Coupled with a San Diego (and David Wells) 2-1 victory over Cincinnati, the Los Angeles lead is down to three with just under a month left in the season.
Manager Grady Little, knowing that after 130 games, fatigue starts to play a big park in performance, gave Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra and Russell Martin the day off before they move into a 10 road games 11 days stretch that will see them meet Milwaukee (3), New York (4) and Chicago (3) before returning home.
The Rockies' 12-5 loss ended a seven-game win streak and the club will have to improve on their 29-36 record away from home to stay on top of the league pile. The Dodgers' 44 home victories are the most in the National League and second only to Minnesota.
Billingsley was struck by a slightly pulled oblique muscle, if indeed, there is such a thing, and the Dodgers shut him down. The training staff says he could be out for a two-week period but that is only an estimate.
Sele took a 2-1 lead in to the fifth but he gave up the first three parts of a cycle, serving a triple to Kaz Matsui, a double to Todd Helton and a single to Garrett Atkins before Little waived in Elmer Dessens.
Matt Holliday completed the cycle with a huge home run over the back wall of the left-field bullpen and Colorado had suddenly rammed six runs across and were in command with a 7-2 lead.
The Rockies finished with 18 hits against four Dodgers pitchers, including six for extra bases. Byung-Hyun Kim, who is usually trouble for Los Angeles, worked 6.2 solid innings to earn his first win in over a month,
On the pleasant side of the ledger, recent arrival Hong-Chih Kuo, suddenly a candidate for a starting pitching spot, had four strikeouts in two innings; James Loney went 2-for-5 with his fifth triple and an RBI and newly acquired Marlon Anderson had a pinch-hit double and a two-run home run. Catcher Toby Hall added a pair of hits and two runs batted in.
It seems each time Greg Maddux draws a start it is remarkably import and and tonight's game in Milwaukee is no exception.
Despite missing a sweep, the Dodgers lost for just the eighth time in 34 games, 16 of their last 19 at Dodger Stadium and 10 of their last 11 series after losing their first four following the All-Star break.
Score by innings: Rockies 000 161 103-12 Dodgers 000 200 012- 5 Dodgers ab r h bi ave Furcal SS 4 0 2 0 .291 Kemp CF 0 1 0 0 .268 Lofton CF 3 0 1 0 .305 Anderson PH-2B 2 1 2 2 .283 Lugo 2B-SS 5 0 0 0 .236 Drew RF 3 1 1 0 .277 Repko RF 1 0 0 0 .263 Ethier LF 4 0 1 0 .334 Betemit 3B 2 1 1 1 .281 Kuo P 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz PH 1 0 0 0 .293 Beimel P 0 0 0 0 .000 Diaz PH 1 0 1 0 1.000 Loney 1B 5 1 2 0 .282 Hall C 4 0 2 2 .356 Sele P 1 0 0 0 .192 Dessens P 0 0 0 0 .000 Martinez 3B 2 0 0 0 .287 Totals 38 5 13 5 2B- Anderson (14), Drew (26), Betemit (22). 3B- Loney (5). HR- Anderson (6). RBI- Anderson 2 (25), Loney (8), Hall 2 (8). LOB- Los Angeles 11, Colorado 6. SB- Furcal (33) Dodgersin h r-er bb so era Sele (7-6) 4.1 9 6-6 0 2 4.48 Dessens 1.2 3 2-2 0 1 3.93 Kuo 2.0 2 1-1 2 4 5.34 Beimel 1.0 4 3-3 0 0 3.70 Wild Pitch- Beimel. Time: 3:06. Attendance: 44,895.Anderson Added-- Dodgers made a move just before Thursday's deadline for acquiring players who will be eligible for postseason play when they picked up Marlon Anderson from the Washington Nationals in exchange for righthander Jhonny Nunez. Washington also kicked in some cash to cover part of Anderson's remaining contract.
Anderson, 32, gives the Dodgers a lefthanded pinch-hitter (he led the Major Leagues with 35 pinch-hits in 2004-05), is a good baserunner and is capable of filling in at second base and in the outfield. He hit .274/.331/.423 with five homers and 23 RBI in 215 at-bats over 109 games for Washington this year. He's a career .265/.313/.385 hitter with 52 homers, 319 RBI and 63 steals in 969 games.
Nunez, 20, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2003. Making his U.S. debut this season, he led the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in wins (six) and innings (57). Nunez went 6-0, 1.58 in 10 games (seven starts), with a 56-19 K-BB ratio, .177 average and no homers allowed. He has a live arm, 89-92 mph fastball and projectable body (6-foot-3, 185 pounds), making the trade a no-brainer for the Nationals.
Billingsley Injured-- Rookie right-hander Chad Billingsley suffered a mild strain in his left oblique muscle during his last start in Arizona. Billingsley was pushed back two days and then was replace by Aaron Sele in the final game of the Colorado series.
Billingsley said he felt the strain when he threw a curveball early in the third inning against the Diamondbacks.
Little said he was optimistic that Billingsley would miss only one start but "it's an injury we don't want to fool around with." Jeff Kent was limited by a strained oblique for more than a month. Brett Tomko spent a month on the disabled list because of a similar injury.
Dodgers trainer Stan Johnston said Billingsley's injury doesn't appear to be "as serious as those" but even a mild oblique strain usually keeps a players out for "at least two weeks and he's one week in to that.".
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers were in the hunt to acquire Red Sox pitcher David Wells, but Boston is believed to have asked for Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andy LaRoche or Scott Elbert and turned down offers of other prospects, even in packages. The asking price was obviously much too high and the Dodgers called up Kemp, Loney and catcher Einar Diaz. …The Dodgers and the LA city council honored Don Newcombe on Friday night on the 50th anniversary of his 1956 season when he won the inaugural Cy Young Award and the NL MVP Award. …Wilson Betemit, acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 28, Betemit has eight home runs in 101 at-bats for the Dodgers. …Jacksonville's John Shoemaker was named Southern League Manager of the Year after guiding the club to an 83-52 record. Spike Lundberg (14-2, 2.36) was named Most Outstanding Pitcher. Shortstop Chin-Lung Hu and designated hitter Craig Brazell made the All-Star team. …The Dodgers, last in the league in stolen bases last year with 58, have leaped all the way to second this year with 108. Last year's individual leaders were Jayson Werth and Antonio Perez with 11 each. This year, Rafael Furcal leads with 33 and Kenny Lofton has 24. Even rookie catcher Russell Martin has nine, tying him with Jason Kendall for most this year by a Major League catcher. He has the most for a Dodgers catcher since John Roseboro swiped 12 in 1962.