Beltré's Revenge

In the euphoria of the 2004 Division Championship, Adrian Beltré was promised by the Dodger front office that they would sign him. He had just completed an MVP performance that included major league-high and club record 48 home runs, a .334 average and 121 runs batted in, demonstrated what the club lost when they failed to honor their commitment and let him slip away by the free agency route.

Never mind that he had not approached that lofty level since leaving the friendly confines of Chavez Ravine. For one night, at least, he was he Beltré of old, keying a 9-4 Seattle victory in front of 43,949 Tuesday night.

Beltré's heroics came at the expense of Dodger ace Brad Penny, who had led the Dodgers starting staff this season. But Penny gave up two runs in the first and one run in each the second and third innings, effectively knocking the Dodgers out of the game and, eventually, out of first place in the N.L. West.

Never underestimate the adrenaline rush a player gets when facing a team he thinks had wronged him. Oh, They all say the same thing, "It's just another game against just another team and I have no hard feelings."

But don't you ever believe it.

Along with Penny' uncharacteristically shaky start, the bullpen -- again -- was hit often and hard, as the Dodgers, kept in first place for the last few days by simultaneously weak performances by the other teams in the division, lost for the seventh time in their past 10 games, and slid into second place in the National League West.

Hong-Chih Kuo unable to record an out in a two-run seventh inning and Jae Seo also gave up two runs in the ninth, bringing his ERA to 5.57.

Beltré's statement came early and clearly. After Ichiro Suzuki's leadoff single boosted his hitting streak to 16 games, the former Dodger's home run to right made it 2-0 with a home run.

Rafael Furcal, who has been locked in a 9-for-47 slump, hit the first of his two doubles and scored on a single by the No. 1 hitter in the National League, Nomar Garciaparra.

The firstbaseman finished 3-for-4 with a walk to raise his average to .363. Garciaparra later scored on a wild pitch by Mariners starter Joel Pineiro to tie the game.

That was about the last time the Dodgers dented Pinero's pitching.

Ichiro drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the second, Richie Sexson drove in Beltré with a single in the third and it was all up hill from then on and the Dodgers couldn't make the climb.

They did collect 11 hits, but stranded nine while dropping their fourth game in a row, during which they have averaged just over three runs per game.

They are now in second place, a game behind San Diego and just a half-game in front of the rest of the league -- Arizona, Colorado and San Francisco.

Penny dropped to 7-2 and allowed five runs and 10 hits, but worked through the sixth inning.

Izturis returned, seeing his first action since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. Izturis pinch-hit in the ninth inning, drew a walk and reaching third base on a single by Nomar Garciaparra. The rally ended there.
  Score by innings
Seattle  211 010 202-9
Dodgers  200 100 100-4

  Dodgers       ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      5 2 2 0 .252
Lofton, CF      5 0 1 0 .311
Garciaparra, 1B 4 1 3 1 .363
Drew, RF        4 0 0 1 .275
Kent, 2B        4 1 2 0 .273
Kemp, LF        4 0 0 0 .318
Martinez, 3B    4 0 1 0 .341
Martin, C       4 0 2 1 .303
Penny, P        2 0 0 0 .250
  Ethier, PH    1 0 0 0 .295
  Kuo, P        0 0 0 0 .000
  Broxton, P    0 0 0 0 .000
  Seo, P        0 0 0 0 .118
  Izturis, PH   0 0 0 0 .000
Totals         37 4 11 3
Seattle        36 9 13 8

  Error- Kemp.  2B- Furcal 2 (10), 
Kent (13). RBI- Garciaparra (43), 
Martin (27), Drew (44). SF- Drew. 
LOB- Seattle 6, Los Angeles 9. 
DP- 2 (Kemp, Penny and Martin; 
Furcal and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers      in  h r-er bb so era
Penny (L,7-2) 6.0 10  5-5  0 2 2.83
Kuo           0.0  1  2-2  2 0 6.41
Broxton       1.0  1  0-0  0 1 2.70
Seo           2.0  1  2-1  2 2 5.57
  WP- Broxton. T- 2-53. Att- 43,949.
Of Course, I'd Be Delighted-- Cesar Izturis, fresh off the disabled list for the first time this season, said he would, indeed switch to third base if it would help the team.

The Venezuela native said he played maybe two innings of third base in an instructional league while in the Minors, but otherwise, he has no experience at the position at any level.

However, if he would have just said so a bit earlier, he could have played at third during his rehabilitation assignment at Las Vegas. He will make his debut on Thursday.

Third baseman Bill Mueller, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on May 15 and was expected to miss four to six weeks, still isn't close to returning, and general manager Ned Colletti mentioned the possibility on that Mueller won't be back all year.

"I'm not convinced (that he will)," Colletti told the Los Angeles Daily News. "He is struggling with his rehab. He's trying, but he isn't progressing at a rapid pace."

*M*A*S*H* Report-- While Mueller is still far from returning after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and may not be seen on the field again this season, Ricky Ledee is nearing a rehab assignment. The outfielder has been out with a left groin injury since May 2, but he may play a rehab game early next week. …Jason Repko has resumed some activities, but he is still only able to run about at about 50 percent. The outfielder has been out since May 10 with a sprained left ankle, and it has been slow to heal.

Dodger Blue Notes-- With all three of their first-round draft picks signed, the Dodgers have turned their attention to fourth-rounder Kyle Orr, a high school first baseman out of Canada who figures to present them with their most difficult negotiations. Dodgers scouting director Logan White and Orr are believed to be about $125,000-$150,000 apart. The Dodgers have yet to secure a work visa for Orr, which is required because he is a Canadian citizen. …Two of the top three Dodgers draft picks, Clayton Kershaw and Preston Mattingly, were introduced before the game. They were then on their way to Vero Beach to join the Gulf Coast Dodgers.

Chad Billingsley (0-0, 3.38 ERA) will make his second Major League start tonight and will face Seattle's Jarrod Washburn (4-8, 4.66 ERA).