Dodgers' Last Gasp Comes Up Short

Mets starter Oliver Perez was tough in the clutch and he was supported by dazzling fielding by David Wright at third as the Mets fought off a late rally to take the first game of their series 5-2 over the Dodgers. Brad Penny pitched well enough to win, but Los Angeles left a dozen runners stranded, nine of them in scoring postion.

Perez sailed through seven innings, and left after 119 pitches having allowed three hits and stranded seven runners. The Dodgers banged out five hits and coaxed a walk in the final two innings but could wring only a pair of runs out of all that activity.

Matt Kemp was the only Dodger with multiple hits.

The Mets tapped Penny for single runs in the first, third and fifth inning, they after L.A. had broken into the scoring column against Jorge Sosa, New York nailed Scott Proctor for two in the last of the eighth in what turned out to be a game-breaker.

The Dodgers again suffered from an attack of RISP (runner left in scoring position), leaving 12 runners on base in all and converting only one of nine they managed to get as far as second and third.

Penny, who has the highest ERA of any visiting starter in Shea Stadium (1-9 and 6.75), saw Jose Reyes walk, steal second and score on a single by Julio Gotay in the first put the Dodgers down 1-0. Reyes doubled and scored on David Wright's single in the third and Wright sliced a shot down the right field line that just cleared the fence at the foul pole to give New York a 3-0 advantage.

L.A. loaded the bases in the first but Andre Ethier fanned and Russell Martin lined to right. Matt Kemp doubled and Jeff Kent walked in the third but Ethier ended things was the double play ball.

From the fourth through the seventh Los Angeles managed only a single by Martin but after Perez called it a night, they unlimbered their bats.

In the eighth, Kent whacked a single off Wright's glove at third and Ethier bounced a drive into the left field seats for a double with one out. Martin walks and manager Grady Little opted to pinch hit Ramon Martinez and his .185 batting average for Loney (the old rightie-leftie thing you know).

Martinez bounced to first, driving in Kent but Hillenbran lined to third to end that threat.

Closer Billy Wagner came in to close things out in the ninth with the Dodgers trailing 5-1 and Luis Gonzalez opened things with a pinch-hit single. Rafael Furcal singled for his first hit off Wagner after going 0-for-7 lifetime.

Juan Pierre, who led off with a bunt to Carlos Delgado at first base at beat it out, extending his hitting streak to 12, attempted to slap a shot past Wright at third but hit into a force place instead. Kemp singled to center to load the base and bring up Kent but the best he could do was a sac fly that drove in the second run and Ethier fanned to end the game.

The Padres dumped Philadelphia and picked up another game on Los Angeles in the wild card race.

Eric Stults will face Orlando this afternoon in the second game of the series and new acquired David Wells will match up with John Maine in the Sunday night game.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 011-2
New York	101 010 02x-5

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  1  0  .277
Pierre cf	5  0  1  0  .289
Kemp rf	        5  0  2  0  .335
Kent 2b	        2  1  1  1  .288
Ethier lf	5  0  1  0  .296
Martin c	2  0  1  0  .291
Loney 1b	3  0  0  0  .307
 Martinez ph-3b	1  0  0  1  .190
Hillenbran 3b	4  0  0  0  .237
Penny p	        2  0  0  0  .250
 Saenz ph	0  0  0  0  .186
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Gonzalez ph	1  0  1  0  .277
   Totals	34 2  8 2
   Mets	        29 5 10 5

 2B- Kemp (5), Ethier (28). RBI- Martinez (23), 
Kent (68). LOB- Los Angeles 12, New York. 
SF- Kent. DP- Furcal, Kent and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Penny (14-4)	6.0  6  3-3  4  2  2.65
Beimel	        1.0  1  0-0  0  0  4.07
Proctor	        1.0  3  2-2  1  2  5.28
 Balk- Proctor. T- 2:56.
Wells Signed, Tomko Designated for Assignment-- As expected, the Dodgers signed 44-year-old left hander David Wells and with throw him right into the stretch drive, starting him Sunday night against New York.

Cut by the Padres on Aug. 9, Wells said he'd been "sitting around" for more than two weeks and only played catch with his kids a couple of times.

"Nothing like getting thrown in the fire," he said before the game. "I've accepted a lot of challenges in my career, but this ranks right up there. I'm going to go out and pour my heart into it."

On the other side of the coin, Brett Tomko, just designated for assignment to make room for Wells, said "It's time. It's been a rough year for me here and their is cause to make the move. It's not like they are bringing in a chump -- I'm fine with it."

Battered by injuries to their starting pitching, the club slipped 3 1/2 games behind San Diego after their 5-2 loss to the Mets.

Scout Dale Mc Reynolds Dies-- Former Dodger Minor League Field Director Guy Wellman reported that long-time Dodger scout, Dale Mc Reynolds passed away peacefully Wednesday afternoon in Walworth, Wisconsin. No other details are available at this time. Former Dodger General Manager said, "It's a very sad day for sure. Dale was a great man and a great scout."

Dodger Blue Notes-- On this day, August 24, 1974, Dodger second baseman Davey Lopes stole an L.A. Dodger record five bases against the St. Louis Cardinals. The steals gave him a Major-League record 38 consecutive stolen bases, but the streak ended later in the game when he was thrown out at third by Ted Simmons. Lopes went on to steal 59 bases that season, which ranks fifth on the L.A. Dodger single season list. Juan Pierre recently became the fastest Dodger to steal 50 bases in a season since Lopes in 1975. Lopes finished 1975 with 77 thefts, third on the franchise's all-time single season list. ...Takashi Saito saved his 34th game of the season Thursday, moving him into sole possession of seventh place on the franchise single season saves list, one behind Todd Worrell's 1997 total. Since last year's All-Star Break, Saito has a 1.67 ERA (16 ER/86.1 IP), the second-best mark among all pitchers with 75 or more innings during that span behind only Joe Nathan (1.63). Saito has converted 11 straight save opportunities going back to July 15 and yielded just one run in 9.1 innings this month. (0.96 ERA).

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