Dodgers Mauled in Season Finale

It was fan appreciation day in Los Angeles and the players left the dugout before the game to give the fans a big hand, then they played as if they had a plane to catch, as most of them did. The result was an 11-2 shellacking to end a disappointing season on a disappointing note.

Three young pitchers were given a chance to audition for next season and if they didn't get the old "Don't call us, we'll call you" line, it is because the club wants to take a longer look in the spring.

Eric Stults, D.J. Houlton and Jon Meloan were each roughed up in turn, allowing 18 hits and 11 runs among them. The Giants knocked Stults out of the game after four and he allowed six runs and the first 11 hits. Houlton coughed up three more and Meloan surrendered the final two.

On the other side of the scorebook, the Dodgers could not solve Barry Zito, pitching as if he wanted to justify his $126 million contract. He did just that, working eight innings and handling everyone in the lineup with easy, excepting Matt Kemp and Delwyn Young.

Kemp singled in the first, fourth and seventh innings, collecting the only hits Zito allowed during that stretch. He finished 3-for-4 and boosted his average to .342.

Young again opened a number of eyes in Los Angeles, although you gentle readers know full well that the kid is -- and has been for some time -- a major league hitter. He tapped Zito for a two-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh to drive in both Dodger runs, then beat out an infield hits in the ninth.

The other seven players in the starting lineup collected one hit among them; Juan Pierre's double with two out in the eighth.

Zito retiring 18 of 20 batters in the first six innings while his teammates built a comfortable 9-0 lead.

Los Angeles finished the season 82-80 and the Giants were 71-91, the worst season by the bay in 11 years. The Dodgers won the season series 10-8, at one time reason enough to celebrate, but this day it seemed as if everyone just wanted to get the whole thing over and start fresh next February. The two clubs have finished at the bottom of the standings only twice since divisional play started in 1969.

The Dodgers were preseason favorites to win the NL West, but they lost 11 of their last 14 games to fall out of the race.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt expressed his disappointment before the finale. "We should be playing next week," he said. "It's sort of an odd place I'm at right now. I feel the fans' disappointment. I share it. On the other hand, I feel something very positive here. The future is very, very bright.

"We need to do better. I wouldn't be surprised if there are changes. We will get together in a week to reflect on what went right and what went wrong and address those things we can be better at and do better at."

After the game, Grady Little added, "If you're not going to the playoffs, you lost, and we all realize that. People talk about being proud of being over .500 for the year, but we aren't going to the postseason, so in my heart, we lost."
 Score by innings
San Francisco	100 503 002-11	
Los Angeles	000 000 200- 2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	4  0  1  0  .2963
Valdez 2b	4  0  0  0  .216
Kemp rf	        4  1  3  0  .342
Loney 1b	4  0  0  0  .331
Martin c	2  0  0  0  .293
 Houlton p	0  0  0  0  .000 
 Young ph-lf	2  1  2  2  .382
LaRoche 3b	4  0  0  0  .226
Ethier lf	3  0  0  0  .284
 Meloan p	0  0  0  0  .000
Hu ss	        3  0  0  0  .241
Stults p	1  0  0  0  .333
 Moeller c	2  0  0  0  .161
   Totals	33  2  6  2
   Giants	42 11 18 10

 Error- Martin (14). 2B- Pierre (24). HR- Young
(2). RBI- Young 2 (3). LOB- Lo Angeles 4, San
Francisco 7. DP- Hu, Valdez and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Stults (1-4)	4.0 11  6-6  2  3  5.82
Houlton	        3.0  5  3-3  0  3  4.18
Meloan	        2.0  2  2-2  1  1 11.05
 T-  2:31. Att- 49,211.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The announced crowd of 49,211 lifted the season attendance at Dodger Stadium to a franchise-record 3,857,036. Jamie McCourt drew snickers a few years ago when she said the club should draw four million each year. She was right and that just might happen in the future. ...The Dodgers confirmed that GM Ned Colletti and manager Grady Little will return next season. Both are under contract. ... Pierre, who had a team-leading 196 hits, played in 162 games for the fifth straight year. His consecutive-game streak of 434 is the longest among active players. ... Pierre recorded two assists in the finale, doubling his season total. Russell Martin made his 143 start behind the plate, tying the club record set by Mike Piazza.  

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