Dodgers Lose Game, Perhaps Gagne

There was bad news and their was bad news Thursday night. Which one do you want first? The Dodgers fell behind 5-0 and could never dig themselves out of that hole and lost 5-4 to the Giants, falling into third place with the loss. And then there was the report that closer Eric Gagne has two herniated discs in his back and faces surgery.

Mark Hendrickson's home opener was less than a success. The 6-9 lefthander worked six innings, allowing nine hits and five runs, taking his second loss as a Dodger in as many starts. He ended his evening with three straight scoreless innings, but then it was too late.

A three-run first inning done him in, as it were, although two of the four hits didn't leave the infield. Then he allowed two more runs in the fifth, and the mountain was just too high to climb over.

A crowd of 42,515 saw them snap a seven-game home winning streak and drop one game behind first-place San Diego and a half-game behind Colorado for second place.

Hendrickson didn't pitch badly, just not good enough to illicit enough outs from all those grounders. He gave up nine hits overall and was charged with five earned runs - three in the first and two in the third - over his six innings.

The Giants jumped into a 3-0 lead before the fans could get settled into their seats. Of the seven hits in the first three innings, only two were hit well and the others were ground ball that found their way through the infield.

The Dodgers scored twice in the third when Rafael Furcal doubled, Kenny Lofton singled and newly-selected All-Star Nomar Garciaparra banged an RBI single. Andre Ethier added a sacrifice to close to 3-2.

Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to 18 games with the third-inning single, seems headed toward the same spot on the hit-by-pitch list after being tagged twice and five times over the past four days. When he won the American League batting title in 2000, he was hit by pitches twice the entire season.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the fifth and came away with a single run. Ramon Martinez, who again replaced injured Jeff Kent, grounded into a double play and Cesar Izturis fouled out.

The Dodger starting staff is still a work in progress. After you list All-Star Brad Penny Derek Lowe and Aaron Sele, who was a late entry and has five wins, your options are many but the choices are few.

Odalis Perez is now in the bullpen, Jae Seo has been sent to Tampa Bay, Brett Tomko is disabled and rookie Chad Billingsley, has pitched creditably but has also lost his first two decisions. The Dodgers are 29-17 in games started by Penny, Lowe and Sele. They're 15-24 in games started by everyone else.

Ageless reliever Giovanni Carrara worked two scoreless innings and Joe Beimel added a zero in the ninth but in the long run that didn't matter much.

Lofton finished with two of the Dodgers seven hits and J.D. Drew hit in his 12th straight game and knocked in a pair of runs.
  Score by innings
San Francisco 302 000 000-5
Dodgers       002 010 100-4

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      5 1 1 0 .260
Lofton, CF      4 2 2 1 .296
Garciaparra, 1B 3 1 1 0 .358
Drew, RF        3 0 1 2 .291
Martinez, 2B    3 0 1 1 .321
Ethier, LF      2 0 1 1 .344
Izturis, 3B     4 0 0 0 .250
Martin, C       4 0 0 0 .283
Hendrickson, P  2 0 0 0 .000
  Cruz, PH      1 0 0 0 .243
  Carrara, P    0 0 0 0 .000
  Kemp, PH      1 0 0 0 .296
  Beimel, P     0 0 0 0 .000
    Totals     32 4  7 4 
    Giants     37 5 10 5

  2B- Furcal (12, Cain). RBI- 
Garciaparra (50), Ethier (30), 
Martinez (18). SF- Ethier. 
LOB- San Francisco 6, Los 
Angeles 9.

  Dodgers            in h r-er bb so era
Hendrickson(L,4-10) 6.0 9  5-5 1 3 3.93
Carrara             2.0 1  0-0 0 3 2.25
Beimel              1.0 0  0-0 0 0 3.23
  HBP- Garciaparra 2. T- 2-59.
Att- 42,515.
Gagne Facing Surgery --An MRI on Eric Gagne's back showed he is suffering from a herniation of the L-4 and L-5 disks in his lower back. The first course of treatment was a nerve block and epidermal injection, but doctors will move quickly if the condition doesn't improve in the next day or so.

"He will probably be facing surgery if the injections do not work," Dodger trainer Stan Johnston said.

Gagne was admitted to the hospital after waking up Tuesday in severe pain and remains there was he is being monitored closely.

It's just the latest in a series of physical problems since the beginning of the 2005 season. He injured a knee in a spring training drill, was allowed to return to soon although it was obvious that he was favoring the injured knee, and over-compensating for that tore up his elbow.

He's had three surgeries since last season and has pitched only two innings this year.

Nomar Makes the Game-- There actually was some good news. Nomar Garciaparra won the final All-Star Game slot in the "Final Vote" that saw a record 18.6 million votes cast in the last-chance selection process.

Garciaparra, picked up about four million votes and will join Brad Penny in the 77th All-Star Game on July 11 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Garciaparra beat out Chris Capuano of the Brewers, Bobby Abreu of the Phillies, Billy Wagner of the Mets and Chris Young of the Padres.

After representing the Red Sox as an AL shortstop in his previous five All-Star trips, he makes the NL roster now as a first-year first baseman on a new club. Garciaparra becomes the fourth first basemen on the NL roster, joining starter Albert Pujols of the Cardinals (the Majors' top overall vote-getter) and reserves Ryan Howard of the Phillies and Lance Berkman of the Astros.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Jeff Kent missed his third straight game with a slight strain of the oblique muscle, and tried to talk his way back into the lineup but Johnston said "no." He'll test the muscle again today, and wants to get back into the game before the All-Star break. …Former Dodgers Todd Zeile (Saturday) and Robin Ventura (Sunday) will work with Charley Steiner in the radio boot while this Rick Monday has time off. …Brett Tomko's oblique muscle has improved and he was able to make 20 throws at 60-70 percent effort Thursday, and he could resume throwing off a mound after the All-Star break. …Penny receives a $50,000 bonus for being named to the All-Star team. Garciaparra has no All-Star incentive bonus in his contract, which is laden with incentives for plate appearances. …The Dodgers, in conjunction with San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most people playing bingo at one time and claim the title of "largest bingo house" in the world tonight against the Giants. The estimated crowd of 50,000 will play between innings and $20,000 in cash prizes will be awarded the winners. …Rookie Chad Billingsley (0-2, 4.91 ERA) won't have time to play as he opposes Matt Morris (7-7, 4.12) in the second game of the four-game series..