Good Penny Returns But Loses

Brad Penny, the Rockies Killer, wasn't and Jeff Francis, the Dodger Killer, was. On this night Penny pitched well enough to win under normal situations but, as you know, this isn't a normal year for either Los Angeles or Colorado. The big righthander, who came in 9-0 with a 3.28 ERA in his previous 13 starts versus the defending NL champions, allowed a pair of runs in six innings and lost 3-0.

Dodger fans are not the only ones who are frustrated how the season has gone to this point. Los Angeles had lost eighth of their last 11 games and Colorado had lost eight in a row, so when Matt Kemp and Yorvit Torrealba got their feet tangled up with each other and started pushing, the "fight" cleared the benches and for a moment, both sides could vent their anger.

Francis (2-5) allowed the Dodgers only four hits over seven innings, snapping the eight-game losing streak and a franchise-record 13-game road skid. He struck out five and walked four.

He retired the final 10 Dodgers he faced and only two Los Angeles hitters reached second during those seven innings, including Juan Pierre, who was picked off after leading off the game with a double.

Penny allowed two runs, six hits and four walks over six innings and struck out five. The right-hander, who won 13 of his first 14 decisions last season en route to a 16-4 record and finishing third in the Cy Young voting, is 0-5 with an 8.28 ERA in his last six outings.

The Dodgers scored fewer than three runs for the eighth time during their last dozen games.

They stranded five baserunners in the first three innings, then in the ninth they had one more shot left but rookie Blake DeWitt made the final out on a foul fly to right field with two runners in scoring position after a two-out single by James Loney and Delwyn Young's second double of he night.

Colorado opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the third. Omar Quintanilla led off with a single, moved to second on Francis' sacrifice bunt, took third on a balk by Penny and came home on Scott Poidsednick's sacrifice fly. Penny then allowed a walk, a single and then an RBI single b Todd Helton and L.A. trailed 2-0.

Reliever Cory Wade gave up a home run on his first pitch in the ninth to complete the scoring.

Pierre and Young, who started his third game in succession, each had two of the six Dodger hits.

The second-place Dodgers (27-29) again missed an opportunity to narrow the 3 1/2-game gap that still separates them from division-leading Arizona after the Diamondbacks lost 7-1 to Milwaukee.

The two teams meet again this afternoon in the series finale.
 Score by innings
Colorado	002 000 001-3
Los Angeles	000 000 000-0

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf-cf	4  0  2  0  .284
Kemp cf	        4  0  0  0  .312
 Tiffee lf	0  0  0  0  .250	
Kent 2b	        4  0  1  0  .244
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .315
Loney 1b	4  0  1  0  .280
Young rf	4  0  2  0  .278
DeWitt 3b	3  0  0  0  .293
Hu ss	        2  0  0  0  .160
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
Penny p	        2  0  0  0  .174
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Maza ss	1  0  0  0  .237
  Totals	32 0 6 0
  Colorado	32 3 8 3

 Error- Penny (1). 2b hits- Pierre (7), Young
2 (3). CS- Pierre (5). LOB- Los Angeles 7,
Colorado 9. DP- Kent, Hu and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Penny (5-7)	6.0  6  2-2  4  5  5.45
Beimel	        0.2  1  0-0  1  0  1.50
Proctor	        0.1  0  0-0  0  0  5.61
Wade	        2.0  1  1-1  0  0  1.82
 Balk- Penny. T- 3:00. Att- 38,5489.
No Winner in Shoving Match
Frustration showed in the eighth inning scuffle that may get one or both of the occupants a suspension. After Kemp struck out and Torrealba dropped the ball, the two became entangled, Torrealba attempting to get to the ball and Kemp attempting to run to first.

When Torrealba went for the ball, he appeared to push Kemp out of his way. Kemp stopped, then shoved him backward with his forearm. Torrealba responded by throwing a punch, and the players quickly ended up on the ground as both dugouts emptied onto the field but, as with most baseball fights, there was more milling about than fighting.

After the little skirmish both participants were given the night off and neither of them were particularly happy with what happened.

After the game, Kemp, despite the fact he was showered, dressed and ready to leave, made a point of waiting for the reporters. "I'm not used to acting in that way. It's not in my character. It was out of frustration. We were losing the game and it was stupid -— really stupid. It was not a good decision on my part. But it happened, and we have to deal with whatever happens after it."

Torrealba was more than happy to talk about Francis' pitching, but not the fracas with Kemp. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle did, however.

"Basically, he just took a stand. He wasn't going to get pushed around— plain and simple," Hurdle said. "I think if you've played this game for a while, if somebody pushes you in front of 38,000 people … I think he acted pretty appropriately."

Jeff Kent supported Kemp, putting a positive spin on it and how it will help the three-year veteran in the long run.

"All of us in here, whether we're winning or losing, everybody's backing each other on their decisions," Kent said. "I think it was frustration because of the inconsistencies on our team.

"I mean, guys are able to have a great day one day, and the next day they can't figure it out. So that breeds frustration, it breeds anger, it breeds depression, and no doubt those are some of the things that inexperienced players learn to deal with over time."

Dodgers manager Joe Torre also thought Torrealba was trying to make a play on the ball. "It's the heat of the game; you're passionate about what you do, and we've been struggling lately. I think it all played a part in, actually, both sides." Torre said. "I don't think anything was done purposely, I think it was just in an effort to get to the ball. There's no question it was more frustration had to do with that than anything else."

Elbert Back In Action
Lefthander Scott Elbert, the Dodgers' first-round pick in the 2004 draft is one of the organization's most prized pitching prospects who missed almost all of last season and the first two months of this one after undergoing major shoulder surgery last spring.

He has been moved from extended spring training camp to Jacksonville. To make room for him on the Suns' roster, the Dodgers released Rick Asadoorian, a journeyman minor-league who was in big-league camp this year.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Injured infielder Nomar Garciaparra, who has undergone tests for compartment syndrome, a condition in which pressure within a muscle group gets too high and reduces circulation, said one reason the problem has been so tough to detect is it only seems to appear when he's performing physical activity. "I don't have any problems when I'm at rest. It happens when I'm active," he said. "It's obviously something creating it while I'm running." Garciaparra, who was out three weeks because of a strained left calf last summer, went on the disabled list April 26 with another strain in the same area. Since signing with the Dodgers before the 2006 season Garciaparra, 34, has spent about a quarter of his time -- 107 days -- on the disabled list because of a strained rib muscle, a sprained knee, two calf strains and a fractured thumb. ...Penny's balk was only the sixth of his career and his first since the 2003 season, when he had four with Florida. ...Catcher Russell Martin, chosen by the fans to be the National League's starting catcher in last summer's All-Star game, ranks a distant fourth in the second week of voting this year. Chicago Cubs rookie Geovany Soto leads all catchers in the balloting with nearly 600,000 votes, more than twice as many as Martin. No other Dodger ranks in the top five. ...Torre said Jason Schmidt, who was hit in the calf by a comebacker in the second inning of Saturday's rehab start for Class A Inland Empire, must wait at least seven days before making a return to the minors. At that point, the clock on his maximum-allowed 30-day rehab stint will restart where it left off, with 10 days remaining. ...Injured shortstop Rafael Furcal (strained lower back) continued throwing and hitting in the cage on Tuesday.