Just a Walk in the (Oakland) Park

Cemeteries are full of managers who went to meet their maker muttering "Oh, those bases on balls." Grady Little finally got to bed early Sunday morning with the same words on his lips after his sixth pitcher of the game, Jae Seo, walked in the winning run to give Oakland a 5-4 win over Los Angeles in the 17th inning, the second longest game of the major league season.

. Oakland claimed their ninth straight win and the Dodgers clung to their slim, one-game lead in the National League West after the other four teams in the division lost.

It was the Dodgers' eighth loss in the last dozen and have a limp, 3-5 record on the current road trip that ends today with Aaron Sele on the mound and a bullpen praying he can go seven or eight innings.

It wasn't a thing of beauty, particularly to the Dodgers, as the two teams combined to issue 19 walks and 15 struck out during the 5 hour, 2 minute marathon. Twenty-eight were left on base, 15 of them wearing Dodgers on their uniform shirt.

It was their longest game since playing 15 innings July 25, 2003, at Arizona. The same two teams also played a 15-inning game on July 14, 2001, in Oakland -- a 5-3 win by Los Angeles.

Kenny Lofton tied the game with a two-out triple to right off Oakland closer and former Texas ace Huston Street in the ninth inning after Oakland had scored three in the eighth to take a 4-3 margin.

The A's snatched the win away from starter Derek Lowe, who had allowed only two hits going into the eighth, but he remains 7-0 in nine career starts against Oakland and hasn't lost to the A's since 2001.

After allowing Kendall's leadoff single in the first and a walk to Swisher, Lowe retired the next 10 batters he faced before Chavez drew a one-out walk in the fourth.

The Dodgers offense continued to fizzle. It hit into four double plays, stranded 15 runners, had one runner thrown out at the plate and another picked off second base.

Rafael Furcal reached base four times and stole three bases, while Kenny Lofton drove Furcal home twice with clutch two-out hits. Lofton and Martin had three hits each, but in the end it just wasn't enough.

Lowe gave up a single, a walk, a ground ball and an infield single in the first. L.A. tied the game in the second when Kemp doubled, went to third on a single by Andre Ether and scored when Russell Martin hit into a force play.

The game remained tied until the seventh when Lofton singled to score Furcal, who had singled and stolen second, for a 2-1 lead. Martin had doubled to open the inning but was then picked off second.

The margin grew to 3-1 in the eighth after Drew walked, Jeff Kent singled him to third and Kemp scored him with a sacrifice fly. Ethier hit into a double play to end the inning.

Oakland, with only two hits in the book, scored three times in the eighth to knock Lowe out of the game and take a 4-3 lead.

Then with two out in the ninth, Furcal walked and stole second. With Oakland only one strike away from a win in regulation, Lofton tripled to right-center to tie things a four each. Garciaparra bounced out to end the inning.

The Dodgers then put their bullpen on display as Danys Baez, Jonathan Broxton, Takashi Saito and Joe Beimel each worked two scoreless innings and allowed only two hits.

Then Seo gave up an opening single on an 0-2 pitch, struck out two and issued a pair of walks before the final, fatal 3-1 pitch was called a ball and the game.
  Score by innings
Dodgers  010 000 111 000 000 00-4
Oakland  100 000 030 000 000 01-5

 Dodgers       ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      6 2 2 0 .253
Lofton, CF      7 0 3 2 .316
Garciaparra, 1B 5 0 1 0 .351
Drew, DH        3 1 0 0 .281
  Saenz, PH-DH  3 0 0 0 .288
Kent, 2B        6 0 1 0 .270
Kemp, RF        7 1 2 1 .339
Ethier, LF      8 0 2 0 .290
Martin, C       7 0 3 1 .297
Martinez, 3B    3 0 1 0 .345
 Aybar, PH-3B   3 0 0 0 .284
    Totals     58 4 15 4
    Oakland    56 5 10 5

 Errors- none. 2B- Kemp (2), Martin 
(8), Ethier (6), Furcal (8). 3B- 
Martinez (1), Lofton (7). RBI- Martin 
(26), Lofton 2 (16), Kemp (18). S- 
Aybar; Lofton. SF- Kemp. LOB- 
Los Angeles 15, Oakland 13. SB- 
Furcal 3 (16), Garciaparra (3). DP- 
2 (Furcal and Garciaparra; Martinez, 
Kent and Garciaparra).

 Dodgers     in h r-er bb so era
Lowe        7.2 5  4-4  5 3 2.98
Baez        2.1 2  0-0  0 2 3.22
Broxton     2.0 1  0-0  1 2 2.81
Saito       2.0 0  0-0  0 3 1.82
Beimel      2.0 1  0-0  1 1 4.30
Seo (L,2-4) 0.2 1  1-1  3 2 5.61
  T- 5:02. Att- 35,077.
More Bad News--Dodgers third base prospect Andy LaRoche suffered a slight labrum tear in his throwing shoulder Thursday night when he made a diving stop of a ground ball and threw to first base from his knees. He had an MRI and was examined by Dr. Frank Jobe, who believes the injury was caused by the dive and not the throw. Jobe prescribed 10 days of rest before deciding whether surgery would be necessary. LaRoche was hitting .309 with nine home runs and 46 RBI in 62 games at Jacksonville and was hitting .333 with two home runs and four RBI in four games at Las Vegas. In addition, Joel Guzman, who started at third base in place of LaRoche on Saturday, was hit by a pitch in the first inning, left the game with a contusion and is listed as day-to-day.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Cesar Izturis said that he's been told he'll rejoin the club for the homestand, which begins on Tuesday. The real decision is the roster move needed to make room for Izturis. Little confirmed that he spoke with Izturis about playing third base, because Bill Mueller may not return, and that would afford Izturis the most playing time. Izturis told Little that he's prepared to play both middle infield positions, but not third base. Since Izturis won't play third, the Dodgers probably will option left-handed reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to Las Vegas to make room for Izturis on the roster. …GM Ned Colletti said that acquiring starting pitching would be a No. 1 priority before the July 31 trade deadline, but that 95 percent of the trade talks he's been involved in lately have been initiated by him. …Eric Gagne is reported to be improving slowly, but he still has lingering discomfort from his injured ulnar nerve and has not resumed throwing. Outfielder Ricky Ledee, out since May 2 with a groin strain, could start a rehab assignment in the next week to 10 days. Outfielder Jason Repko, out since May 10 with a sprained ankle, has begun running. Outfielder Jayson Werth has reported no improvement with his ailing left wrist, and a second operation is being considered. …Dioner Navarro, who lost his starting catching job to Russell Martin while on a rehab assignment for a sprained right wrist, left the Las Vegas club for the allowed 72 hours after being officially optioned out, and he will report back on Monday.