Another Too-Late Rally, Another Loss

The Dodgers seemed mesmerized through the first six innings, unable to handle the assortment of slow breaking balls and mediocre fastballs served up by Orlando Hernanez. Solo home runs by Luis Gonzalez and Russell Martin got them back in the game but unsharp fielding and untimely double play balls took them out of it again.

Ageless Orlando Hernandez (37?) handled the Dodgers with surprising ease, allowing four hits, including the two solo homers, and striking out seven. He changed speeds from average to slow and then to slower and used a slider that broke well out of the strike zone and an average fastball that looked like a lightening strike by comparison. However, the Dodgers could neither lay off or hit the stuff consistently.

Some of the pitches were too slow for the Shea Stadium speed gun to record. Luis Gonzalez, after striking out in the fourth, talked to umpire Marty Foster who was miked for television. Between innings he said, "What was that pitch, 38 miles an hour? It's like playing whiffle ball with my kids."

Eric Stults started for L.A. and pitched well, using his own assortment of breaking balls that kept the Mets off balance. He walked three in the first inning and New York swung at only six of the pitches in the inning but two were fly ball outs and escaped the jam in the by getting Carlos Delgado on a bouncer to third. Delgado also left two on in the third inning when he popped to second, leaving his fourth and fifth runners on base.

David Wright (again) was a thorn in the Dodgers' side, singling a run across earlier in the third. Then in the fourth Stults walked Wright (his fourth free pass) with two out and Carlos Beltran singled him to third.

Beltran stole second base so the Dodgers, playing the percentages, walked Jeff Conine and pitched to Delgado but he singled to center to break an 0-for-19 slump and drive in a pair of runs.

With two out in the seventh, Gonzalez (#12) and Martin (#16) homered back to back but pinch-hitter Matt Kemp took three straight strikes to end the inning.

Rudy Seanez closed out the fifth and worked a scoreless sixth before passing the ball to the Dodgers Hernandez (Roberto) who is 42. He got a the first two outs, then issued walk to (who else?) Wright. Beltran hit a long drive to the wall in left-center and Gonzalez got his glove on the ball but it missed the pocket, Beltran getting a double and a game-breaking RBI.

For the first time in the series the Dodgers hit a ball to the outfield and the Mets didn't make a spectacular catch on it. Shea Hillenbrand looped one into right field and right fielder Lastings Milledge misplayed it into a triple.

Brian Sweeney scored him with a hard ground ball to first. Rafael Furcal beat out an infield hit but Pierre bounced into a double play. After Kent singled in the ninth with one out, Gonzalez also bounced into a double play to close out the disappointing game.

Furcal had two of the Dodgers seven hits. Pierre beat out an infield single in the first to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. 

Newcomer David Wells (5-8, 5.54 with San Diego) makes his Dodgers debut tonight against John Maine (13-7, 3.64) in the final game of the series.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 210-3
New York	001 020 10x-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  2  0  .279
Pierre cf	4  0  1  0  .289
Ethier rf	4  0  0  0  .293
Kent 2b	        4  0  1  0  .287
Gonzalez lf	3  1  1  1  .277
Martin c	2  1  1  1  .292
Loney 1b	2  0  0  0  .304
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Kemp ph	1  0  0  0  .333
 Hernandez p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
Hillenbran 3b	3  1  1  0  .252
Stults p	1  0  0  0  .250
 Sweeney 1b	2  0  0  0  .248
   Totals	30 3 7 3
   Mets	        31 4 7 4

 3B- Hillenbran (2). HR- Gonzalez (12), Martin (16).
RBI- Gonzalez (55), Martin (74), Sweeney (13). LOB-
CS- Gonzalez (2), Pierre (11). Los Angeles 2, New 
York 8. 

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Stults (1-2)	4.2  5  3-3  5  4  4.23
Seanez	        1.1  0  0-0  0  2  3.43
Hernandez	0.2  2  1-1  0  1  6.20
Beimel 	        0.1  0  0-0  0  0  4.04
Broxton	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  2.31
 T- 2:48. Att- 52,655.
Boomer Meet History-- David Wells, who will wear No. 33 for Los Angeles, is an enormous fan of Babe Ruth and noted yesterday that he was excited to play for the last team the "Bambino" suited up with. Ruth was a Dodger coach in 1938, three years after his retirement as a player.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Despite the loss, when Juan Pierre and Rafael Furcal score, the Dodgers are a stellar 28-7. When both get a hit, Los Angeles owns a 42-24 record. Individually, the Dodgers are an 41-16 when Furcal scores a run and an impressive 38-18 when Pierre does so -- but neither of them scored against the Mets. ...Manager Grady Little said he planned to start Mike Lieberthal behind the plate tonight because of the scheduling that requires the Dodgers to play an 8:05 p.m. start Sunday night, fly cross-country overnight and play a Monday night game at home against Washington. ...Although third baseman Nomar Garciaparra is able to hit and field, he hasn't tested his strained calf muscle running and Little said "he's not even close." Garciaparra is eligible to be activated Wednesday. ...In the upcoming three-game homestand against the Nationals, the Dodgers plan to honor two former greats – Hall of Famer Don Sutton and Wes Parker, who was recently named to the Rawlings All-Time Gold Glove team at first base. Sutton, now a broadcaster for Washington, became the all-time winningest pitcher in Dodger history thirty years ago today, by notching career-victory No. 188 and slipping past Hall of Famer Don Drysdale. The right-hander is the Dodgers' all-time leader in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and shutouts. Parker won six straight Gold Gloves from 1967-72 and garnered 53 percent of the vote in the balloting for the greatest defensive players since the inception of the Rawlings Gold Glove in 1957.     

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