Sleepy Dodgers Lose to Rockies

The Dodgers played as if none of them had any sleep the night before -- and that is partly true. It's tough enough pitching in Coors Field and when you get into town at 2 a.m. and get to sleep at 4 a.m., well it's even tougher. Starter Derek Lowe struggled as did most of the position players before dropping an ugly 7-2 decision.

In addition, he was nearly hit flush in the face by a line drive in the fifth inning, a ball that went for a double and knocked him out of the game after allowing eight hits and five runs, four earned.

"This is the only place in baseball where a bad game effects me none," Lowe told Ken Gurnick of "I think if you play here 81 games and you can't hit here, you should quit. The altitude has something to do with it, but it's not really baseball."

Lowe struggled from the opening bell, allowing leadoff doubles in the first and second innings but escaping with the help of double plays keyed by shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is still trying to get his batting eye honed but is having little trouble with his glove.

After three shaky but scoreless innings, he finally gave up three runs in the fourth, all coming on a bases-loaded roller that crept through the right side of the infield scoring two, and a booming throw from right field by Andre Ethier that hit the brick wall behind the plate on the fly in an attempt to nail a runner at the plate.

The ground ball was so weak, Lowe ran over to cover first hoping Nomar Garciaparra could field it, thus he was not available to back up home plate on the wild throw, resulting in an error and the unearned run.

Lowe didn't make it out of the fifth inning and Brad Hawpe nearly decapitated him with a shot up the middle after he had allowed the Rockies fourth and fifth runs.

A master of understatement, Little said "We've had better days."

The Dodgers started a strange lineup, giving second baseman Jeff Kent, left fielder Luis Gonzalez and catcher Russell Martin the evening off. Even Wilson Valdez sat this one out.

Starting in their stead were Mike Liebenthal, inexplicably batting fourth with a .111 average, Brady Clark in left, Ramon Martinez at second and Wilson Betemit at third, who even with a 1-for-3 night finished the game with an .097 average.

Ethier tripled off the right field wall in the second inning and scored when Clark flared a single to center.

The second run came in the fifth inning and cut the Rockies lead to 3-2. And it was the last offense gasp of the night for Los Angeles.

Clark, Betemit and Martinez singled with none out to load the bases and it looked like the Dodgers had something big brewing. Lowe lofted a deep fly to center to score Clark and Furcal bounced into a double play to quickly end things.

From that point on, over the last 18 out, there were only harmless singles by Garciaparra and Furcal and a Betemit walk.

Colorado scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to chase Lowe, then added two more runs in the seventh off Rudy Seanez. Chin-hui Tsao, the replacement on the roster for Schmidt, made his Dodgers debut against his former club with 1.1 scoreless innings and displaying a 96 mph fastball.
 Score by innings
Dodgers	         010 010 000-2
Colorado	 000 320 20x-7

 Dodgers	ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss	4  0  1  0  .200
Pierre cf	4  0  2  0  .238
Garciaparra 1b	4  0  1  0  .293
Liebenthal c	4  0  0  0  .111
Ethier rf	3  1  1  0  .250
Clark lf	4  1  2  1  .353
Betemit 3b	3  0  1  0  .097
Martinez 2b	4  0  1  0  .200
Lowe p	        1  0  0  1  .200
 Tsao p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .143
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
    Totals	32 2  9 2
    Rockies	37 7 13 6

 Errors- Furcal (2), Ethier (1). 
3B- Ethier (1). RBI- Clark (2), 
Lowe (1). SF- Lowe. CS- Clark (1), 
Pierre (2). LOB- Los Angeles 6, 
Colorado 9. DP- Kent, Furcal and 
Garciaparra; Furcal and Garciaparra. 

 Dodgers	 in  h  r-er bb so era
Lowe (2-2)	4.2  8  5-4  3  2  4.56
Tsao	        1.1  0  0-0  1  2  0.00
Seanez	        2.0  5  2-2  1  1  6.43
 HBP- by Lowe 1. Time- 2:43.. Att- 20,366.
Martin on All-Star Ballot-- For the first time in a number of years, every Dodgers starting position player is on the All-Star ballot, including Russell Martin who has been a big part in the recent Dodger success. Paul Lo Duca, Mike Piazza and Mike Scioscia all were All-Star catchers representing the Dodgers in nine of the 16 years from 1989-2004. The game will be played July 10 in San Francisco.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Manager Grady Little announced that Mark Hendrickson would replace Jason Schmidt as Thursday's starter today in Colorado. Hendrickson has allowed two runs in 11 innings (1.64 ERA) this month, following one run in 10 2/3 innings at the end of last season. Little said he will stick with Hendrickson in Schmidt's rotation spot as long as Schmidt remains on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder bursitis. ...Chad Billingsley, a starter throughout his minor league career until Little put him in the bullpen this spring, said he was a little stiff but otherwise "feeling great" after pitching two consecutive games for the first time this year. ...Brad Penny's "Gift's In Excess", a filly Penny owns in partnership, won the first race at Bay Meadows as the 6-5 favorite. ...The Dodgers Dream Foundation will present longtime Dodger Adopt-A-School partner Solano Avenue Elementary school with a $24,000 donation today. The funds will build a computer lab for all students' use. The foundation will provide a Dodgers cap for all students, faculty and staff of the school and the graduating sixth-grade class will be given tickets to the Dodgers game on Wednesday, May 2, against the Arizona Diamondbacks.