Dodgers Lose Game and Another Starter

The Dodgers failed to capitalize on the few opportunities they had and not only lost a tough, 2-1 decision to Houston, they lost starter Derek Lowe with a groin injury after pitching to one man in the fifth. Lowe stormed into the dugout, slammed his glove on the bench and disappeared into the clubhouse.

Lowe had retired the first seven he faced before giving up a homer run into the first row of the right field bleachers in the third inning. That score held up until the top of the fifth when Lowe seemingly singled to right but was thrown out at first base by right fielder Luke Scott.

In the fifth inning, after four pitches, Lowe walked off the mound and into the clubhouse with a left groin injury. On the way, he stopped in the corner of the dugout and slammed his glove against a wall, directly in front of the television camera.

Lowe will have an MRI in Denver, where the Dodgers begin a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies. Until the results of that exam are known, Lowe's condition and prognosis won't be known.

Lowe said he initially felt something in the groin Sunday, when he was warming up for his only relief appearance of the season, a one-inning appearance to help a tired bullpen.

D.J. Houlton relieve him and retired the side, then rolled 1-2-3 through the sixth inning.

Jeff Kent, who had singled and was cut down at second attempting to stretch the hit into a double in the second inning, crushed a mammoth shot into left field that hit the light standards well above the bleachers in the seventh to tie the game at one.

His 15th homer of the year was one of the longest home runs hit in Minute Maid Park and it marked the eighth game in succession the Dodgers hit at least one homer.

But the tie lasted only two pitches in the bottom of the seventh. Carlos Lee slammed one into the left field seats and almost before the ball settled into some lucky fan's hands, the Dodgers jerked Houlton out of the game and Joe Beimel took over.

Beimel and Roberto Hernandez had little trouble with the Astros the final two innings but a pair of double plays cut off Dodger attempts to get back into the game in the seventh and eighth, then Brad Lidge cut them down on eight pitches in the ninth to close it out.

James Loney lined a ball into deep right-center in the third leading off but Matt Kemp, Lowe and Rafael Furcal went out quietly on two strikeouts and a gentle bouncer to second base.

Kent finished the series 7-for-11 (.636), including two homers, two doubles and four runs batted in. After ripping off 17 hits in the first game of the series, the Dodgers were held to six in each the second and third games.

Los Angeles move into Colorado for a four game series with the Rockies, who smashed San Diego 10-2 to keep the Dodgers in first place.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 100-1
Houston	        001 000 10x-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  0  0  .280
Pierre cf	4  0  0  0  .282
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .300
Kent 2b	        3  1  2  1  .295
Gonzalez lf	3  0  1  0  .293
Betemit 3b	3  0  0  0  .235
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Hernandez p	0  0  0  0  .000
Loney 1b	3  0  1  0  .362
Kemp rf	        3  0  0  0  .361  
Lowe p	        2  0  0  0  .158
Houlton p	0  0  0  0  .000  
 Garciaparra 3b	1  0  1  0  .282
   Totals	30 1 6 1
   Houston	28 2 6 2

 3B- Loney (3). HR- Kent (15). RBI- Kent (55).
LOB- Los Angeles, Houston. DP- Houlton, Furcal
and Loney; Kent, Furcal and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe	        4.0  4  1-1  0  3  3.45    
Houlton (0-2)	1.2  1  1-1  0  1  4.30
Beimel	        1.0  0  0-0  1  0  3.89
Hernandez	1.0  1  0-0  0  1  6.75
 T- 2:31. Att- 31,498.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Rumors continue to circulate that the Dodgers are interested in Octavio Dotel of Kansas City, L.A. is believed to have turned down an even-up deal for infielder Tony Abreu but may be mulling over offering shortstop Chin-Lung Hu. ...With Jeff Kent's 15th homer, the Dodgers have gone deep a season-high tying eight straight games. Kent also extended his streak of reaching base to 36 games. James Loney's triple gives him a 30 games in a row. ...Andre Ethier went 1-for-3 with a double in the second game of he series and is batting .400 in July (20-for-50), tied for the fifth-highest average in the National League with St. Louis' Chris Duncan. But .400 or not, the Dodgers are having a tough time getting enough playing time for their four outfielders, including Matt Kemp (.361), Luis Gonzalez (.293) and Juan Pierre (.284).  

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