Dodgers Leave Heart .. er .. Chances in S.F.

The Dodgers flew home after dropping two of three to the Giants, with the sound Tony Bennett crooning, "I Left My Heart In San Francisco, High on a Hill it Calls to Me". But they may have left much more beside the bay, perhaps their chances for a playoff slot disappeared along with the two games they blew in the late innings.

Both losses came on late-inning home runs thrown by Jonathan Broxton and each of them kept the club from picking up a full game on San Diego who lost a pair of games to Colorado.

The crushing, three-run homer came off the bat of pinch-hitter Ray Durham off of Jonathan Broxton, the fourth pitcher in the eighth inning. The Dodgers led 4-2 into the eighth on the strength of a pair of home runs (#18 & #19) by Jeff Kent.

Penny allowed a double in the eighth and was replaced by Scott Proctor who fanned Randy Winn. Joe Beimel was called to pitch to Barry Bonds and after a pair of breaking balls sailed wide of the plate, manager Grady Little ordered Bonds walked, as Beimel seemingly disagreed with his removal.

Broxton was called in to pitch to Ryan Klesko but Durham pinch-hit and slammed a shot down the right field line and off the waiting hands of fans atop the right field wall and that suddenly San Francisco was in the driver's seat with a 4-2 lead.

L.A. had one last chance in the ninth after Winn had made a spectacular, diving catch on the warning track of a long James Loney drive and Russell Martin had lofted to left field. Andre Ethier singled but Nomar Garciaparra struck out on a ball just above the bill of his cap to end the game.

Brad Penny started and while he didn't have his A game available, he was tough when he needed to be, allowing five hits and a single run in the first three innings, three of them coming in the third inning alone.

He worked out of a leadoff double in the fourth (on a bouncing ball past third base that Garciaparra played badly), then retired 12 of the next 13 Giants before giving up the leadoff double in the eighth and was taken out of the game.

He also allowed a leadoff double in the first, a sacrifice and a ground ball that put S.F. in front 1-0. Kent slugged his first home run in the top of the second, the ball sailing out over the 404-foot sign in left-center. Kent duplicated the shot in the seventh, with ball clearing the 393-foot sign in dead center to give L.A. the lead.

After the homer, Martin tripled to deep right field but Ethier struck out on a ball in the dirt. Garciaparra was given an intentional walk and Penny was hit on the left elbow by a pitch to load the bases. However, Tony Abreu, giving Rafael Furcal a day off at shortstop, bounced out to first base.

Arizona beat St. Louis but San Diego lost again at Colorado and in a perfect world the Dodgers could have moved to within percentage points of Philadelphia and a half-game in front of San Diego in the wild card race by sweeping the Giant series -- an occurrence that came very close to happening.

After a day off today, the Dodgers open the homestand Tuesday night with Esteban Loaiza (1-0, 3.86 ERA with the Dodgers) opposing San Diego and Cy Young Award candidate Jake Peavy (16-6, 2.43).

Score by innings Los Angeles 010 000 100-2 San Francisco 100 000 03x-4 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Abreu ss 4 0 0 0 .286 Pierre cf 4 0 0 0 .290 Kemp rf 4 0 1 0 .338 Kent 2b 4 2 2 2 .294 Martinez 2b 0 0 0 0 .192 Loney 1b 4 0 0 0 .311 Martin c 4 0 2 0 .299 Ethier lf 4 0 2 0 .289 Garciaparra 3b 3 0 1 0 .277 Penny p 2 0 0 0 .241 Proctor p 0 0 0 0 .000 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 33 2 8 2 Giants 31 4 9 4 3B- Martin (3). HR- Kent 2 (19). RBI- Kent 2 (76). CS- Martin (8). LOB- Los Angeles 6, San Francisco 6. DP- Abreu and Loney. Los Angeles ab h r-er bb so era Penny 7.0 8 2-2 1 1 2.81 Proctor 0.1 0 0-0 0 1 3.72 Beimel (4-2) 0.0 0 1-1 1 0 4.01 Broxton 0.2 1 1-1 0 1 2.43 WP- Proctor. HBP- Penny. T- 2:19. Att- 40,650.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Juan Pierre went 0 for 4, ending hit hitting streak at 10 games. Pierre has hit safely in 25 of his past 27 games. ...For only the third time since he returned from the disabled list in April, Rafael Furcal, hitless in his past 17 at-bats, was not in the Dodgers starting lineup. He was hitting .158 on the current trip and manager Grady Little said the ankle he sprained during spring training is still bothering him and needed a day off. ...Takashi Saito said he's planning to return to the Dodgers for a third season in 2008. "I've thought about it and I want to play for the Dodgers next season," said Saito, who has emerged as the most reliable closer in baseball, less than two years after making the club on a Minor League contract after an All-Star career in Japan. Los Angeles has won nine of its last 14 contests and 14 of its last 23 games overall. ...Brad Penny was seeking his career-high-tying 16th win of the season and 32nd over the past two years. Since the start of last season, no National League pitcher has more victories than Penny, as he and Brandon Webb have each posted 31 victories during that period. His .789 winning percentage is the best in the Majors this season and would be the eighth-best in Los Angeles Dodger history for a full season. ...Russell Martin caught his 130th game of the year and is closing in on the Los Angeles Dodger Top 10 in that category. John Roseboro ranks 10th with 134 games caught. Mike Piazza holds the top three spots on the list, as he caught 146 games, 146 games and 139 games in 1993, 1996 and 1997, respectively. His 1997 total is tied for third with Tom Haller (1968) and Mike Scioscia (1987).