Dodgers Lose on Overdose of Zito

Brett Tomko had lost four in succession as he opposed Oakland ace Barry Zito who hadn't lost in over a month Friday night. Were it Hollywood, Tomko would have overcome his problems and guided the Dodgers to an important road win. But Hollywood it ain't and the Athletics dropped the Dodgers 7-3.

Tomko, who had worked all week to correct his mechanics, was again up in the strike zone and the As showed their appreciation by hammering him for five earned runs on nine hits over five innings, and over his previous four starts, all losses, he posted an 11.88 ERA.

So Tomko, who on May 15 had a 5-1, 2.88 record has slipped to 5-6, 5.45 since then and would be in jeopardy of losing his starting slot in the rotation if there was someone to take his place.

Oakland banged seven doubles, three off reliever Hong-Chih Kuo but Jae Seo, apparently recovered from a sore shoulder, retired all four batters he faced with two strikeouts.

Zito, on the other hand, displayed a curveball that the Dodgers were unable to handle, particularly a pair of rookies, Russell Martin (2) and Matt Kemp (3), who fanned five times but the veterans were as susceptible and a total of 11 men in blue were K'd.

Manager Grady Little pointed out, "There is a chance they hadn't seen a breaking ball like that since they had been in professional baseball, probably hadn't seen one like that since they were playing whiffle ball in their backyards."

The Dodgers took a brief, 2-1 lead on a two-run single by Kenny Lofton in the third inning, but the A's erased that when Dan Johnson and Jay Payton hit consecutive doubles to begin the fourth against Tomko (5-6).

Olmedo Saenz followed Kent's second double with a sixth-inning RBI single, ending the Dodgers' attack.

After the third inning, Zito (8-3) allowed a total of two runners to get past first base. After issuing a career-high seven walks in his previous start, Zito didn't walk anyone.

The Dodgers (36-31) managed to hang onto sole possession of the National League West lead, with Arizona and San Diego a game behind. But the Dodgers still haven't won an interleague road game since July of 2004 when they won two of three from the Angels who were from Anaheim at that time.

Zito is finishing out his five-year, $17.8 million contract and if traded would make nearly any club an immediate pennant contender. He has won his past five starts and six of his past seven.

But general managers around the majors shudder to think what Oakland would want in return.

So the A's have won eight straight and 11 of their last 12, while Los Angeles is 1-3 on the current road trip and have won four of their last 11.

Derek Lowe (5-3, 2.83) will oppose Kirk Saarloos (3-4, 4.82) tonight as the Dodgers attempt to right the ship.
  Score by innings
Dodgers  002 001 000-3
Oakland  010 220 20x-7

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 1 1 0 .251
Lofton, CF      4 0 1 2 .311
Garciaparra, 1B 4 0 2 0 .354
Kent, 2B        4 1 2 0 .273
Saenz, DH       4 0 1 1 .297
Kemp, LF        4 0 0 0 .346
Cruz, RF        4 0 0 0 .228
Martin, C       3 0 0 0 .289
Martinez, 3B    3 1 1 0 .346
  Totals       34 3  8 3
  Oakland      36 7 13 7

  Errors- none. 2B- Furcal (7), Kent 
2 (12). RBI- Lofton 2 (14), Saenz 
(28). LOB- Los Angeles 4, Oakland 8.
  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Tomko (L,5-6) 5.0 9  5-5  1 0 5.45
Kuo           1.2 4  2-2  1 3 5.49
Seo           1.1 0  0-0  0 2 5.52
  T- 2-32. Att- 30,161.
What to Do, What to Do?-- Cesar Izturis will come off the disabled list early next week and has apparently told the Dodgers he will not play third base, so the former Gold Glover will back-up Jeff Kent and Rafael Furcal. How times have changed. Imagine if Jim Gilliam had told Walter Alston he didn't want to switch from second to third? And to compound that, someone will have to be removed from the 25-man roster to make room for him. That decision won't be an easy one. Odalis Perez, and his $18.7 million dollars owe to him, is one possibility. Jae Seo is out of options. Andre Ethier is hitting .299 and the Dodgers would lose Jose Cruz if he were the chosen one.

Navarro optioned-- It was made official Friday when Dioner Navarro was optioned to Las Vegas. He went from the Dodgers' starting catcher to AAA after being hit on the wrist by a pitch and was replaced by Russell Martin who has sparkled both at bat and behind the plate. Navarro also hit only .046 rehabbing his bruised wrist at Ls Vegas. If the starting pitching continues to stumble, Navarro could be a valuable part of a trade.

Not Yet-- Dodgers third baseman Bill Mueller, who was supposed to miss four to six weeks following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee May 15, still isn't close to returning. Dodgers trainer Stan Johnston said Mueller hasn't suffered a setback, but admitted that the recovery process hasn't gone entirely according to plan and is at least somewhat concerned about Mueller.

Two More Sign-- The Dodgers have agreed to terms with their sixth-round draft pick and left-hander Garrett White, on a $110,000 signing bonus, and with their seventh-rounder, Puerto Rican high school first baseman Jaime Ortiz, on a $115,000 bonus. The club now has signed five of its first 10 picks and is believed to be closing in on a deal with its top pick, lefty Clayton Kershaw who could be signed as soon as today.

Navarro optioned- As expected, catcher Dioner Navarro was activated from the 15-day disabled list and officially optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he had been playing on a rehab assignment for a bruised right wrist since last week.

Rumor Central- Jayson Stark of said that the line of suitors -- including the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Cardinals, Phillies, Braves, Diamondbacks, Tigers, Rangers and Rockies -- waiting for Florida to put Dontrelle Willis on the trading block will be waiting for some time. Owner Jeffrey Loria is under so much pressure from MLB to get a ballpark built and keep the team in South Florida, it's going to be almost impossible to justify trading the charismatic face of his franchise. However, the rather forgettable list who are available include- Pitchers--Jeff Weaver, Rodrigo Lopez, Bruce Chen, John Thomson, Jason Johnson, Kyle Lohse, Victor Santos, Kip Wells, Oliver Perez, Odalis Perez, Glendon Rusch, Ramon Ortiz, Jeremy Affeldt, Elmer Dessens, Roberto Hernandez, Salomon Torres, Damaso Marte, Chris Reitsma, Rudy Seanez and Joe Borowski as well as hitters Craig Wilson, Jose Guillen, Juan Pierre, Julio Lugo, Aubrey Huff, Shannon Stewart, Rondell White, Mark Grudzielanek, Reggie Sanders, Tony Graffanino, Matt Stairs, Jay Payton, Bobby Kielty, David Dellucci, Jeff Conine, Kevin Millar, Jeromy Burnitz.

Dodger Blue Notes-- It looked at the time as if the Dodgers has given outfielder Milton Bradley to Oakland and threw in infielder Antiono Perez for good measure, receiving "only" minor league outfielder Andre Ethier in return. But as of right now, the trade is greatly in favor of the Dodgers. Bradley spent six weeks on the disabled list and is batting .213 with three home runs. Perez is batting .054, with two hits in 38 at-bats. Ethier is batting .293, with four home runs and five doubles, since the Dodgers promoted him from triple-A Las Vegas last month. …Matt Kemp's seventh home run in his first 18 days in the majors put him in a remarkably exclusive yet somewhat obscure group, as the fifth player to hit as many as seven in that time. Dusty Rhodes had eight with the Yankees in 1952 while three managed seven in 18 days -- Mandy Brooks (Cubs, 1925), Alvin Davis (Seattle, 1984) and Dino Restelli (Pirates, 1949).