Makeshift Lineup Blows Game to Rockies

Five costly errors that handed Colorado a 4-3 victory and handed Arizona a two-game lead threw a wet blanket over the Dodgers' pennant celebration. Manager Joe Torre started Dan Ardoin behind the plate, Russell Martin at third and Casey Blake at first and the trio made four errors. A fifth error is credited to Torre for the strange and ultimately unsuccessful move.

The lineup switch saw Martin making his eighth start at third base, Ardoin his 12th behind the plate and third baseman Blake his second at first. The convoluted move came because Loney was 1-for-15 against against starter Jeff Francis.

Doug Padilla of the Los Angeles Daily News wrote, "The Dodgers rearranged the room and then stumbled all over the furniture."

The whole plan blew up in Torre's face as did closer Jonathan Broxton who hit Matt Holliday leading off the ninth with the score tied 3-3. Holliday stole second, moved to third on Ardoin's wild throw and scored when Brad Hawpe knocked in his third run of he game.

"We gave away too much. We gave them too many outs," Torre said. "You can't be giving up the outs that we gave them, especially a ballclub that can beat you up offensively."

Starter Chad Billingsley allowed only five hits and a pair of runs, striking out six in his six innings. He left with a 3-2 lead but Martin's throwing error, his second of the game, set up the tieing and unearned run.

In the fifth, Francis doubled, Omar Quintanilla walked and Willie Taveras loaded the bases with a bunt. Martin forced Francis at home but Blake fumbled a slow grounder eliminated a chance for another force at the plate and the tying run scored.

Martin then started a double play to end the inning. Martin committed throwing errors in the sixth and seventh, pulling Blake off first both times. The second miscue preceded a broken-bat single by Holliday and an RBI single by Hawpe. They were Martin's 11th and 12th errors, three at third base.

But Torre said, "I have a problem with the errors, but I don't have any problem with the comfort of watching them out there. I'm very comfortable watching those guys play those positions, and we'll do it again when we think the situation calls for it."

Making just his third start since Aug. 8, Juan Pierre opened the bottom of the first with a single, a stolen base (#38) and a run scored when Matt Kemp singled to put the Dodgers on top.

Francis allowed three runs but two of them were unearned when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki let a grounder get by him in the second inning, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. Tulowitzki hit his fifth homer in the fourth.

Manny Ramirez was 1-for-4, making you wonder if he is out of Kryptonite or if he is really human.

The Dodgers fall to 64-62 with the costly loss and are now two games behind the Diamondbacks, the largest deficit they have faced in two weeks.

Derek Lowe draws tonight's crucial start. Lowe and newly acquired Greg Maddux are close friends and Lowe credits him with helping him understand how to attack hitters while Maddux was with the Dodgers in 2006.

However, Lowe has not needed help in his past six starts at home, compiling a 1.70 ERA in those outings, although he has only three wins to show for it because his traditionally lack of run support.

He'll attempt to slow down the Rockies who have won five in a row and are showing signs of life despite being 10 games under .500, a year after running off 13 wins in their last 14 regular-season games (seven against the Dodgers) to sneak into the playoffs and ultimately the World Series.

Lowe (9-10, 3.99 ERA) is opposed by LHP Jorge De La Rosa (6-6, 6.16 ERA) who beat the Nationals in his last start, allowing three hits over six innings and struck out seven.

 Score by innings
Colorado	000 110 101-4
Los Angeles	120 000 000-3

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	4  1  1  0  .277
Kemp rf	        4  0  1  1  .301
Kent 2b	        4  0  2  0  .285
Ramirez lf	4  0  1  0  .403
Garciaparra ss	4  1  1  0  .268
Blake 1b	4  0  0  0  .272
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
Martin 3b	4  1  2  0  .291
Ardoin c	4  0  1  0  .235
Billingsley p	1  0  0  0  .080
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .120
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .111
 Loney 1b	1  0  0  0  .290
  Totals	35 3 9 1
  Colorado	35 4 8 4

 Errors- Blake (2), Martin 2 (12), Ardoin (1).
Two base hits- Martin (21). S- Billingsley.
RBI- Kemp (65). SB- Pierre (38), Ardoin (1).
LOB- Los Angeles 6, Colorado 11. DP- Martin,
Ardoin and Blake.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley	6.0  5  2-2  2  4  3.10
Park	        2.0  2  1-0  2  1  2.51
Broxton (3-5)	1-0  1  1-1  0  0  3.69
 HBP- Broxton. T- 3:04. Att- 48,183.
Schmidt Eyes Rehab Start
When Ty Cobb played for Detroit, newspapers were setting type by hand, "throwing it in" or resorting it after each edition. The Detroit Daily News kept one line intact for Tiger games. It was "Ty Cobb singled and stole second."

Were we in the same era, the line "Jason Schmidt is getting ready for another rehab start" would be saved by all the papers in Southern California.

But he reports he'll be able to join Las Vegas sometime next week before that club's season ends on Labor Day. Schmidt has had two Minor League rehab assignments cut short when he experienced discomfort.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, reports the rest of the club's medical news:
Scott Proctor, out since June 22 with right elbow tendinitis, threw a bullpen session and also is targeted for a rehab assignment next week. Cory Wade, out since Aug. 9 with right shoulder irritation, probably will return to the active roster without needing a rehab assignment. Yhency Brazoban, who was rehabbing in the Dominican Republic and pitched for the Dodgers' Summer League club there Monday night, was moved to Las Vegas and pitched a shaky ninth inning for a save. Takashi Saito, out with a sprained ligament in his right elbow, is throwing off flat ground every other day, but there's no guess when, or if, he'll return. Hong-Chih Kuo, roughed up in his last two relief appearances, said he's just had a couple of bad games and there's nothing wrong physically. Andruw Jones, on a Minor League rehab assignment with Las Vegas, missed two games Tuesday and Wednesday after twisting his right knee stepping in a hole on the field, the knee is the one that was surgically repaired during the season. Delwyn Young also is with Las Vegas, still has discomfort from an oblique strain.

Dodger Blue Notes --If you are playing the numbers game, one that really jumps out at you is Mark Sweeney's 9-for-60 (.150) batting average as a pinch hitter. Pitchers Hong-Chih Kuo, Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and Eric Stults are hitting better than Sweeney. ...Francis has allowed 20 first-inning runs in his 20 starts, more than he has in any other inning this season. ... Former Dodger Matt Herges was placed on the 15-day DL by the Rockies, retroactive to Aug. 18, because of lower back stiffness. Matty is 3-4 with a 5.09 ERA in 51 games. ... Los Angeles had won four straight and seven of nine against left-handed starters before losing Wednesday's start by Jeff Francis. ... James Loney figures to be back in the lineup against De La Rosa, as he's 3-for-4 with a double, homer and six RBIs against the left-hander. ...Matt Kemp threw out Ian Stewart at home on Wednesday to give him 13 outfield assists, tying him with Houston's Hunter Pence and Toronto's Alex Rios for the Major League lead. ...Catcher Danny Ardoin stole his second career base. ...Today's contest will be the Dodgers' last home weekday day game of the season. It is Camp Day, with more than 5,000 kids attending the contest. After the game, all children ages 5-14 are welcome on the field for the McDonald's Kids Run the Bases program. ...The Dodgers honored the Chinese American community in a pregame ceremony before game that included traditional Chinese dances and an appearance by the 2008 Olympics mascots from Beijing. Also, Dodgers vice president and assistant general manager Kim Ng was presented with a certificate of recognition from Chinese Chamber of Commerce President Chester Chong and UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow threw out a ceremonial first pitch. ...Fernando Valenzuela hosted 40 kids from the Hollenbeck Police Activities League and the Explorers from the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollenbeck Division before the game as part of his "Amigos de Fernando" community initiative. ..Chad Billingsley hosted 10 children from Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA as part of his "Chad's Champs" community program.