Dodger Blood in the Arizona Sand

The Diamondbacks had their way with four of the five Los Angeles pitchers, smacking three home runs. Starter Esteban Loaiza was pounded for eight hits and six runs in his four innings of work. Arizona boosted its lead over San Diego by smashing the fading Dodgers 12-3 and Colorado won it's sixth in a row by beating San Diego 2-1 in 14 innings.

For the second game in a row, a miss-played foul pop dropped and a home run followed. James Loney let a ball slips off his glove in Colorado and Nomar Garciaparra and Tony Abreu led one fall between then last night and each mistake was penalized. Garciaparra glared at the young Abreu and the clubhouse was closed for 30 minutes after the game.

When the writers inquired what had went on at the meeting, manager Grady Little said, "We would have invited you to the meeting if we wanted you to know what it was about."

While Little would not comment, General Manager Ned Colletti reacted to comments by Kent that he was "angry and disappointed" and that the club's many young players collectively "don't get it."

"I know how much Jeff Kent loves to win and hates to lose," Colletti said. "There is no question there is a lot of disappointment in that room. But what these talented kids are going through is part of the process. I haven't yet talked to Jeff. But everyone's got a piece of this."

The Dodgers took a brief, 3-1 lead in the third inning but the two-run homer after the mixup on the pop fly tied the game and it got out of hand quickly after that.

Luis Gonzalez singled in the seventh to record his 2,500th hit. Despite having set numerous records at Arizona during his career, his milestone hit was not recorded on the video screen or the public address system. Diamondback fans began to applaud and it slowly built into a loud ovation for Gonzalez, who spent eight years with the D-backs prior to joining the Dodgers in the offseason as a free agent.

"It was nice to do it, especially in a place where I've played for a long time," said Gonzalez, who otherwise was in no mood to celebrate personal milestones.

Los Angeles put the leadoff man on base in each of the first three innings and each of them scored. Eric Stults, D.J. Houlton and Jose Hernandez were treated roughly; only Rudy Seanez escaped without damage.

The Dodgers scored on a first-inning RBI single by Kent, but Loaiza gave it back it in the bottom of the inning without a hit. Abreu's run-scoring grounder in the second and Garciaparra's RBI infield single in the third ended the Dodger scoring for the evening.

One night after his critical comments about the team's performance, Kent went 3-for-4 to lift his average to .301. Loney and Garciaparra each had a pair of hits.

It was the 75th loss for Los Angeles and their magic number for elimination, as if that was at all important at the present time, is three games.

"We had an opportunity," Little said, "and let it slip away in Colorado. You want to peak the last week of the season, and obviously, we have not done that these last six games."

Veteran lefty David Wells (8-8, 5.40 ERA) takes on Arizona ace Brandon Webb (16-10, 3.03 ERA) in the second game of the series tonight.

Score by innings Los Angeles 111 000 000- 3 Arizona 102 304 02x-12 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Pierre cf 4 1 1 0 .292 Abreu ss-2b 4 0 1 1 .266 Loney 1b 5 0 2 0 .325 Kent 2b 4 1 3 1 .301 LaRoche 3b 1 0 0 0 .210 Gonzalez lf 4 0 1 0 .277 Hu ss 1 0 0 0 .333 Martin c 3 0 1 0 .298 Moeller c 0 0 0 0 .167 Garciaparra 3b 3 0 2 1 .284 Kemp rf 1 0 0 0 .337 Ethier rf-lf 4 1 1 0 .289 Loaiza p 1 0 0 0 .167 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Young ph 1 0 0 0 .389 Stults p 0 0 0 0 .364 Houlton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz ph 1 0 0 0 .000 Hernandez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 37 3 12 3 DBacks 35 12 12 12 2B- Ethier (30). RBI- Kent (79), Abreu (14), Garciaparra (59). S- Loaiza. SB- Pierre (61). LOB- Los Angeles 11, San Diego 6. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Loaiza (2-3) 4.0 5 6-6 2 1 5.61 Seanez 1.0 1 0-0 0 0 3.81 Stults 0.1 3 3-3 1 0 5.13 Houlton 1.2 3 1-1 1 2 3.91 Hernandez 1.0 1 2-2 0 1 6.15 HBP- Loaiza, Pierre; by Hernandez. T- 3:00/ Att- 37,753.

Clubhouse Chemistry-- The rapturous state of clubhouse chemistry seems to be in direct proportion to the won-loss record. You never hear anyone unloading on a teammate when the club is sailing along with an eight game lead. Baseball isn't a sport where someone is needed to block for you or get you the ball when you are open under the basket. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig didn't talk to each over over the final years they played together and the Yankees seemed to have little trouble winning games and the Oakland As of the 1970 didn't like each other much. Leo Durocher was credited with the quote "Nice Guys Finish Last" -- which he interpreted to mean he would rather have a rowdy group who played hard-nosed baseball than a clubhouse full of nice people who didn't. Each of us has worked with people we just didn't like much, but growling about it out loud was never considered. The days of team's traveling in groups or sitting around hotel rooms talking about baseball have gone out with the buggy whip. It's nice if everyone on a club is warm and fuzzy but it just ain't important. And people making great piles of money seem to have forgotten how it is out in the real world.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Manager Grady Little announced after the game "I think the lineup will be a little bit different this last week of the season."

"We just have a lot of people who haven't been through this time of the season where you aren't still fighting for something at the end," Little said. "It's not a good thing. There is a lot of frustration, and understandably so, but it's like anything else in life. You deal with it. We're going to keep going."  

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