Near-Perfect is Order of the Day

At least it didn't take long. Brett Tomko and Greg Maddux performed like surgeons Saturday night, cutting and snipping off batters with great efficiency. However in Tomko's case, the patient died when the Padres topped L.A. 3-2 in snappy game that lasted just over two hours.

Tomko retired the first 11 San Diego batters of the game and Maddux retired the final 14 Dodgers in a row and a three-run Padre fourth inning made all the difference.

The two pitchers, teammates on the Dodgers in 2006, performed like Christy Mattewson of the Giants and Three-finger Brown of the Cubs did when they met during the 1906 season. A steady stream of batters were coming and going to and from the plate all night long, dragging their bats behind them.

Maddux scattered five hits and continued his career dominance of the Dodgers, boosting his record to 14-7 with a 2.75 ERA.

When Tomko is right, he is overpowering. Maddux, on the other hand, generates a feeling of, "He ain't got a thing tonight, I'll get him next time at bat."

But Maddux is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and Tomko just never seems to quite get over the hump.

The Dodger pitcher, who pitched well enough to win four out of five games, allowed a single to Brian Giles with two out in the fourth, then suffered a melt-down, quickly allowing three more hits to turn a modest 2-0 Dodger lead into a 3-2 Padre advantage.

Maddux, after allowing Jeff Kent to knock in Juan Pierre in the first and third innings, settled down like he always does and protected the lead like a mother bear.

Pierre, was hitting .180 on April 15, but since then has gone 20-for-53 to boost his average to .282 and his 10 stolen bases, good for second in the league, puts him on pace for 67. His three hits Saturday night moved his average to .282.

Even though Tomko retired eight more in succession after allowing the three-spot in the fourth, the game was pretty much in the bag at that point.

He finished by allowing six hits over 6.1 innings and when Chin-hui Tsao smothered the Padres over the final 1.2 innings, all that did is get the fans back on the freeway quickly.

Juan Pierre gave the Dodgers one last chance in the eighth when he singled but then snatched it away when he attempted to stretch the hit into a double. That kept the final 20 Dodgers from being retired in order, a small victory at best.

Except for Pierre and Kent, the rest of the Dodgers' lineup was 1-for-23.

The decision to let Maddux walk because he wanted a multi-year contract and instead give that money for the now injured Jason Schmidt is for now filed under "cooda, wooda, shoulda".

It was Los Angeles fifth loss in six games but they held on to a slim lead in the N.L. West when Arizona beat the Giants 3-2. San Francisco is one game back, Arizona is one and a half back and San Diego is two from the top.

In the fourth and final game of the series, Derek Lowe (2-3, 4.40) opposes San Diego lefty David Wells (1-1, 6.00) today (Sunday) afternoon.
 Score by innings
Dodgers	        101 000 000-2	
San Diego	000 300 00x-3

 Dodgers	ab  r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  0  0  .200
Pierre cf	4  2  3  0  .282
Garciaparra 1b	4  0  0  0  .311
Kent 2b	        4  0  2  2  .329
Gonzalez lf	3  0  0  0  .272
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .321
Ethier rf	3  0  1  0  .246
Valdez 3b	3  0  0  0  .282
Tomko p	        2  0  0  0  .000
 Tsao p	        0  0  0  0  .000
    Totals	31 2 6 2
    Padres	29 3 6 3

 2B- Pierre (3), Kent (7). RBI- Kent 
2 (16). S- Tomko. SB-Pierre (10). 
LOB- Los Angeles 4, San Diego 2. 
DP- Tsao, Valdez and Martin.

 Dodgers	in  h  r-er  bb  so  era
Tomko (0-2)	6.1  6  3-3  0  1  3.09
Tsao	        1.2  0  0-0  0  1  0.00
 T- 2:04. Att- 42,385.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Reliever Yhency Brazoban, coming off elbow surgery, began a rehabilitation assignment at Las Vegas by pitching a scoreless inning on Friday against Tucson. Little said Brazoban will have to pitch on consecutive days before he returns to the majors. ...Takashi Saito's save on Friday night was his seventh of the season and ran his streak to 17 straight dating back to last year, some 67 shy of Eric Gagne's exceptional record and the fourth-longest active streak in the Major Leagues. ...Russell Martin stole his fifth base in the first game of the San Diego series and is on a pace to steal 35, which would obliterate the Dodger record by a catcher of 17 by Lew Ritter in 1904 and the Major League mark of 36 by Kansas City's John Wathan in 1982. The National League record is 34 by Roger Bresnahan in 1903. But catching takes a toll on the legs and as they season progresses, the steals will come farther and farther apart. ...First base coach Mariano Duncan flew home to the Dominican Republic after learning of the death of his father after a long illness. Bench coach Dave Jauss filled in for Duncan coaching first base. ...Third baseman Wilson Betemit was scratched due to an upset stomach, a not-uncommon ailment when facing Greg Maddux, and Wilson Valdez drew the start.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories