return to the rotation after being moved to the bullpen in early May. The move was due to a struggling start to 2006, after a six-start period in which he allowed seven earned runs in two starts and six earned runs in another. …The Mets and the Dodgers are the top two base-stealing teams in all of baseball so far this season. New York had swiped 55 bags going into tonights game to lead the Major Leagues, led by Jose Reyes' 23 steals. The Dodgers are second with 49, with Rafael Furcal and Kenny Lofton both stealing 12 bases. Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca has thrown out 10 runners in 40 games through Sunday, and Dodgers catcher Russell Martin has thrown out five runners in 10 attempts over his 25 games this season.

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