L.A. Rally Comes Up One Run Shy

The Dodgers mounted a furious rally in the top of the ninth inning, scoring twice and putting runners at first and third before the Diamondbacks got the final out, a 3-2 win and first place all by themselves. The two clubs meet again today and a Dodger win would again put them in a dead tie.

Trailing throughout the game, Los Angeles awakened in the top of the ninth inning, scoring twice and putting the tying and potential winning run on base only to come up short.

Jeff Kent slammed his 10th homer to lead off after blisterng two shots into the third baseman's glove earlier in the game. "He couldn't play me out there," Kent told Torre when he returned to the dugout.

Nomar Garciaparra flew to deep left, James Loney singled and scored on a double by Delwyn Young that would have been a home run in any other park, except, perhaps Yellowstone. It bounced at the 413 mark in right center and DY got a "only" a double.

Blake DeWitt bounced out before pinch-hitter Andruw Jones walked and with runners on first and third, Matt Kemp flied to right center to end the game and drop the Dodgers back into second place.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers caught Dan Haren in the middle of a hot streak. After working two innngs in the All-Star Game and fighting a bit of the flu, he scattered four hits, fanned seven, lowered is ERA to 2.58 and didn't allow a run. Over the past nine games and 63 innings, he has struck out 59 and has a 1.29 earned run average.

"He's been phenomenal for the better part of two months," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "I'm not sure there is a better pitcher in baseball right now."

And in the background there arose a loud "Amen" from the Dodgers.

Dodger starter Chad Billingsley battled all night, giving up seven hits and three runs in 5.2 innings. From the opening gun, when he allowed a one-out home run to Conor Jackson and consecutive doubles by Orlando Hudson (on a ball that Young misjudged) and Chad Tracy to trail 2-0, he struggled but kept the game close.

"Pretty much the whole game except the last two innings, I was battling my timing," Billingsley said. "Everythng was just off. I was pretty much fighting myself the whoe game."

Los Angeles had one legitimate shot at Harren when Billingsley and Kemp singled to lead off the third inning. Andre Ethier fanned and Russ Martin, locked in a batting slump, hit into a double play.

The Dodgers left eight on base, five of them in scoring position.

Patience will be the password in the final game of the series that features a pair of pitchers who will allow you to hit the ball but only a pitch they want you to hit. Free swingers will have trouble with both Derek Lowe and Brandon Webb.

Lowe (7-8, 3.85 ERA) gets the call and is delighted to miss a start at Coors Field, where he has had little success. He was perfect over 6.2 innings against Atlanta in his last start and over the previous 10 starts he has lowered his earned run average from 5.4 to 3.85. However, he will be pitching with 10 days rest, and it is hard to tell how that will effect him. ?

Webb (13-4, 3.23 ERA) is 9-2 with a 2.61 ERA when pitching on at least six days of rest, and is 9-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 14 starts against the Dodgers lifetime.

 Score by inninngs
Los Angeles	000 000 002-2
Arizona	        200 100 00x-3		

 Los Angeles	ab r  bi  ave
Kemp cf	        5  0  2  0  .287
Ethier rf	4  0  0  0  .281
Martin c	3  0  0  0  .293
Kent 2b	        4  1  1  1  .250
Garciaparra ss	4  0  1  0  .250
Loney 1b	3  1  1  0  .291
Young lf	4  0  2  1  .257
DeWitt 3b	4  0  0  0  .258
Billingsley p	2  0  1  0  .081
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 LaRoche ph	1  0  0  0  .174
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Jones cf	0  0  0  0  .162
  Totals	34 2 8 2
  Arizona	31 3 8 3

  2b hit- Young (17). HR- Kent (10).
RBI- Kent (41), Young (6). LOB- Los
Angeles 8, Arizona 7. DP- Garciaparra,
Kent and Loney; Loney, Garciaparra and

 Los Angeles	    in  h  r-er bb so  era
Beillingsley (9-9) 7.2  7  3-3  3  5  3.32
Beimel        	   1.1  1  0-0  0  0  1.50
Wade        	   1.0  0  0-0  0  1  2.43
 PB- Martin. T- 2:48. Att- 41.458.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Brad Penny felt fine after throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled to throw another on Tuesday. ... Friday's 11-inning contest was Los Angeles' fifth straight extra-inning game in which the team has played 11 innings, the first time that has happened in franchise history. The last time five consecutive Dodgers extra-inning games went more 10 frames occurred from May 13-Aug. 3, 2002. ...Second baseman Jeff Kent drove in the 1,500th run of his career with his homer in the ninth. ...Chad Billingsley recorded his first hit since May 20 on Saturday, scuffing a ball down the third base line on which Haren could not make a play. ...The Dodgers used a season-high 20 players in the first game of the series. ...Injuries have troubled the Dodgers mightilly all season long. Penny has missed 30 games and Kuroda 17. Saito will be out for another five weeks. Rafael Furcal and center fielder missed a total of 76 games and Juan Pierre is still out but expected to return sometime in the next two weeks or so, at the present missed 16 games and counting. Torry said it doesn't do any good to wonder about what might have been had they all stayed healthy. "I never do that," he said. "It's just a bad habit to get into to think about it, because if you think about it, you talk about it. And the more you talk about it, the more your players hear about it, and all of a sudden, it becomes tough to win." ...GM Ned Colletti is still looking for a shortstop but the price price is extremely high. Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson, Washington's Cristian Guzman and Toronto's David Eckstein are the three most mentioned in rumors. Colletti said he'd like to add an offensive third baseman, a position that's currently handled by Blake DeWitt, backed up by fellow rookie Andy LaRoche. ...Shortstop Chin-lung Hu was activated from the disabled list at Las Vegas, and former Giants pitcher Jerome Williams was activated from at Inland Empire and left-handed pitcher Eric Cyr was promoted from Jacksonville to the 51s.