Help, We've Fallen and We Can't Get Up

It's just not a good time to be a Dodger fans in Southern California -- or any other place for that matter. But with a massive heat wave scorching Los Angeles, power outages making air conditioning useless, your favorite team inexplicably being unable to hit and another key player calling in injured, it gives you a queasy feeling in your stomach.

San Diego stuffed the Dodgers deeper (6 1/2 games) into the National League West basement, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth inning to turn a 4-3 deficit into a hopeless cause.

And the former National League batting leader, Nomar Garciaparra, injured his right knee in Monday night's series opener against San Diego and will be out with a strained ligament for five days.

A loss to the Padres in this afternoon's game and it might just be time for the fight manager in the corner of the ring to throw in a towel stop the battered Dodgers; bleeding.

The middle of the line up did not include Garciaparra (knee), Jeff Kent (oblique) and Drew. Instead the lineup read Ethier, Saenz and Ledee.

And what is a slump if there isn't a key play that outlines the struggle the team is going through?

Pinch-hitting J.D. Drew lined a shot to center field but the ball was hit so hard that Padres outfielder Mike Cameron had time to set and throw to catcher Mike Piazza to nail Toby Hall at home plate to enable the Padres to preserve a one-run lead.

Starter Mark Hendrickson again pitched decently while giving up four runs on eight hits over six innings but reliever Danys Baez was touched for three runs in the ninth inning to eliminate any chance of the Dodgers rallying for a win in the bottom of the inning.

The Padres took a 2-0 in the third on a two-run home run from Cameron. The Dodgers tied it up, getting a home run from Kenny Lofton (his first of the year) in the fourth, then Furcal's run-scoring double in the fifth.

Old friends Mike Piazza and Chan Ho Park knocked in runs in the sixth to give S.D. a two-run lead.

But the Padres came back in the sixth, getting doubles from Piazza and Adrian Gonzalez to make it 3-2. Chan Ho Park followed with a bloop single to make it 4-2.

Newly acquired Elmer Dessens did not reach the ballpark until the second inning. Baez left the mound with flu-like symptoms after recording just one out in the ninth with flu-like symptoms.

Danys, we all feel the same way.
  Score by innings
San Diego 002 002 003-7
Dodgers   000 111 000-3
  Dodgers     ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS     4 0 2 1 .271
Lofton, CF     4 1 1 1 .296
Ethier, LF     3 0 0 0 .344
Saenz, 1B      4 0 1 0 .296
Ledee, RF      4 1 2 0 .289
Hall, C        4 0 2 0 .240
Izturis, 3B    4 0 0 1 .252
Martinez, 2B   4 1 1 0 .308
Hendrickson, P 1 0 0 0 .000
 Drew, PH      1 0 1 0 .281
 Dessens, P    0 0 0 0 .000
 Baez, P       0 0 0 0 .000
 Beimel, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Martin, PH    1 0 0 0 .288
   Totals     34 3 10 3
   San Diego  39 7 12 7  

  E- Izturis, Ethier. 2B- Furcal 
(18). HR- Lofton (1). RBI- Lofton 
(21), Furcal (31), Izturis (9). LOB- 
Los Angeles 6, San Diego 11. 
DP- (Martinez, Furcal and Saenz).

  Dodgers          in h r-er bb so era
Hendrickson (4-12) 6.0 8 4-4 1 3 4.10
Dessens            2.0 1 0-0 2 2 4.34
Baez               0.1 2 3-3 0 0 4.35
Beimel             0.2 1 0-0 0 0 3.59
  HBP- Ethier. T- 2-53. Att- 51,334.
Dodger Blue Notes-- GM Ned Colletti reiterated he is not ready to trade multiple young players for a power hitter or a pitcher. "I'm not to the point yet of saying, 'Let's sacrifice two-three young players -- some in L.A., some in Las Vegas -- for someone we'd probably have for a two-month period,'" Colletti said. "I have backed away from some deals because I thought the contracts were outrageous." …Elmer Dessens was received from Kansas City for unhappy Odalis Perez, who was promised he would start for the Kansas City Royals. On his way out the door, Perez said he felt the Dodgers misjudged what he was able to do, but he thanked the fans and the organization for his time at Dodger Stadium. Perez finished his last season with Los Angeles with a 4-4 record and a 6.83 ERA. Perez then probably alienated his new club before even arriving in Kansas City. "That team is a bad team," he said. "But there, I can be one of the good (pitchers) on that staff. There are a lot of young kids, and I have a lot of experience." …Jeff Kent will likely not play in the next road series against Cincinnati and Florida in early August. Kent is on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle. …Brett Tomko (strained oblique) is expected to be in the bullpen by the start of Wednesday's game. He pitched two innings of relief on a rehab assignment in Las Vegas. The Dodgers finish their three-game series against the Padres in an afternoon game before their day off Thursday. Brad Penny (10-4, 3.23 ERA) and Jake Peavy (4-10, 5.15).

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