Kuroda KO'ed in Third; Dodgers Lose 6-1

The Dodger free-fall continued as their worst road trip of the season ended, New York doing almost everything right and Los Angeles caught in the web of Johan Santana, who won his seventh of the season and his 100th career victory, allowing six hits and a single run in a 6-1 game.

So the Mets, who spent millions acquiring Santana during the off-season, joyfully flew to San Francisco for a series with the Giants and the Dodgers, whose big-ticket pitching signee, Hiroki Kuroda made his shortest start of his major league career and took the loss, wearily boarded the redeye for Los Angeles and three games with Colorado.

The loss ended a 1-5 road trip that saw them lose three in Chicago and three of four to the Mets. During the six games they scored 19 runs, and nine of them came in their only win, a 9-5 pasting handed the Mets in the second game.

It looked as if things would be different in the first inning when Juan Pierre sliced a double down the left field line and off the glove of third baseman David Wright, then scored when Matt Kemp laced a single to center.

But Kemp was picked off first, Jeff Kent and James Loney struck out looking and the Dodgers offense would collect only four more singles and zero runs over the final eight innings.

New York tied the game immediately in the bottom of the inning when Jose Reyes singled, stole second and scored on David Wright's RBI single.

Kuroda then retired seven Mets in a row before Reyes slugged a double, Wright knocked him in and New York added two-run homers by Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church to end Kuroda's evening after seven hits over 2.2 innings allowing six earned runs.

Wright finished the game 3-for-4. If he could play against Los Angeles every game, he would be voted unanimously into the Hall of Fame without the five year waiting period.

"They had eight left-handed hitters, and that would have been OK if my breaking ball was good," Kuroda said through a translator. "But since it wasn't, that's the reason why I gave up five runs in one inning."

Hiroki Kuroda, now 2-5, ranked 11th in the NL with a 3.29 ERA coming into the game but left after his worst start of his Dodger career with a 3.93 mark. He had allowed five runs against Colorado in April but worked six innings. Kuroda has been a victim of poor run support, with the Dodgers now having scored a grand total of eight runs in his five losses (1.6 per game).

In fact, he could have seven wins by now.

The bullpen blew saves for him on April 14 against Arizona, April 25 against Colorado, May 11 against Houston and May 27 against the Cubs, plus a pair of unearned runs cost him a win May 6 against New York.

It was the fifth time this season the Dodgers have faced a former Cy Young Award winner. After defeating 2002 winner Barry Zito on Opening Day, the club lost to defending NL winner Jake Peavy on April 5 and 11, four-time Cy Young Award winner and former Dodger Greg Maddux on April 13 and now Santana.

Despite the ugly road trip, the Dodgers lost only one game to the Diamondbacks. slipping to 4 1/2 behind in second place and two games below .500 for the first time since Apr. 26. Since May 6, the first day Rafael Furcal went down with a back injury, the Dodgers are 8-15. They've lost eight of their last 10, three with blown saves, scoring one run or less in six of the losses.

Matt Kemp accounting for half of the six Los Angeles hits. Jeff Kent made five outs in his first three trips to the plate, grounding into a pair of double plays, and then was hit by a pitch.

A bright spot was Hong-Chih Kuo. He sparkled in the New York series, pitching three scoreless innings in the first game and added 4.1 additional scoreless innings in the finale, dropping his ERA to 1.93.

If the Dodgers hope to turn things around in June, they will have to overcome the fact that they haven't had a winning June since 2003 when they went 14-11. They were 11-16 in 2005, 11-15 in 2006 and 14-14 last year.

Derek Lowe celebrated his 35th birthday on the final day of the trip and will be the starter tonight in Los Angeles against the Rockies, who were swept by the sizzling Cubs.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	100 000 000-1
New York	105 000 00x-6

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	3  1  2  0  .281
Kemp cf	        4  0  3  1  .311
Kent 2b	        3  0  0  0  .244
Loney 1b	4  0  1  0  .275
Martin c	3  0  0  0  .321
Young rf	4  0  0  0  .250
DeWitt 3b	4  0  0  0  .296
Maza ss	        2  0  0  0  .243
Kuroda p	1  0  0  0  .105
 Kuo p	        1  0  0  0  .286
 Tiffee ph	1  0  0  0  .250
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	30 1  6 1	
  New York	35 6 10 6

 Error- Maza (2). 2b hits- Pierre (6). 
RBI- Kemp (30). CS- Kemp (6). LOB- Los
Angeles 6, New York 8.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda (2-5)	2.2  7  6-6  2  0  3.93
Kuo	        4.1  3  0-0  1  2  1.93
Wade	        1.0  0  0-0  0  2  1.23
 HBO- Kent. T- 2:55. Att- 50,263.
The Good News First
Shortstop Rafael Furcal resumed hitting at Dodger Stadium. Manager Joe Torre said Furcal's progress will be evaluated when the club comes home and the shortstop would need a Minor League rehab assignment before he could see action.

And the Bad News
Jason Schmidt's repaired shoulder survived his fourth rehab start, but he had been hit on the calf on a shot through the pitchers' box and that could delay his return.

However, that's not as bad as it might seem.

Schmidt will not have sufficient arm strength and pitch count to be activated by June 10 and the new injury could allow Schmidt to make additional Minor League starts. Schmidt is expected to throw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium and the extent of his leg injury will be monitored.

Thanks, Skipper
Delwyn Young made his second start this season to give Andre Ethier the night off against a tough left hander. But that meant he would face Johan Santana, the highest-paid pitcher in the history of the game who signed a six-year, $137.5 million contract.

"I faced him in the spring," said Young, who was 0-for-4 in the game. "I'm not going into it blind. That's good. If I only start once a month, I want a real challenge."

Young can play infield, outfield, even behind the plate. Since Spring Training, he has worked on becoming a catcher and catches an occasional starting pitcher's bullpen session, most recently Brad Penny's on Saturday.

But he don't expect to replace Russell Martin. "If they don't play me where I know how to play, why would they play me where I don't know how to play?" Young asked philosophically.

"Without Andruw Jones," said Torre. "Maybe we'll add him to the mix to give guys days off. With his offensive numbers, he has the ability to hit. He's been working at being an extra man, and I respect that."

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