You Knew It Had to End, Didn't You?

To paraphrase Kris Kristofferson, "Lovin' it was easy as believing it would never end." But end it did, the Dodger winning streak, that extended over 18 games with 17 of them victories. It all fell in on Dodger Stadium during a rare afternoon game and they were buried under enough baserunners to invade North Korea --16 hits, five walks, and three errors.

The good news was that Los Angeles pitching held the Marlins scoreless in the second, fifth, seventh and ninth innings.

But in the warm sun on this afternoon, Mark Henderson pitched more like Skitch Henderson-- or Florence -- walking the bases loaded and they serving up a three run double to Cody Ross before the late-comers had settled in their seats. Ross, is the outfielder the Dodgers wanted to keep but didn't have room for in the spring. He added am RBI single in the third, mercifully giving Henderson the rest of the day off, and Florida led 5-2.

Kenny Lofton had walked, stolen second and third (#22 & 23) and J.D. Drew also walked before Jeff Kent's first double of the game scored two in the first.

Drew and Kent doubled again in the fourth and Wilson Betemit singled to cut the Florida lead to 7-4 but from that point on, the visitors disappeared in a cloud of dust to be seen no more.

They tapped Aaron Sele for a pair of runs, Giovanni Carrara for five and Joe Beimel, who was asked to take one for the team, three more during his three inning sentence. Only Brett Tomko, who worked a scoreless ninth, escaped punishment.

Another former Dodger farmhand, Reggie Abercrombie, whacked a two-run double and Miguel Cabrera spanked a pair of shots out of the park to account for five RBI.

Ross was traded from the Dodgers to Cincinnati in April for a player to be named later after he had destroyed the Pirates with a single and two homers, one a grad slam, and seven runs batted in, keeping Jose Cruz and Ricky Ledee instead.

Ross finally got himself out in the fourth inning after colliding with second baseman Dan Uggla while trying to catch a bloop single by Toby Hall. Ross had to be helped off the field with an injury to his right knee. It was diagnosed with only a contusion and is listed as day to day.

As the deficit increased, the 38,125 Romans, er, fans in attendance rained boos down on the field as it became evident that there would be no 18th win in the streak despite the fact it was the first loss in seven games for the Dodgers and only their second in the past 19 games.

Hendrickson fell to 1-5 (5-13 overall) since being acquired by the Dodgers in June, while his ERA climbed to 5.19. His 2 1/3 innings was his shortest outing of the season, a span of 22 starts, nine with Los Angeles.

The Dodgers 17-1 record since July 27 represented the hottest streak in franchise history since 1899, when the Superbas were 20-1.

The players took their beating in stride, realizing that a very good team loses two of every five games played. A team that had gained 11 games in the division standings in the previous 20 days knew that the next 10 days are more important than dwelling on a blowout.

After taking today off, their first since July 31, they play three in San Francisco, three in San Diego and four in Arizona. A good performance over these games could go a long way toward making the post season or watching it on television.

Jeff Kent went 2 for 3 with two doubles and three RBI for the Dodgers. Betemit and catcher Toby Hall had a pair of singles each.
  Score by innings
Florida401 205 030-15
Dodgers200 200 000- 4
  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Lofton, CF      2 1 0 0 .313
 Repko, PH-CF   1 0 0 0 .253
Lugo, SS        4 0 0 0 .298
Garciaparra, 1B 2 0 0 0 .326
 Saenz, 1B      1 0 0 0 .300
Drew, RF        2 2 1 0 .280
 Loney, RF      1 0 0 0 .264
Kent, 2B        3 1 2 3 .264
 Martinez, 2B   1 0 0 0 .294
Ethier, LF      4 0 0 0 .338
Betemit, 3B     4 0 2 1 .282
Hall, C         4 0 2 0 .242
Hendrickson, P  0 0 0 0 .000
 Sele, P        0 0 0 0 .208
 Furcal, PH     1 0 0 0 .285
 Carrara, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Beimel, P      1 0 0 0 .000
 Tomko, P       0 0 0 0 .120
 Martin, PH     1 0 0 0 .302
   Totals      32  4  7  4
   Florida     45 15 16 15

  Errors- Hendrickson, Lugo 2.  
2B- Kent 2 (17), Drew (24). 
RBI- Kent 3 (52), Betemit (38). 
S- Hendrickson. LOB- Los Angeles 
5, Florida 8. SB- Lofton 2 (23). 
DP- (Betemit, Kent and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers          in h r-er bb so era
Hendrickson (5-13) 2.1 5 5-5 3 1 4.31
Sele               1.2 3 2-2 0 0 4.07
Carrara            1.0 3 5-5 2 0 4.84
Beimel             3.0 5 3-2 0 1 3.62
Tomko              1.0 0 0-0 0 1 4.66
  T- 2:49. Att- 38,125.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Manager Grady Little said that upcoming off days - three before the end of this month - might cause him to juggle the rotation a bit by giving extra rest to certain starters or skipping some spots.