Dodgers Let One Slip Through Their Fingers

With a San Diego loss already on the scoreboard, the Dodger bullpen allowed single runs in the eighth, ninth and 10th to lose 5-4 and New York left town with three wins in four games. Spot starter Eric Stults gave the club just what they needed, five shutout innings but things went south from that time on and the 4-2 lead melted in the hot summer sun.

New York scored twice on Stults and reliever Rudy Seanez in the sixth to tie the game 2-2 but Nomar Garciaparra smacked a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning that the Dodgers attempted to cling to until it was pried out of their hands in the 10th.

Three came out of the bullpen to attempt to hold the lead but each allowed a single run. Roberto Hernandez, Jonathan Broxton (blown save) and D.J. Houlton let the game slip away and Houlton took the loss.

The winning run was knocked in by Chip Ambres, a 27-year-old outfielder who collected his first hit and first RBI with two out in the 10th for the Mets in his third career time at bat in a NY uniform. It was his first major league hit since October of 2002.

After Garciaparra's fourth homer of the season in the sixth inning, 18 Dodgers came to the plate, three of them walked, one lived on an error and none of them got a hit.

They did make one last attempt in the bottom of the ninth and the Cliff's Notes version was that Billy Wagner struck out the side to earn his 22nd save of the season.

But it was a little more than that.

Juan Pierre walked to open the final inning and stole second (#41) when Wagner had him picked off but Shawn Green dropped the throw. Russell Martin, who was 0-for-5, struck out for the third time. Jeff Kent took a couple balls and NY manager Willie Randolph went against the managers semi-sacred book by putting Kent, and the potential winning run on base with an intentional pass.

A wild pitch put the winning run at second base but Matt Kemp and Garciaparra struck out and the team hurried through the clubhouse to catch a plane to Houston where they will play tonight.

The Dodgers gave Stults a pair of runs to work on when Rafael Furcal slugged a homer deep into the right-center field seats leading off in the first inning and Luis Gonzalez singled and with two out and James Loney doubled to right-center in the fourth to drive him in.

Stults held the Mets in check until Jose Reyes lined a long triple and Lastings Milledge doubled him home in the sixth. Rudy Seanez took over and surrendered a single to David Wright and the game was tied 2-2.

Los Angeles struck back at Hernandez in the bottom of the same inning. Gonzalez walked with one out and Nomar Garciaparra's bat continued to heat up as he drove one over the left field wall give the Dodgers a two-run lead.

Manager Grady Little, short-handed in the bullpen, called in Derek Lowe to work an inning. Lowe had only pitched three innings in his last start and instead of throwing in the pen, he responded with a quick, 1-2-3 and out performance.

Roberto Hernandez took over for Seanez and surrendered a double to Reyes. Milledge's grounder move him to third and Beltran's long fly to right cut the L.A. lead to one, 4-3. It was the second game in succession that Hernandez was hit hard and he has allowed three runs in three, one-inning relief appearances.

With Takashi Saito still unavailable because of back pains, Jonathan Broxton became the designated closer. He gave up an infield single to Carlos Delgado leading off the ninth and Anderson Hernandez ran for him.

Broxton wild pitched Hernandez to second base and he moved to third when Paul Lo Duca bounced out to Garciaparra. The second former Dodger in succession, Shawn Green, hit a fly ball to right field that Matt Kemp mishandled and the tying run scored, Green ending up at second -- then moved to third on Broxton's second wild pitch of the inning. But two strikeouts ended the inning.

Another former Dodger, Jose Feliciano, retired Andre Ethier, pinch-hitting Olmedo Saenz, and Furcal in the ninth and earned he win when Mets scored in the 10th.

Saito missed his fourth game in a row although the soreness in his shoulder and neck is getting better according to head trainer Stan Conte. But Saito said he had a similar concentration of soreness in his last three seasons in Japan and it lingers for some time.
 Score by innings	
New York	000 002 011 1-5
Los Angeles	100 102 000 0-4

Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  1  2  1  .284
Pierre cf	4  0  0  0  .287
Martin c	5  0  0  0  .302
Kent 2b	        4  0  1  0  .284
Gonzalez lf	2  2  1  0  .290
 Kemp rf	2  0  0  0  .374
Garciaparra 3b	5  1  2  2  .278
Loney 1b	4  0  1  1  .361
Ethier rf-lf	3  0  0  0  .295
Stults p	0  0  0  0  .200
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Betemit ph	0  0  0  0  .242
 Lowe p	        0  0  0  0  .167
 Hernandez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .205
 Houlton p	0  0  0  0  .000
   Totals	34 4  7 4
   New York	40 5 11 4

 Error- Kemp (2). 2B- Loney (7). HR- Furcal (3), 
Garciaparra (4). RBI- Furcal (34), Loney (19), 
Garciaparra 2 (47. SB- Pierre (41). CS- Furcal (5).
LOB- Los Angeles 6, New York 7. DP- Kent, Furcal
and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Stults	        5.1  5  2-2  0  5  4.50
Saenz	        0.2  1  0-0  1  0  3.52
Lowe	        1.0  0  0-0  0  1  3.48 
Hernandez	1.0  1  1-1  0  0  9.00
Broxton	        1.0  1  1-1  0  2  2.44
Houlton (0-1)	1.0  3  1-1  0  0  4.26
 WP- Broxton 2. T-3:32. Att- 49,029.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Rafael Furcal's leadoff homer is the 20th of his career, his eighth as a Dodger and his second of the year. Since joining the club in 2006, Furcal's eight leadoff homers rank fourth in franchise history, one behind Jim Gilliam. ... Nomar Garciaparra belted his second home run in three games and now has four on the season. Garciaparra's 47 RBI ranks third on the Dodgers, behind Russell Martin (65) and Jeff Kent (51). Those 47 RBI are the most among all National Leaguers with four home runs or less. ...Juan Pierre's season-high hitting streak of 14 games was snapped as he went 0-for-4. Pierre fell one game shy of tying Rafael Furcal's Dodger season-high hitting streak of 15 games. During the run, Pierre hit .381 (24-for-63) with 13 runs scored. The Alabama native did steal his 41st base in the 10th inning, which is second in the Major Leagues, behind Jose Reyes (47.) ...Dodger second baseman Jeff Kent went 1-for-4 and has now reached base safely in 33 consecutive games dating back to June 8. The streak ties Arizona's Orlando Hudson for the Major League's longest this season. In the month of July, Kent is hitting .385 (20-for-52).

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