L.A. rules on road, returns home to loss

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Despite being down by six runs, the Los Angeles Dodgers felt they could stage yet another incredible rally.
Shawn Estes could feel it, too.

Shawn Green homered with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday
night, and Los Angeles got the potential tying run to second before
the Colorado Rockies held on for a 6-5 victory that snapped the
Dodgers' eight-game winning streak.

Estes (10-4) won for the fourth time in five decisions and
improved to 5-0 in nine starts this year against NL West teams.
Three of those wins have come against the division-leading Dodgers,
who returned from a six-game road trip to Arizona and Houston and
lost for only the second time in 16 games.

"I knew they came in hot, so what you have to do is execute
pitches and see what happens," Estes said. "I had some success
against them in the first month of the season, but they're a
different ballclub now.

"There's a lot of energy over there and they believe they can
win any game, regardless of how much they get down. I could really
sense that on the mound. I felt that all they needed was a little
bit of a spark, and they got that in the sixth inning. It was all I
could do to keep it 6-4."

The Dodgers, who came from behind in all six games on their road
trip, closed within two with a solo homer by Jose Hernandez in the
fourth and three runs in the sixth.

Hernandez doubled home one, Milton Bradley had an RBI groundout
and Adrian Beltre hit a sacrifice fly -- which would have been a
two-run homer if not for a leaping grab at the fence by left
fielder Jeromy Burnitz.

Steve Reed relieved Estes with one out and two on in the seventh
after Paul Lo Duca was sent up to pinch-hit for Darren Dreifort. Lo
Duca, in his second at-bat as a pinch-hitter this season, grounded
into an inning-ending double play on the first pitch.

Reed pitched a perfect eighth, and Shawn Chacon got three outs
for his 21st save in 28 chances. Chacon gave up Green's 13th homer
before retiring pinch-hitter Robin Ventura with a runner on second.

"The sign of a good team is that you're never out of it,"
Dodgers catcher David Ross said. "I know that when Hernandez hit
that home run, it was like, `Here we come.' So nobody was packing
it in. We can feel it in the dugout, and they can feel it. If you
give us a little time, we're going to get some runs."

One night after watching teammate Jason Jennings give up a
franchise-worst 15 hits in a 9-7 loss to San Diego, Estes allowed
four runs on five hits and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings after
limiting San Francisco to one run in a season-high eight innings
last Friday.

The left-hander, who won 19 games for San Francisco in 1997,
pitched for three other teams during the previous two seasons and
won only 13 games combined. He made the Colorado roster out of
spring training as a non-roster invitee, and ended up starting the
season opener.

"I felt like I had a lot left in me, and I feel my best is yet
to come," Estes said. "I took the offseason very seriously, and I
knew that I was going to be able to contribute to any ballclub that
gave me a chance. I owe a lot to the Rockies organization -- not
only for doing that, but for letting me pitch on opening day."

Dodgers lefty Kazuhisa Ishii (11-5) allowed six runs, seven hits
and three walks over 3 1/3 innings in his second-shortest outing
this season.

Ishii nearly escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the first --
and he would have had he covered first base on Larry Walker's
potential inning-ending double-play grounder to Green. But
shortstop Cesar Izturis didn't have anyone to make the relay throw
to, and Aaron Miles scored. Preston Wilson, who entered 3-for-21
lifetime against Ishii, then singled home Royce Clayton.

The first inning was much different for Estes, who retired the
side in order on just four pitches. He set down his first 11
batters and allowed only one ball out of the infield during the
first four innings -- Hernandez's sixth homer.

Vinny Castilla made it 3-0 in the third with his 17th homer and
fourth this season against Los Angeles. The Rockies' third baseman,
whose 77 RBI rank second in the NL behind major league leader
Scott Rolen, has driven in one more run than he did all of last

Colorado scored three in the fourth, and no one hit a ball out
of the infield. Ishii forced in a run with a walk to Miles and was
replaced by Duaner Sanchez. Charles Johnson scored on Clayton's
groundout, and Estes came home on Sanchez's wild pitch, increasing
the Rockies' lead to 6-0.

Game notes
Castilla's 51 extra-base hits are second in the NL behind
Albert Pujols and Jim Thome, who have 54. ... Dodgers LHP Wilson
Alvarez will get another start Saturday in place of injured rookie
Edwin Jackson.