Don't Look Back; the Giants Are Gaining

The Dodgers bussed down to San Diego and won the first game of the series 7-2 and everyone hoped that the Curse of Death Valley was over. Not so. The Padres allowed only one run over the last two games, capping things off with a 9-0 shellacking and sent L.A. out of town and looking over their shoulders at the Giants who are only 1 1/2 games behind them.

Los Angeles plays Detroit tonight and, as you all know, since it is Friday the 13th one shudders to think what might happen.

The Dodgers were hoping that Jake Peavy would delay his return from the disabled list for one more day, but that didn't happen and the Cy Young Award winner held them to three hits over his six innings of work and three other Padres pitchers were equally as stingy. He is 12-1 against his cousins from up north and has a 2.21 earned run average in those games.

Peavy (5-3) had been sidelined with a strained right elbow since he lost his last outing on May 14, an 8-5 decision at Chicago. But the effects of the layoff were not apparent.

Los Angeles has scored one run or less in 11 of their last 20 games this season, and have recorded 14 of them after Rafael Furcal's bad back sent him to the disabled list.

The club hasn't won a series since early May and those footsteps you hear and the Giants breathing down their necks.

Of course, in addition to Furcal, Andruw Jones, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent (day off) and Matt Kemp (serving suspension) were unavailable

Peavy downplayed his performance to the embarrassment of the Dodgers. "I didn't have one," he said when asked what his best pitch was. "I was able to locate the fastball once in a while. Basically, I just changed speeds. I was not very good, but I'll get better." If he does, we can only hope the Dodgers aren't on the schedule that day.

On the other side of the field, L.A. starter Hiroki Kuroda, coming off the club's first complete-game shutout since 2005, nearly didn't make it out of the first inning. The first six Padres reached base and he allowed two home runs and five runs, getting the hook after walking in a sixth run in the third.

Oddly enough, over Kuroda's last two starts with Russell Martin behind the plate, He is 0-2 with a 21.60 ERA. In his past two starts with Ardoin catching, Kuroda is 1-1 with a 0.59. Go figure.

Veteran Jeff Kent continues to feel the team will shake this off and get back into the race. "You use the words, 'urgency' and 'must-win,' but I don't think it's fair to use them until we get to September," he said. "I've been on teams that were far worse than we're at now. The frustration lies within ourselves, only because we have the capacity to play great baseball.

"One or two [injured] guys should not make or break a season. If we keep pointing fingers to those guys, it's not fair. We're running on false hope. Good teams don't rely on guys not able to play. Throughout my entire career, in frustrating situations, you have to keep the faith. You have to keep believing. You have to maintain the belief you're good enough to win."

Hopefully, someone is listening.

Loney led the attack, such as it was, with a single and a double.

After Pierre's single in the first, he moved to second on a ground out and stole third with one out. But Peavy struck out Andre Ethier and got Russell Martin on a fly ball.

Loney led off the fifth with a double. But Peavy retired the next three hitters, including Luis Maza on strikes for the final out.

The Dodgers have lost 14 of their last 20 games, have slipped four games under .500 and hit the road to play Detroit three games starting tonight.

Starters for the series with the Tigers:
Friday- RHP Derek Lowe (4-5, 4.15) vs. RHP Armando Galarraga (5-2, 3.70)
Saturday - RHP Brad Penny (5-8, 5.38) vs, TBA
Sunday - LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 4.50) vs. LHP Nate Robertson (3-6, 6.03)
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 000-0	
San Diego	501 000 12x-9

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	4  0  1  0  .282
Young lf	4  0  1  0  .288
Ethier rf	4  0  0  0  .288
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .314
Loney 1b	3  0  2  0  .289
DeWitt 3b	3  0  0  0  .281
Berroa ss	3  0  0  0  .167
Maza 2b	        3  0  1  0  .239
Kuroda p	1  0  0  0  .087
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 LaRoche ph	1  0  0  0  .333
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .286	 
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .125	
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	32 0  5 0
  San Diego	34 9 12 9

 2b hits- Loney (12). SB- Pierre (25).
LOB- Los Angeles 5, San Diego 6. DP-
Park, Martin and Loney; Maza and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda	        2.1  5  6-6  4  2  4.04
Park	        2.2  1  0-0  0  1  1.96
Kuo	        2.0  2  1-1  0  5  2.01
Proctor	        1.0  4  2-2  0  0  5.72
 HBP- by Kuroda. T- 2:38. Att- 39. 354.
Who Took the Gnome?
Ken Gurnick of reports on the Dodgers missing good luck gnome.

"The gnome is gnowhere to be seen.

"The FBI has yet to be called in, but the Dodgers can't find their good-luck charm, not that the little fellow has been all that lucky, what with the team struggling as it has.

"Nonetheless, it looks like a gnome-gnapping. The porcelain mascot that is taken down to the bullpen each day by rookie Cory Wade made it back to the clubhouse after Sunday's homestand finale, but never arrived in San Diego, where the Dodgers lost two of three. It didn't turn up after a search of the clubhouse at Dodger Stadium either.

"Nobody knows what happened to it," said reliever Joe Beimel. "We've been looking for it, but it just disappeared. It's usually in the cooler. It was in the bullpen and it got back to the clubhouse, but that's the last time anybody saw it."

Watch for more information on the next "Without a Trace."

Rumor Central
According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal the Los Angeles Dodgers could include Matt Kemp in a package of players to land just about any player on the trade market.

Though the Dodgers have been fairly conservative when it comes to dealing their young players, they have admitted privately that they would be willing to break up their young core if it lead to a significant improvement of the team.

Pittsburgh's Jason Bay, Detroit's Magglio Ordonez and Colorado's Matt Holliday could be potential trade targets for the Dodgers.

**M*A*S*H* 4077 Report
With nearly as many regulars on the disabled list than on the field, here is Hawkeye Pierce's report on the wounded.

Rumors have it that the Dodgers have told Rafael Furcal to cease all baseball activities, raising the possibility his recovery from a back injury could extend well into July.

The Dodgers officially list the injury as soreness in the lower back, but Torre confirmed the specific diagnosis is a bulging disk. Dr. Robert Watkins, the back specialist who examined Furcal this week, advised the Dodgers to halt Furcal's baseball activities and limit his workouts to conditioning and strengthening exercises.

"The strength needs to be at a higher level to protect him long-term," Dodgers athletic trainer Stan Conte said.

Nomar Garciaparra can be activated June 25, and likely will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment next week, while the club continues a three-city road trip. Garciaparra will play shortstop during the rehab.

Andruw Jones might be back sooner than expected. The center fielder said his right knee was "only a little sore" after shagging flies 15 days after surgery to repair a slight cartilage tear. Jones said he already feels a difference while batting.

"I can sit more on my back leg," he said. "Before, it was collapsing from pain or whatever. Now I can wait for the ball. I'm looking at a lot of tapes and I can see what I was doing wrong."

His ETA is about three weeks.

Jason Schmidt continued to play catch and might resume his rehab assignment next week.

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