Rockies Dump Dodgers 9-6

Jeff Kent (four hits, three RBI) and Russell Martin (homer, two doubles, RBI) led the Dodger attack but Colorado powered its way to a 9-6 decision, putting the top three teams in the NL West just a half-game apart and moving themselves back into the race, trailing by 3.5 games.

Kent showed his Hall of Fame credentials in the ninth inning, but they went pretty well unnoticed by the Colorado crowd, giddy at taking the series from Los Angeles.

Two out, trailing by 9-5, the 39-year-old second baseman punched a ball into the hole between short and third. He ran full-out down the line and beat the throw on a head-first slide. It was his fourth hit of the game.

The performance sparked a mini-rally, with Gonzalez and Garciaparra following with singles that scored a run and Loney supplied the fourth hit of the inning to load the bases and cutting the score to 9-6 to give Ethier a shot at the brass ring.

On a 3-1 count, he sliced a shot down the left-field line that would have scored all three runners but just hooked foul. Ethier then struck out to end the game.

Starting pitcher Chad Billingsley was attempting to become the first Dodger to start the season 8-0 since current Rockies' reliever Matt Herges did so in 2000 but the right-hander's 7-0 record and nine-straight wins over the past two years couldn't hold up under the Colorado attack.

It was his eighth start of 2007 and his record shows he hasn't come up with good starts back to back yet this season.

In his odd starts, 1-3-5-7, he worked 25.2 innings, allowed 14 hits, four earned runs, walked nine and struck out 19 with a 1.48 earned run average.

In his even starts, 2-4-6-8, he pitched 18.1 innings, allowing 22 hits, 16 runs 13 walks and struck out 15, recording a 7.87 ERA.

The Dodger pitching staff is in a shambles at the present time but the offense doesn't fare much better upon analysis.

Since the four wins over San Francisco immediately after the all-star break, the club has lost eight of 12 games. An over the last five games -- four of them losses -- the club as averaged 3.2 per game.

Colorado had the best of the batting comparison over the three game series but they also ran wild on the bases, taking extra bases each time a ball was hit to left (Gonzalez) or center (Pierre), and they stole five bases, basically on the pitching staff, their high for the season.

Billingsley started strong, striking out three in the first two innings. Then catcher Yorit Torrealba slugged a long shot over the 415-foot sign in center field to break the scoreless tie.

With two out, Matt Holiday singled and rode home on an even longer homer, this one 438 feet into the middle of the left field bleachers and the Rockies were up by three.

The Dodgers got one back in the fourth when Russell Martin doubled to deep left-center, moved to third on Jeff Kent's looping single to right and scored on Nomar Garciaparra's fly ball.

Billingsley's pitch count closed hit 90 in the bottom of the fourth after a walk, a single and then he violated a cardinal rule by walking the pitcher, although he didn't surrender another run.

However, he did in the fifth, issuing a walk to Matt Holiday and on his 114th and final pitch, Todd Helton shot an RBI double into the right field corner to make it 4-1. Eric Hull took over and calmed the waters.

Martin lined his second double off the right field wall in the sixth, missing a homer by a couple feet, then scored when Kent doubled into the left-field corner, passing Ted Williams on the all-time doubles list with 526.

Hull was tapped for three runs in the sixth inning with two stolen bases figuring prominently in the attack.

Rudy Seanez replaced Hull and on the first pitch, allowed a third stolen base of the inning but went on to put out the fire.

Now trailing 7-2, Ethier banged the third double (of five total hits) off the left field wall leading off the seventh. A pair of walks and a two-RBI single by Kent cut the lead to three.

Joe Beimel took the ball in the last of the seventh and, always the individual, caught a popup just in front of the mound with all the infielders clustered around him. He also allowed a pair of runs before Roberto Hernandez bailed him out.

Jonathan Broxton came into the game trailing 9-4, pitching in a game in which he should have never been seen.

As a final gesture, Martin pounded a ball into the Rockies bullpen with two out, his 12th of the year.

Colorado took two of three games from the Dodgers, causing a shuffling of the top four spots in the N.L. West. Arizona scored 11 in the first and held on to beat Houston while Atlanta pounded Arizona. The N.L. West leaders:
	        w - l	gb
Los Angeles	57-48  --
San Diego	58-49  --
Arizona	        56-48  0.5	
Colorado	53-51  3.5
The Dodgers have today (Monday) off and then host the Giants for three games with Barry Bonds stuck just one home run short of history of some kind.
  Score by Innings
Los Angeles	000 101 202-6
Colorado	003 013 20x-9  		

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  1  0  0  .282
Pierre cf	4  0  0  0  .279
Martin c	5  2  3  1  .301
Kent 2b	        5  0  4  3  .305
 Martinez pr	0  1  0  0  .162
Gonzalez lf	5  1  1  0  .289
Garciaparra 3b	5  0  1  2  .285
Loney 1b	5  0  2  0  .350
Ethier rf	4  1  1  0  .299
Billingsley p	1  0  0  0  .142
 Hull p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Betemit ph	1  0  0  0  .231
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Hernandez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
   Totals	37 6 12 6
   Rockies	37 9 12 9

Error- Kent (5), Martin (10). 2B- Martin
2 (25), Kent (25), Ethier (15). HR-Martin
(12). RBI- Garciaparra 2 (52), Kent 3 (59),
Martin (67). S-Billingsley. SF- Garciaparra.
LOB- Los Angeles 11, Colorado 11. 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley	4.1  5  4-4  3  4  3.65
Hull	        1.1  3  3-3  1  2  8.10
Seanez	        0.1  0  0-0  1  0  4.28
Beimel	        0.1  3  2-2  1  0  4.20
Hernandez	0.2  0  0-0  1  0  5.97
Broxton	1.0  1  0-0  0  2  2.50
 T- 3:38. Att- 38,167.
-- Not In My House-- Despite the fact that the Dodgers held Barry Bonds hitless (0-for-12) when they last faced in San Francisco, the slugger will likely have the opportunity to break or tie Hank Aaron's all-time home run record of 755 at Dodger Stadium Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Bonds has hit 64 homers against the Dodgers in his career, but is batting just .138 (4-for-29) with one home run when facing Dodger hurlers in 2007.  

Anniversaries-- One year ago today, Dodger first baseman James Loney was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas for the second time, after a brief stint on the club in April 2006. Loney was hitting .380 for the 51s at the time and since then, his Major League average hasn't been much worse. In the last year, Loney's .340 average (67-for-197) is the seventh-highest average of any player with more than 100 at-bats in the Major Leagues over that time. Loney is hitting .429 (24-for-56) on the road and .500 (17-for-34) with runners in scoring position.
On July 29, 1996, Tommy Lasorda officially retired after 20 seasons and two World Championships as the skipper for the Dodgers, citing health concerns. He holds the title of Special Advisor to the Chairman since 2005. August 3 will mark the 10-year anniversary of Lasorda's induction. The Dodgers will be commemorating that event on September 14 by giving away 50,000 Lasorda bobbleheads, including 80 autographed ones that will be handed out at random.

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