Dodgers 3-2 Loss Turned on a 3-2 Pitch

The Dodgers overcame a 1-0 lead to take a 2-1 margin into the last of the sixth inning, only to see the game slip away in a tight pitchers duel that featured Greg Maddux and Oscar "El Duque" Hernandez. With L.A. leading 2-1 in the sixth, the Dodgers thought they had a strikeout o a 2-2 pitch, but it was called a ball and the next pitch resulted in a two-run single and the game.

Maddux did his job, holding the Mets to one run into the last of the sixth inning and leading 2-1 but after a double and an intentional walk, he left the game in favor of Tim Hamulak. He got Delgado on a fly to center and Brett Tomko took over but gave up a two-run single to David Wright his third hit of the game and that was the game.

Many on the Dodger side of the field thought Wright was out when a 2-2 slider just missed the outside corner but Wright spanked a 3-2 fastball up the middle to score two and gave the Mets their major league-leading 29th one-run victory.

Maddux (12-13), who gave up a homer to Delgado leading off the second, only fourth hit in 21 trips off Maddux and was 2-for-15 on the homestand before his long shot.

Orlando Hernandez hadn't faced Greg Maddux since the 1999 World Series, and this game had the feel of a post-season game about it. Maddux lost his second straight start and fell to 3-2 in eight starts with the Dodgers.

Hernandez outpitched Maddux, giving up only one earned run in seven innings, and Wright's two-run single off Tomko tagged the Dodger ace with the loss.

It was the second victory for New York in the third game of four between N. L. division leaders. The Mets lowered their magic number for clinching the East to six, while Los Angeles clung a 1 1/2 -game lead over San Diego, which lost for the second time to San Francisco.

However, the Giants, winners of three in a row, are only three games behind the Doddgers now.

The Dodgers lost an opportunity in the first inning after Rafael Furcal doubled on the second pitch of the game. He was bunted to third by Kenny Lofton but Nomar Garciaparra flew softly to right and J.D. Drew struck out.

Then El Duque retired 15 straight Dodgers, six on strikeouts, before Russell Martin singled to open the sixth and advanced to second when Maddux faked a bunt and swung away.

Shortstop Jose Reyes had broken for second, and had to reverse his field to reach the ball hit into the hole. His throw to first glanced off the glove of Delgado's glove, allowing Maddux to reach on the error.

Furcal bunted them to second and third before Lofton drove in Martin with a single to center. Maddux advanced on the base hit, then was caught in a rundown between third and home when Nomar Garciaparra grounded into a fielder's choice. J.D. Drew followed with a broken-bat single to drive in Lofton and put L.A. in front 2-1. Jeff Kent bounced out, leaving runners on first and second.

Valentin doubled to open the sixth and manager Grady Little talked to Maddux about an intentional walk to Beltran and then Hamulak replaced Maddux who had thrown 72 pitches.

"I was tired," Maddux said. "We talked leaving after the intentional walk and I agreed."

Tim Hamulack got Delgado -- who hit his 37th homer in the second inning -- on a long fly to center before Wright's hit gave the Mets a 3-2 lead. Hernandez won for the third time in five starts and has allowed only two earned runs in three outings since yielding a career-worst 11 in four innings at Philadelphia on Aug. 15.

The Dodgers had one last gasp in the ninth. Kent singled with one out and was replaced by pinch-runner Jason Repko. After pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz struck out, Repko was nailed attempting to steal second to end the game.
  Score by innings
Dodgers  000 002 000-2   
Mets     010 002 00x-3

  Dodgers     ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss      3 0 1 0 .293
Lofton cf      3 1 1 1 .306
Garciaparra 1b 4 0 0 0 .306
Drew rf        4 0 1 1 .276
Kent 2b        4 0 1 0 .277
 Repko pr      0 0 0 0 .254
Ethier lf      2 0 0 0 .325
 Saenz ph      1 0 0 0 .287
Betemit 3b     3 0 0 0 .274
Martin c       3 1 1 0 .289
Maddux p       2 0 0 0 .119
 Hamulack p    0 0 0 0 .000
 Tomko p       0 0 0 0 .120
 Anderson ph   1 0 0 0 .279
 Beimel p      0 0 0 0 .000
    Totals    30 2 5 2
    Mets      28 3 7 3

  Error- Kent. 2B - Furcal (30). 
S - Lofton, Furcal. RBI - Lofton 
(33), Drew (82). LOB - Los Angeles 
4, New York 4. CS - J Repko (4). 
DP - 2 (Garciaparra, Furcal and 
Maddux; Betemit, Kent and Garciaparra).
  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Maddux (12-13) 5.1 5 3-3 1 3 4.38
Hamulack       0.1 0 0-0 0 0 5.18
Tomko          0.1 1 0-0 0 1 4.54
Beimel         2.0 1 0-0 1 0 3.26
  Time- 2:25. Att- 47,062.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Dodgers manager Grady Little, who sent Kuo out for Friday night's game against the Mets, confirmed he will give the ball Sunday to another rookie, left-handed Eric Stults tomorrow in the final game of the series. Stults, 26, was 10-11 with a 4.26 ERA at Las Vegas. He will face Steve Trachsel (14-6, 5.02). …Shortstop Rafael Furcal has had 26th multi-hit game since the All-Star break, and since July 4 he is batting .346 (83-for-240). …Brad Penny is expected to represent the Dodgers this winter in the Major League Baseball's goodwill tour of Japan. Penny also made the trip as a member of the Florida Marlins after the 2002 season. …Grady Little was one of three new inductees in the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame, along with Roy Halladay and Alfonso Soriano. Little piloted the Grand Canyon Rafters during the inaugural 1992 season. …Margarita Yniguez, wife of Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster Pepe Yniguez, is in a Whittier, Calif., hospital after four-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor. Yniquez is expected to return to the broadcast booth when the club returns home next weekend.

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