Perez Implodes, Then Explodes

St. Louis' superstar Albert Pujols slammed a home run in the bottom of the 14th to hand the Dodgers a 3-2 loss Thursday night. Odalis Perez (4-4) gave up the big blow but denied any responsibility, citing the fact that he had been used so infrequently that he had lost his confidence.

"I'm tired of being treated like trash," Perez said. "If I'm at this level, it's because I can pitch at this level, not for people to ignore me. I'm too good for that.

"I don't know who it's coming from, why I'm in this situation. If I did something wrong, tell me what it is. I'm treated like trash. What did I do to these people? Why am I treated like this? I don't have the answer. I want people to tell me the truth."

Perez was sent to the bullpen in the early part of the season. Since then he has made only two starts, both of which were, well, awful, although there is no evidence that he will be arrested and charged for impersonating a pitcher.

So Taguchi' long drive was nearly a home run leading off the 14th, and nearly everyone in the park could feel what would happen next. In regular-season action, Pujols was 9-for-14 (.632) and counting the 2004 playoffs, Pujols is 12-for-18 (.667) with six home runs the unhappy lefthander.

Only Perez's $17 million contract has kept him around this long, Jonathan Broxton would have been battling hitters in Las Vegas by this time, and he has a 6.79 ERA.

Perez made it clear he would welcome a trade, and Little would too but his contract and his attitude make that highly unlikely.

The much maligned bullpen worked six consecutive shutout innings, two each by Jonathan Broxton, Joe Beimel and Takashi Saito. And those followed five shaky but shutout, innings, by rookie right-hander Chad Billingsley.

Giovanni Carrara took over to begin the sixth and retired the first five batters he faced. But a double by Scott Rolen and a two-run homer by Jim Edmonds tied the game.

The Dodgers' 2-0 lead was courtesy of Nomar Garciaparra, who smashed a two-run homer off Jason Marquis in the third inning, his 12th of the season and it ran his hitting streak to 22 games.

As usual, Billingsley threw too many pitches, walking five batters in five innings. He walked three to load the bases in the third, but wiggled out of the problem but he remained winless after six major-league starts.

Danys Baez would have probably added a couple innings but stayed at the hotel with the flu allowing a discontented battery of Perez and backup catcher Toby Hall to face the Cardinals.

Garciaparra had a chance to end the game in the top of the tenth, striking out with runners at first and third. In all, he left five men on base. Rafael Furcal had four hits, including a pair of doubles and a stolen base. Jeff Kent returned to the lineup but was 0-for-3.

Now we wait to see if Perez's outburst has angered the Dodger management $17 million worth.

In the meanwhile, Derek Lowe (7-5, 3.88 ERA) opposes Chris Carpenter (7-4, 3.08 ERA) tonight in the second game of the four-game series in St. Louis.
  Score by innings
Dodgers   002 000 000 000 00-2
St. Louis 000 000 200 000 01-3

   Dodgers     ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      7 1 4 0 .273
Lofton, CF      4 0 0 0 .291
 Broxton, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Saenz, PH      1 0 0 0 .296
 Beimel, P      0 0 0 0 .000
 Kemp, PH       1 0 0 0 .279
 Saito, P       0 0 0 0 .000
 Hall, C        0 0 0 0 .238
Garciaparra, 1B 6 1 1 2 .354
Drew, RF        4 0 0 0 .283
Kent, 2B        3 0 0 0 .269
 Carrara, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Cruz, CF       3 0 0 0 .241
Ethier, LF      6 0 1 0 .345
Izturis, 3B     5 0 2 0 .293
Martin, C       5 0 1 0 .286
 Perez, P       0 0 0 0 .067
Billingsley, P  2 0 0 0 .167
 Martinez, 2B   4 0 2 0 .333
   Totals      51 2 11 2
   St. Louis   48 3 10 3

  2B- Furcal 2 (14), Izturis (4), 
Martin (13). HR- Garciaparra 
(12 ). RBI- Garciaparra 2 (55). 
LOB- 11, St. Louis 14. SB- 
Furcal (22). CS- Izturis (3). 
DP- (Furcal, Kent and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers    in h r-er bb so era
Billingsley 5.0 6  0-0  5 4 4.45
Carrara     2.0 2  2-2  0 1 4.05
Broxton     2.0 1  0-0  0 1 3.29
Beimel      2.0 0  0-0  0 0 3.09
Saito       2.0 0  0-0  3 1 2.05
Perez (4-4) 0.1 1  1-1  0 0 6.79
  T- 4:21. Att- 45,156.
LaRoche on the Way?-- Third baseman Cesar Izturis' wife is expecting to deliver a child any day in Los Angeles. When it happens, Izturis will leave the club for a few days to be with her. Third baseman Andy LaRoche, who has returned from a slight labrum tear in his right shoulder, might be the next of the minor league standouts to get the call.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Jeff Kent tested his sore left oblique muscle during batting practice and started the game but was hitless in three at bats. The Dodgers were on a verge of putting him on the 15-day disabled list if he wasn't healed to open a roster spot for outfielder Ricky Ledee. Ledee, after more than two months on the disabled list with a pulled left groin, has returned from his rehabilitation assignment at Las Vegas but the club must clear a spot, perhaps by cutting back to two catchers. Veteran Sandy Alomar Jr. could qualify for the disabled list due to the fragile condition of his knees. Little will probably keep rookie outfielder Matt Kemp, who has struggled of late, and veteran outfielder Jose Cruz Jr., who struggled most of the season before going 6-for-13 on the last homestand, on the roster. And Andre Ethier, suddenly a front-runner for the National League's Rookie of the Year award, isn't going anywhere, either. The Dodgers cleared a place on the 40-man roster -- not the 24-man roster -- for Ledee, outrighting reliever Lance Carter to Las Vegas after he cleared waivers. The move is just paperwork since Carter has been pitching for the 51s since May 19. …Little said disabled pitcher Brett Tomko is expected to throw off a mound to test his tender oblique. Jason Repko began a Minor League injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas that is expected to last a while, perhaps three weeks or longer. Repko suffered a serious high ankle sprain on May 9 and is still not running full speed on the bases. Outfielder Jayson Werth is scheduled for an examination at the Mayo Clinic to determine if he will undergo another operation on his left wrist.