Oh, 000 000 000 - 28 in a Row

Young Chad Billingsley made only one mistake Wednesday night. He allowed a run. Had he not, the Dodgers and Reds might still be playing and most everyone would have lost interest in the 97-degree heat and gone home. Cincinnati dealt L.A. a third straight shutout, tagging Billingsley with his second 1-0 loss in a row.

They not only have not scored a run over 28 innings, they slid into fourth place in the National League West, kept out of the basement by the Giants who dropped out of the race some time ago.

Six losses in a row, shut out four times in its past five games and one hit in its past 43 at-bats with runners in scoring position is currently being chiseled on their headstone.

After today's afternoon game, they fly to St. Louis and Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News has speculated that the Transportation Safety Administration will probably let the Dodgers get on that plane without passing through airport security because this team isn't carrying any weapons.

"In this game, it's really easy to (press)," Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent said. "It's really easy to try to do too much, especially when you're young and especially when you're old. In order to play well consistently, you really have to be able to control your emotions and your attitude."

None of the players on the current roster were even alive the last time this sort of nightmare occurred. Baltimore beat Los Angles 5-2 in the first game, then swept the World Series with three straight shutouts in 1966.

It looked for a moment as if they would tie the game in the eighth inning. James Loney led off with a double, the second extra base hit of the series (the other by Mark Hendrickson) but Matt Kemp lined a dart on which second baseman Brandon Phillips made a diving catch, then threw to shortstop Alex Gonzalez covering the bag to double off Loney.

Cincinnati ace Aaron Harang (11-3) held the Dodgers to four hits over eight innings, striking out eight.

Inexplicably, the club that led the league in hitting for the first four months of the season have lost six straight, 10 of 11, 15 of 19 and fell into fourth place having lost four games in the standings in nine days and are assured of losing their sixth consecutive series.

After the final out nail in the coffin lid came when Phillips stole another hit, this one from from Jeff Kent with two out in the ninth, ending his 12-game hitting streak and 39 game string of reaching base.

"There's really no need to have this meeting tonight. It's just a replay of everything we talked about last night," Manager Grady Little said.

Little shuffled the lineup, flipped leadoff man Rafael Furcal with Juan Pierre, replaced Luis Gonzalez, in a 7-for-40 slump, with Matt Kemp in the outfield and moved Andre Ethier up to fifth.

Like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, it did little good.

The Dodgers managed only four hits after the first 10 went out in order.

Furcal and Russell Martin led off the fourth with one out singles but Kent fanned and Andre Ethier flew to left field. Nomar Garciaparra led off the fifth with a single and Loney doubled to lead off the eighth.

Chad Billingsley, adrenaline running at warp 4 speed with family and friends in the stands and pitching in his home state for the first time, was tagged with his third loss of the year.

He used 98 pitches to get through five innings while allowing six hits and walking four. Only Martin's remarkable skills behind the plate limited him to a pair wild pitches.

The Reds scored in the third inning after Scott Hatteberg doubled and Ken Griffey Jr. singled him across.

He showed his grit in the fourth when he gave up a leadoff single to Alex Gonzalez, then wild pitched him to second, then to third. Former Dodger David Ross drew a walk and after Harang bunted the runners over, Loney threw out Gonzalez at the plate, Martin making the tag after a run-down. After another walk, the young righthander retired Griffey on a fly to left.

Scott Proctor (2) and Jonathan Broxton held the Reds scoreless over the final three innings.

Brett Tomko (2-9, 5.56 ERA) gets a chance to stop the bleeding in an afternoon game today. With temperatures predicted in the 90's again, he said, "The heat's never bothered me. I went on the theory that everyone had to deal with the elements. If I prepared for it, that gave me an edge. When I pitched in St. Louis, I trained for it. I ran when it was 107. You got to pitch in it, might as well run in it. It's a little different now. I'm used to L.A. weather. But I knew I'd be pitching one day game on this trip."

The heat will be on him -- as well as on the rest of the club.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 000-0
Cincinnati	001 000 00x-1

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	4  0  0  0  .278
Furcal ss	4  0  1  0  .281
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .295
Kent 2b	        4  0  0  0  .301
Ethier lf	3  0  0  0  .297
Garciaparra 3b	3  0  1  0  .279
Loney 1b	3  0  1  0  .321
Kemp rf	        3  0  0  0  .321
Billingsley p	2  0  0  0  .111
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	0  0  0  0  .000
 Young pr	0  0  0  0  .286
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
   Totals	30 0 4 0
   Cincinnati	30 1 8 1

 2B- Loney (9). LOB- Los Angeles 4, Cincinnati 10.
DP- Furcal, Kent and Loney.

 Los Angeles	  in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (7-3) 5.0  6  1-1  4  3  3.34
Proctor	          2.0  1  0-0  0  0  3.60
Broxton	          1.0  1  0-0  0  2  2.51
 WP- Billingsley 2. TD- 2:28. Att- 20,462.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Luis Gonzalez, hitting .152 over the last 10 games sat out the game and will probably be given today off. ...Derek Lowe again felt irritation in his hip and cut short his bullpen session. But coaches Rick Honeycutt and Dan Warthen noted that he's been shortening his stride to protect the hip, but instead it causes more discomfort. "When we saw that I was about a foot short and we lengthened it, it felt fine," said Lowe, who returned to the bullpen for about 15 more throws with the longer stride. He will start in St. Louis on Saturday. ...Dr. Lewis Yocum examined Dodgers reliever Chin-hui Tsao and agreed that Tsao should continue to rehabilitate his right shoulder and delay his throwing program. ... ESPN has added the Dodgers' Aug. 26 game at the New York Mets to its Sunday Night schedule. ...Rudy Seanez, who had allowed six home runs in 5.2 innings, made some mechanical adjustments and has made five scoreless appearances since then.