Struggle Continue; DBacks win 8-7

The Dodger slump deepens and after dropping an 8-7 decision to the Diamondbacks they have lost nine of their last 14 games and four straight series against New York, Houston, Colorado and San Francisco. Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers have posted a 9-11 record. The Arizona series is a prime example of a slumping team: Get great pitching and lose 1-0; score some runs and lose 8-7.

Focusing on the positive, starter Derek Lowe (8-10) didn't seem to have trouble with the left hip and groin irritation that sidelined him for a time. He worked five and allowed four hits and six runs (four earned) over five innings. D.J. Houlton coughed up a pair of runs in his one inning of work and Rudy Seanez, Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito threw a scoreless inning each.

Lowe retired 11 straight batters at one point, but gave up a two-run homer in the first inning and struggled through a four-run fifth inning that cost him and the Dodgers the game.

Arizona starter Livan Hernandez earned the win but the DBacks to battle to hold their 8-1 lead in front of 52,921 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles fell to 58-52, the first time they have been no more than six games over .500 since May 22, and are now three games behind the DBacks, their biggest deficit of the season. They have lost 11 of their past 17 and haven't won a series since taking two out of three against Philadelphia at home July 16-18. in mid-July.

Lowe's last win was June 22 at Tampa Bay. On Saturday, he gave up only four hits and walked one but left with the Dodgers trailing 6-1. The deficit ballooned to 8-1 following a two-run homer by catcher Miguel Montero off Houlton.

But unlike the first game of the series, the Dodgers managed to rally, scoring on Andre Ethier's sac fly in the sixth and in the seventh inning, Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre, who had two hits, got back-to-back singles, followed by an error by the Arizona right fielder to load the bases. Luis Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Furcal and cutting the lead to five before Nomar Garciaparra slugged his sixth homer, his fourth since July 20th.

Ethier made it 8-7 in the eighth with his ninth home run off of Arizona reliever Tony Pena but that was it for the offense.

The Diamondbacks got a run in the fifth inning on an error by first baseman James Loney, another when Justin Upton slid just below Russell Martin's tag at home and a third when the Dodgers couldn't turn a double play in time to get Byrnes at first on a grounder.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning but managed only a run. Hernandez walked in Pierre, then got out of it by getting Ethier to ground out. The Dodgers again trouble driving in in runs, leaving five in scoring position.

Lowe's didn't help him much. In the fifth inning, Loney made a stop on a ground ball to his right but threw low to Lowe who was covering first, allowing a run to score and the runners to advance to second and third with no outs. That error led to a four-run fifth inning and put the Dodgers behind, 6-1, and they never fully recovered.

Hoping to avoid a sweep, the Dodgers send Brad Penny (13-2, 2.60 ERA) to the mound against Arizona ace Brandon Webb (10-8, 3.08) this afternoon in the final game of the series at Dodger Stadium.
 Score by innings
Arizona	        200 042 000-8
Los Angeles	000 101 410-7

 Los Angeles ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  1  1  0  .287
Pierre cf	4  2  2  0  .279
Martin c	5  1  0  0  .294
Gonzalez lf	3  0  1  0  .283
Garciaparra 3b	5  2  2  3  .285
Loney 1b	3  0  1  0  .331
Martinez 2b	3  0  0  1  .176
Ethier rf	3  1  1  2  .300
Lowe p	        1  0  0  0  .154
 Young ph	1  0  1  0  .200
 Houlton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Kemp ph	1  0  0  0  .328
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .176
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
   Totals	35 7  8 7
   Arizona	39 8 10 7

 Error- Loney (8). HR- Garciaparra (6), Ethier (9).
RBI- Martinez (12), Ethier 2 (46),Gonzalez (52).
Garciaparra 3 (57). SF- Ethier, Gonzalez. :OB- Los
Angeles 7, Arizona 5.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe (8-10)	5.0  4  6-4  1  4  3.58
Houlton	        1.0  2  2-2  0  1  5.17
Seanez	        1.0  1  0-0  0  1  .403
Broxton	        1.0  1  0-0  0  1  2.56
Saito	        1.0  2  0-0  0  1  1.48
 HBP- Gonzalez, Pierre. T- 2:55. Att- 52,921.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Manager Grady Little noted after the game, "When you're going through a spell like we're going through right now, it's a total team effort. We left a little bit with our pitching, we've left a little bit with our offense, we've left a little bit with our defense, and it all works together. It's all part of what it takes to play not winning baseball. I got deep concern in all the areas I just talked about, but we just have to keep working and get turned around. We have a lot of time left." ...Outfielder Delwyn Young made his first career start on Friday night and got his first major league hit last night as a pinch-hitter. Young hit .343 with 16 home runs and 79 RBIs at Triple-A Las Vegas before being called up on July 31. ...Jeff Kent missed his fifth straight game with a strained hamstring after hitting .650 on the club's recent road trip. ...Barry Bond' hit his record-tieing home run in San Diego and Alex Rodriguez finally it his 500th homer. ...Lowe has allowed 13 unearned runs, the most on the Dodgers' staff and four more than he did last year. He has not reached the sixth inning in any of his last four starts. ...Jonathan pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out one batter and lowering his season-ERA to 2.56. Broxton has not allowed a home run since July 24, 2006, a span of 87.1 innings, which represents the second-longest current homerless streak in baseball. The big right-hander also lowered his ERA to 1.34 (5 ER/33.2 IP) at Dodger Stadium in 32 appearances.has not allowed a homer in 87 games, surpassing former Dodger Gregg Olson (1989-90) for the 10th longest streak in baseball since 1957. ...Last night's crowd was the Dodgers' 23rd of the season with 50,000 or more in paid attendance.