He left a runner on base in each of his final four at bats: at second in the second; at first and third in the fourth; at first and second in the sixth and a runner at first in the seventh as the club attempted to overcome three runs starter Brett Tomko served up.
Manager Grady Little scrambled the batting order in the final game of the Cincinnati series, batting Russell Martin #2, putting Olmedo Sanez at first and in the #3 slot, Matt Kemp in right field batting #5, rookie Delwyn Young in left field at #6, Juan Pierre slid to #7 and Ramon Martinez played third and batted eighth.
Furcal walked, Martin and Furcal singled and Jeff Kent knocked in the first run in 29 inning with a sacrifice fly. The Reds tied the game in the last of the inning.
Young singled in the second, Pierre sliced a double into the left field corner and Martinez's sac fly made it 2-1. Tomko had a couple chances to squeeze Pierre in from third but fouled the ball each time and you could almost hear Maury Wills who worked with the squad endlessly in spring training in the bunting cage, throwing things at his TV.
The potential run haunted the Dodgers the rest of the game, particularly when Tomko gave up a one out single and a home run to Alex Gonzalez in the second and L.A. trailed 3-2.
The Dodgers kept putting people on base and Tomko suddenly snapped out of his early funk, much as he has done in the two previous starts taking the game into the top of the seventh.
In the seventh, Nomar Garciaparra pinch hit for Tomko and short-hopped the left field wall for a single. Martin doubled with two out and Saenz's long fly tied the game.
Rudy Seanez got the first two Reds in the bottom of the inning but allowed a pair of singles and Joe Beimel took over to face Ken Griffey, Jr. Beimel had held him to 1-for-7 with three strikeouts but he was intent on picking the runner off first base -- and did -- but was called for a balk and the Reds went in front again 4-3.
Young, making his second start since arriving from Las Vegas where he led the Pacific Coast League with a .343 average, singled in his first three trips batting right handed, then doubled from the left side of the plate with one out in the eighth.
With two out, the most unlikely of heros, Ramon Martinez and his .177 average, singled to right, again knotting the score. James Loney, coming in in a double switch also singled but nothing more came of that.
Jon Broxton fired a scoreless eighth and Scott Proctor allowed a single and a walk but no runs in the ninth and 10th, getting credit for the win on Furcal's game-winner.
Saito allowed a hit but turned that over with a double play ball to nail down his 28th save -- and perhaps save the Dodgers also.
Joe Jareck of the Dodger Publicity Department points out that at this point last season, the Dodgers had an identical record of 58-55 and went on to earn a spot in the postseason with a Wild Card berth. The Dodgers lost their 114th game last season, so the victory today puts them ahead of the 2006 pace.
Los Angeles will open tonight in St. Louis in the first of a three-game series and the final three games of the short road trip. Brad Penny (13-3, 2.66 ERA) opposes Adam Wainwright (10-8, 4.53 ERA).
Score by innings Los Angeles 110 000 110 01-5 Cincinnati 120 000 100 00-4 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 5 2 1 1 .280 Martin c 6 0 3 0 .299 Saenz 1b 3 0 1 1 .182 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Gonzalez ph 1 0 0 0 .279 Proctor p 0 0 0 0 .000 Lieberthal ph 1 0 0 0 .255 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Kent 2b 4 0 0 0 .297 Kemp rf 5 0 1 0 .317 Young lf 4 1 4 0 .545 Ethier ph-lf 1 1 0 0 .296 Martinez 3b 3 0 1 2 .182 Tomko p 1 0 0 0 .000 Garciaparra ph 1 1 1 0 .281 Loney 1b 2 0 1 0 .323 Totals 42 5 14 5 Cincinnati 42 4 11 3 2B- Pierre (16), Martin (27), Young (1). HR-Furcal (5). RBI- Kent (60), Martinez 2 (14), Saenz (15), Furcal (38). S- Tomko. SF- Kent, Martinez, Saenz. SB- Kemp (4), LOB- Los Angeles 10, Cincinnati (7). DP- Furcal and Loney; Kent, Furcal and Loney. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Tomko 6.0 6 3-3 1 3 5.49 Seanez 0.2 2 1-1 0 0 4.00 Beimel 0.1 0 0-0 0 0 3.94 Broxton 1.0 1 0-0 1 0 2.47 Proctor (1-0) 2.0 1 0-0 0 2 3.48 Saito (sv 28) 1.0 1 0-0 0 0 1.44 Balk- Beimel. T- 3:35. Att- 25,959.Dodger Blue Notes-- Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that manager Grady Little backed up his tough talk with actions in the final game. Tough talk from the manager on Thursday, and actions to back it up. With the team inept at the plate, he switched both the batting order and the players in the order. He said the team is in an offensive crisis and that more changes would follow if results don't improve. "Players won't get the message in one day game after a night game, but spread over a stretch of time," said Little. "If that doesn't work, maybe some of the bodies in there will be different bodies than you see now." ... Since 1900, the Dodgers have not been shut out in four consecutive games. In 1937, however, they were shut out three consecutive games, scored one run in the fourth game and were shut out again in the fifth game.