Improbable Game Ends Dodgers Streak

Greg Maddux turned back the clock 10 years, crafting a remarkable game in what was once the Coors Field Shooting Gallery, holding the powerful Colorado team to a pair of singles over seven innings while using only 68 pitches in the effort. Such a performance would result in a victory 95% of the time but long after Greg had left, the Dodgers dropped a 1-0 decision in 10 innings.

However, Cincinnati edged Arizona in 10 innings for the second day in a row, leaving the Dodgers' lead still at 4 1/2 games and dropping the magic number to 10.
Maddux and Aaron Cook, the Rockies's 16-game winner, hooked up in a beautiful pitcher's duel, a rarity in Coors Field. Between them they allowed only three runners to reach scoring position during the first seven innings.

Maddux demonstrated why he has 17 Gold Gloves in the first inning. Leadoff man Dexter Fowler hit a hot grounder up the middle and Maddux scooped up up casually and threw him out. Clint Barmes then hit a line drive directly at Maddux's chest and he stepped aside like a toreador and caught it. Roy Holliday, realizing there was no weakness there, bounced out to third.

That set the stage for the most improbable pitching battle.

Maddux retired the first 13 batters he faced before giving up a ground single between short and third to Garrett Atkins. He then mowed down the next five Rockies's batters and finished the fourth inning having expended only 32 pitches.

He allowed his second, and final, hit to Clint Barmes leading off he seventh. Barmes stole second to become the first Colorado runner of the afternoon to reach second base.

Maddux calmly eliminated the 3-4-5 batters in the lineup -- Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe and Atkins -- on a pop to second, a foul out to third and a ground ball to third base.

The Dodgers had bad luck in the second inning. They banged out three singles but double play after the first hit kept the game scoreless. Casey Blake singled to center, Blake DeWitt bounced into a double play and them Angel Berroa and Danny Ardoin singled.

The Dodgers didn't get another runner to second base until the eighth inning when Delwyn Young, hitting for Maddux, singled and Juan Pierre grounded a single into right field. Matt Kemp bounced out to eliminate the Dodgers last threat.

The final seven Dodgers went out in order, save for a walk to Nomar Garciaparra, who came into the game when Blake left with a stiff lower back.

Maddux finished his day having allowed three singles and striking out three over seven innings. With his pitch count so remarkably low (68) he could have gone another inning or so but manager Joe Torre, hoping to get something started decided to pinch hit for him.

Maddux didn't issue a free pass and left the game with 999 career walks. He is one of five pitchers in Major League history with 3,000 or more strikeouts and less than 1,000 bases on balls. The others are Ferguson Jenkins (3,192/997), Curt Schilling (3,116/711), Pedro Martinez (3,097/741 and John Smoltz (3,011/992).

  Maddux is now just 2.2 innings short of becoming the 13th pitcher in Major League history to register 5,000 innings. The last active pitchers to top that mark were Gaylord Perry and Nolan Ryan, both of whom retired after the 1993 season.

Cory Wade worked a scoreless eighth and ninth, retiring six batters in a row and then turned the game over to Hong-Chih Kuo (5-3). The lefthander, who has had 10 days off due to a tired arm, gave up a sharp single to Holiday, struck out Hawpe, then saw a ground ball bounce just out of the reach of shortstop Berroa.

A high pop fell into center field between Pierre and a diving Kemp to load the bases before Troy Tulowitzki lined a 0-2 pitch that landed just inside the right field line to end things.

Colorado put on a dazzling display on defense during the game, making four remarkable plays to take hits away from Kemp and Manny Ramirez, and turning two double plays.

Manny Ramirez singled in the first but was erased on a double play. He then struck out twice and bounced out. Kemp singled in the sixth but was thrown out stealing second on a very close play.

Since the Reds beat Arizona (again) in 10 innings, the Dodgers left after the game for Pittsburgh and a four-game series with a not-so-bad Pirate team still holding a 4 1/2 game lead. The pitching matchups:

Monday, RHP Hiroki Kuroda (8-10, 3.93) vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf (0-1, 8.10)
Tuesday, RHP Derek Lowe (13-11, 3.48) vs. RHP Jeff Karstens (2-5, 4.46)
Wednesday, RHP Chad Billingsley (15-10, 3.02) vs. LHP Zach Duke (5-14, 4.84)
Thursday, LHP Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 4.41) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (9-8, 3.68)       

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 000 0-0
Colorado	000 000 000 1-1

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	4  0  1  0  .269
Kemp rf	        4  0  1  0  .285
Ramirez lf	4  0  1  0  .385
Loney 1b	4  0  0  0  .297
Blake 3b	2  0  1  0  .259
 Garciaparra 3b	1  0  0  0  .236
DeWitt 2b	4  0  0  0  .262
Ardoin c	4  0  2  0  .243
 Martin ph-c	2  0  1  0  .244
Maddux p	2  0  0  0  .115
 Young ph	2  0  0  0  .252
 Repko pr	1  0  1  0  .252
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .128
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .250
  Totals	35 0 8 0
  Colorado	34 1 6 1

 CS- Kemp (10). LOB- Los Angeles 6, Colorado 5. 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Maddux	        7.0  2  0-0  0  3  4.08
Wade	        2.0  0  0-0  0  1  2.25
Kuo (5-3)	0.1  4  1-1  0  1  2.14
 T- 2:28. Att- 28,910.
Beltré Says He'd Come Back
Rumors persist that Casey Blake wants to return to the Cleveland Indians and if that is the case, there is an old friend who says he would be delighted to make a second appearance in Dodger Blue.

Adrian Beltré still has a home in Pasadena. He's 29, with one year left on his contract with the Mariners, at $12 million. Seattle doesn't give anyone away, so it would take a trade to get the third baseman back.

Beltré had a career year with the Dodgers in 2004, when he hit .334 with 48 home runs. He was hitting .270 with 25 homers with Seattle, despite playing all season with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He has three consecutive 25-homer seasons, a feat last accomplished for the Dodgers by Gary Sheffield, and Beltré remains a Gold Glove defender.

The Dodgers have weakened the depth of their farm system by trading six prospects for Blake, Manny Ramirez and Greg Maddux, although there has been no announcement which players to be named later San Diego will receive for Greg.

Beltré wouldn't mind staying in Seattle, but if the Mariners decide to rebuild, Adrian says he would love to come back to the Dodgers.

"If I'm available, I'd be happy to," he said. "I don't know what is going to happen. But it's not under my control."

Dodger Blue Notes-- Matt Kemp leads the team with 37 doubles, ranks second with 16 homers, second with 33 stolen bases and tied for second with 71 RBI. However, he now has 144 strikeouts on the season, which leaves him five shy of Billy Grabarkewitz's single-season franchise mark of 149 in 1970. Cory Snyder currently ranks second all-time with 147 in 1993. ...Looking ahead, the Giants' ace Tim Lincecum, now 17-3 and leading he league in strikeouts, hasn't started against the Dodgers this season, and it appears he won't face them next weekend either. There is a chance, however, if the final game of the season between the two old rivals mean something, or if he has 19 wins, he could start on short rest to reach the magic number 20.

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