Colorado No Holliday for LA

DENVER COLORADO --Matt Holliday led a slugging band of Mountain Men to a four-game sweep of the Dodgers, the first such in the history of the club. The first three games of the series were close but the finale nearly turned into a rout after a six-run second inning.

The Dodgers started as if they were out of the N.L. West race ... wait a minute, for all intents and purposes, they were out of the race, and with the loss and San Diego's win, dropped 7 1/2 games behind in the wild card chase with only nine games left on the schedule.

Derek Lowe got off to a stumbling start in the first inning when a single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out. He regained his balance, however, and fanned the next two and got out of the inning unscored upon, although he threw -- of his normally allotted 100 to get threw the mess.

L.A. opened the top of the second using their "small ball" attack. Luis Gonzalez walked an both Andre Ethier and Andy LaRoche beat out weak tricklers down the third base line.

In a microcosm of the season, they left all three of them on base.

Colorado put six on the board in the second inning, keyed by Bill Holliday's 36th home run with two on. It was his 11th home run in his last 40 at-bats. It his was also his 131st run batted in.

Brad Hawpe knocked in a pair of runs in the inning and the Rockies have three over the magic 100-RBI mark, Holliday, Hawpe and Garrett Atkins.

Lowe was mercifully given the rest of the afternoon off by manager Grady Little and Eric Stults took over.

Lowe allowed eight hits and six runs while walking and striking out five in just two batters over three innings. His ERA jumped from 3.71 to 3.93.

Mark Hendrickson took over and stuck around just long enough to give Colorado their seventh run of the game.

The Dodgers scored for the first time in the seventh when Jeff Kent doubled -- only the fourth L.A. hit of the game -- moved to third on a passed ball and scored on Luis Gonzalez grounder to first.

After Russell Martin walked, Andre Ethier hit his 13th home run of the season, some 422-feet long and over the center field wall, KO'ing starter Ubaldo Jiminez and bringing in former Dodger Matt Herges.

Andy LaRoche greeted him with his first major league hit, a shot into the left-field seats and suddenly it seemed the Dodgers seemed back in the game.

But Jonathan Meloan hit a batter and served up a home run and the Rockies distanced themselves a couple runs more runs, leading 9-4 after seven. His second inning produced a pair of strikeouts and no runs.

Martin legged out an infield hit to open the L.A. ninth but Ethier and LaRoche made outs before Olmedo Saenz struck out to end the game and series.

Amid the wreckage of the Dodger dreams in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, there was a bright spot that stood out.

Down six runs in the early part of the game, with two runners in scoring position, young Russell Martin, laboring in his 144th game dashed over to the Dodger Dugout on a foul ball, crashed into the railing as he caught the ball and was saved by coach Mariano Duncan from falling completely into the dugout.

He made the catch, limped back to the plate and the inning ended without another run scoring. The catch didn't make much difference in the outcome.

However, his effort stood out on this dark day in the bright Colorado sunshine. He is a member of the new wave of Dodgers who have taken their lumps this season but have learned from them and are poised to challenge again in 2008.

The Dodgers move to Arizona, not as a contender now but as a spoiler. Esteban Loaiza (1-2, 7.20) draws the start against DBacks ace Brandon Webb (16-12, 3.03). It seems a mismatch, but you can never tell.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	     000 000 400-4
Colorado	     060 000 20X-9

 Los Angeles	       ab  r   h   bi    ave
Pierre cf	                4   0   0   0   .293
Abreu ss	        4   0   1   0   .266
Loney 1b	        4   0   0   0   .324
Kent 2b	                3   1   1   0   .298
Gonzalez lf	        3   0   0   1   .277
Martin c	                3   1   1   0   .297
Ethier rf	                3   1   2   2   .289
LaRoche 3b	        4   1   2   1   .214
Lowe p	                1   0   0   0   .105
 Stults p	                0   0   0   0   .364
 Hillenbrand ph	1   0   0   0   .243
 Hendrickson p	0   0   0   0   .038   
 Sweeney ph	       1   0   0   0   .248   
 Meloan p	       0   0   0   0   .000
 Saenz ph	       1   0   0   0   .189
   Totals	              32  4   7  4
   Rockies	       38  9  14  9

 2B- Kent (35). HRT- Ethier (13), LaRoche
(1). RBI- Gonzalez (67), Ethier 2 (63),
LaRoche (7). LOB- Los Angeles 5, Colorado
13.

 Los Angeles	       in  h  r-er  bb  so  era
Lowe (12-13)       3.0  8  6-6  5  5  3.93
Stults	               1.0  0  0-0  1  1  4.36
Hendrickson	       2.0  4  1-1  0  1  5.26
Malone	               2.0  2  2-2  1  4  6.23
 WP- Stults. HBP- by Meloan. T- 4:02. 
Att- 23,147.

Correction-- It was right fielder Brad Hawpe who hit the game-winning home run Wednesday night instead of Garrett Atkins, as was reported. If you care, sorry! If not, forget about it.
History Lesson-- Don't stop reading, there won't be a test. On this day in 1961 the Dodgers played their last game in the Coliseum, beating the Cubs 3-2 with Norm Sherry hitting a home run and Sandy Koufax striking out 15. And on this date 14 years ago, Dave Hansen set a new pinch-hit record with his 18 safe hit, surpassing present Dodger scout Mitch Webster who had broken Sid Gatreau's 57 year old record.

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