Wait 'Till Next Year - Officially

The Dodgers were crushed beneath the wheels of the Rocky Mountain Unlimited as Colorado outslugged them 9-7 to win their ninth in a row and eliminate Los Angeles officially from any post season action.

Brad Penny, was unsuccessful in his search for a personal-high 17th win, worked five innings, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out just two batters. He allowed two runs each in the third and the fifth innings, and the bullpen was battered for five more runs, including two runs in the ninth.

Among the Dodgers 12 hits were home runs by shortstop Chin-Lung Hu, who started in place of Furcal. He hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning and James Loney, who had three hits and three RBIs in the game to boost his average to .335, whacked a three-run shot in the fifth to put the Dodgers in front 5-4. Delwyn Young added his first Major League home run, a solo shot in the ninth off Colorado closer Manny Corpas.

After winning four of six against the Padres and D-backs on the last homestand, the Dodgers hit the road for the final seven road games only 3 1/2 back in the wild card race.

But they ran into a suddenly explosive Colorado team and dropped all four games there. Arizona added to their misery by winning the first two of their three game series and the six straight losses eliminated them, if not mathematically, logically.

The sudden collapse brought out the friction in the clubhouse between the veterans and the extremely talented group of youngsters who are the club's future.

The loss last night saw four players start who weren't even on the opening day roster as manager Grady Little again put the long-awaited youth movement into action. In two games the youngsters have scored 14 runs.

Little said the turning point of the season was when shortstop Rafael Furcal hurt his ankle in a spring training collision before the regular season began. Furcal played the entire season injured, unable to drive off the sore ankle, and then when his back gave out in the final month, went to the bench for good.

However, at one point in the season the Dodgers had the best record in the NL and the season began to slip away after the All-Star break.

The Dodgers lost starting pitcher Randy Wolf, who had won nine games, just before the All-Star Game, Jeff Kent suffered a hamstring injury in mid-July, and Derek Lowe went down with a bad hip on July 24. Russell Martin, who had carried the club with his big bat, tired down the stretch and was never the force he had shown in the first half.

Under that burden, the team lost 12 of 19 series and only had four winning streaks of three or more games.

The Dodgers had a chance to put the game away in the eight inning, trailing by a 7-6 margin, when Rockies reliever Brian Fuentes loaded the bases with two outs, but Matt Kemp hit a bullet to center that was caught by Ryan Spilborghs in center.

"I'm proud of the boys for putting together the season they did, to get to this point and to get this deep facing all the adversity that we faced this year," Little said.

Eliminated or not, the season goes on for five more games and Derek Lowe (12-13, 3.93) gets a chance to even his record tonight, facing Josh Fogg (9-9, 4.99) at Dodger Stadium.

Score by innings Colorado 002 022 012-9 Los Angeles 000 203 011-7 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Pierre cf 4 1 1 0 .294 Kemp rf 5 1 1 0 .331 Loney 1b 5 1 3 3 .335 Kent 2b 2 0 1 0 .302 Hendrickson p 0 0 0 0 .038 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Sweeney ph 1 0 0 0 .244 Proctor p 0 0 0 0 .000 Young 2b 1 1 1 1 .450 Martin c 3 1 0 0 .297 Ethier lf 4 0 1 0 .288 LaRoche 3b 5 1 2 1 .230 Hu ss 4 1 2 2 .364 Penny p 2 0 0 0 .246 Valdez 2b 1 0 0 0 .224 Garciaparra ph 1 0 0 0 .283 Hernandez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 38 7 12 7 Rockies 40 9 14 8 Error- Martin (13). 2B- Kent (35), Ethier (31). HR- Hu (2), Loney (14), Young (1). RBI- Hu 2 (4), Loney 3 (63), LaRoche (9), Young (1). LOB- Los Angeles 9, Colorado 11. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Penny 5.0 6 4-4 3 2 3.03 Hendrickson (4-8) 1.2 2 2-2 1 2 5.34 Seanez 0.1 1 0-0 0 1 3.74 Proctor 1.0 2 1-1 0 2 3.54 Hernandez 1.0 3 2-2 0 2 6.41 WP- Penny, Hernandez. HBP- by Penny, by Proctor. T- 3:21. Att- 44,660.

Abreu Out for Season-- Tony Abreu, who suffered an injury to his groin in Sunday's victory against the D-backs, will probably not play again this season and will have an MRI taken today. He suffered the injury while fielding a grounder in the sixth inning of Sunday's game. According to trainer Stan Conte, the injury is related to the abdominal strain that Abreu suffered in July. In his the last six games, Abreu was 7-for-21 (.333) with a homer, a double and seven RBIs.

Unhappy Clubhouse-- Manager Grady Little said that he was not happy with the way things were conducted in the last week, referring to the controversy between the veterans and younger players in the clubhouse. Little pointed out every team has issues, including last year's team that made the playoffs, but he added that when the losses start to mount, frustration boils over. "I think every team has these issues. We had them last year, we made it to the postseason. We had them this year, we didn't make it to the postseason," Little said. "You don't hear about a lot of things when you are able to win. Winning overshadows everything."

Dodger Blue Notes-- James Loney collected three more hits last night and is batting .448 (26-for-58) over his last 14 games while driving in 23 runs over his last 17 games. Loney has eight home runs, seven doubles and 28 RBI in the month of September.  His 25 RBI this month is first in the National League and his .400+ average with runners on base is the highest by a National League rookie in the past 30-plus years (since 1974; minimum 150 plate appearances).  ...Catcher Russell Martin has caught 141 games this season, which is the third-highest total in Los Angeles Dodgers history. Mike Piazza caught 146 games in 1993 and 1996. Martin leads all Major League catchers this season in games and innings (1,223), and he leads all National League backstops in hits (156), runs (85), batting average (.304), on-base percentage (.385), slugging percentage (.482), walks (65) and stolen bases (21). ...Juan Pierre has 159 singles this season which is the most in the National League and second in the Majors to Ichiro Suzuki (193). Pierre currently ranks fifth on the Los Angeles Dodgers' single-season singles list behind Maury Wills (179 in 1962), Tommy Davis (167 in 1962), Wills (165 in 1965) and Brett Butler (162 in 1991). ...Brad Penny was again unable to earn his career-high 17th victory. Since 1990, only seven pitchers have had a better season-long ERA than Penny's 3.03 mark: Kevin Brown (2.39 in 2003), Hideo Nomo (2.54 in 1995), Brown (2.58 in 2000), Tim Belcher (2.62 in 1991), Ismael Valdez (2.65 in 1997), Mike Morgan (2.78 in 1991) and Ramon Martinez (2.92 in 1990). Penny has pitched career-high 208 innings and his 12 wins against the Rockies are fourth all-time behind Randy Johnson (15), Greg Maddux (14) and Jason Schmidt (13).

Dodger History 101-- Some 48 years ago, Sal Maglie pitched a 5-0 no-hitter against the Phillies to help Brooklyn to the 1956 World Series. Maglie was picked up from Cleveland on waivers after a long career with the New York Giants and recorded a 13-5 record down the stretch. He became the oldest player to pitch a no-hitter since Cy Young in 1908 when he made 118 pitches and allowed only three Phillies to reach base, two on walks and another was hit by a pitch. He went on to win a game in the World Series against the Yankees and, while few remember, he had a no-hitter himself through five innings as the Dodgers were no-hit for the first time by Don Larsen in the fifth game. ...In 1996 Eric Karros eighth inning home run gave the Dodgers a 7-5 win over the Giants and clinched at least a tie for the National League Western Division title.