<
>

Rockies fail to score any more

8/30/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jay Payton did his best to spoil Kevin Brown's night with a pair of two-run homers. The Los Angeles Dodgers' offense wouldn't let him.

Adrian Beltre hit a tiebreaking homer after Ron Coomer evened
the score with a solo shot as the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 Friday night to remain 1½ games back in the NL
wild-card race.

Brown (13-7) struck out nine over seven innings and allowed four
runs on just three hits. He is tied with San Francisco's Jason Schmidt for the major league ERA lead at 2.26.

It was only the second time in his last 23 starts that the
All-Star right-hander gave up more than three earned runs -- but it was the
second time in five outings he allowed two homers to the same
batter. Sammy Sosa did it Aug. 10 at Dodger Stadium in a 3-1 win by
the Chicago Cubs.

"If I could have made better pitches with two strikes against
Payton, it would have been a lot easier ballgame for everybody,"
Brown said. "But the guys did a great job of battling back and
putting some runs on the board. It's nice to be able to make some
mistakes and still win the game."

Paul Quantrill pitched a scoreless eighth, and Eric Gagne got
three outs for his 45th save without a miss this year and his 53rd over
two seasons -- one short of the major league record set by Boston's
Tom Gordon from 1998 to 1999.

Gagne allowed a leadoff single in the ninth by Todd Helton, then
struck out Preston Wilson, Larry Walker and Payton in succession.

"It's cool that he's got that streak going, but I'd like it to
be broken while we're here -- actually, I'd like to have the lead
when we go into that inning," Helton said. "His options on the
mound are not, 'What pitch do I need to throw to strike this guy
out?' It's, 'What pitch do I want to throw?' I mean, he can just
take his pick and throw it."

Gagne took over the major league lead in saves from Atlanta's
John Smoltz, who is on the disabled list with a tender elbow.

The Dodgers, whose 92 homers are the fewest in the majors, tied
the score at 4-all when Coomer drove Cory Vance's first pitch of the
fourth inning into the lower seats in the right-field corner. It
was his second homer this season and his first since June 20.

Beltre, who leads the majors with 25 RBI this month, put the
Dodgers ahead 5-4 with a two-out homer in the fifth off Vance. It
was his 16th of the season and his 10th since the All-Star break.

Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy was ejected in the sixth inning
after a heated argument with first base umpire Mark Wegner, who
ruled that Rickey Henderson's bases-loaded line drive landed inches
foul of the right-field line.

TV replays showed Wegner was right, but reliever Adam Bernero
walked Henderson to force in the Dodgers' sixth run.

"That at-bat was something we've been striving for all year and
haven't been able to get -- the knockout punch," Tracy said. "And
if that ball is fair, all three runs are going to score."

Payton, hitting .365 since the All-Star break, opened the
scoring in the second with a drive just over the left-field fence
after a one-out walk to Walker. Two innings later, Walker singled
with two outs and Payton followed with a shot to right-center on an
0-2 pitch for his 22nd homer and fifth in six games.

It was the third career two-homer game for Payton, who had never
hit more than 17 home runs in any of his three previous full
seasons in the big leagues.

"I got some pitches to hit, and fortunately I didn't miss
them," Payton said.

Walker got on in front of Payton again in the seventh, drawing a
two-out walk. But Payton grounded into his 19th double play.

Cesar Izturis drove in Jolbert Cabrera from first base with a
third-inning double -- his ninth hit in 23 at-bats. The Dodgers
pulled ahead 3-2 in the third with RBI doubles by Shawn Green and
Paul Lo Duca.

Vance (1-1) allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings.
The left-hander made his second big-league start in place of
Chin-hui Tsao, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left
hamstring.

Game notes
Tracy's ejection was his ninth as a manager and his fifth this
season. ... Henderson, one of the best leadoff hitters the game has
ever known, started in the No. 2 hole for the first time since
signing with the Dodgers during the All-Star break. But the crowd
never heard the public-address announcer say, "Batting second,
Rickey Henderson," in the first inning because the P.A. system
went dead for two batters. ... Henderson's stolen base in the third
increased his record career total to 1,406. He is 3-for-3 as a
Dodger. ... The Rockies are 21-48 on the road. The only team worse
is Detroit (18-51).