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Dodgers get routed, lose ground in playoff chase

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers couldn't have asked
for a better start. But after that, they were finished.

So now, they're going to need a little help to reach the
postseason.

Miguel Batista overcame a shaky start to pitch eight strong
innings for his first win since Aug. 9, Eric Byrnes had four hits,
and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the fading Dodgers 9-3 Saturday
night.

The loss was the Dodgers' 12th in their last 20 games, dropping
them 1½ games behind the NL West-leading San Diego Padres and a
half-game behind Philadelphia in the wild-card race. The Padres
beat Pittsburgh 2-1 and the Phillies topped Florida 8-6 earlier
Saturday.

The Dodgers have seven games left; the Padres and Phillies each
have eight to play.

"We got outpitched, outhit and outscored," Dodgers manager
Grady Little said. "It was a bad game all around. Right now, we'll
be doing a little more scoreboard watching."

Rookies Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin had three hits and two
RBI each, and Byrnes also drove in two runs for the Diamondbacks,
who collected 17 hits while winning for just the fourth time in
their last 18 road games.

"These are big, important games that we're playing in," Byrnes
said. "And for all these young guys in here, I think they're
getting a real taste of playoff-atmosphere baseball."

Four of the first five batters hit safely to give the Dodgers a
3-0 lead, but Batista (11-7) settled down after that, blanking Los
Angeles on two hits -- none after the fourth. He walked three,
struck out one and threw 101 pitches. Jose Valverde worked a
scoreless ninth.

"He kept the ball down, they played really good defense behind
him," Dodgers outfielder Marlon Anderson said. "He did what he
was supposed to do. It was a tough night for us."

Batista, a 35-year-old right-hander who matched a personal
single-season high in wins, went 0-2 with five no-decisions and a
3.13 ERA in his previous seven starts.

Rafael Furcal and Kenny Lofton singled to begin the Dodgers'
first, and Nomar Garciaparra followed with a two-run double. One
out later, J.D. Drew doubled to drive in Garciaparra.

Brad Penny (16-9), tied for the NL lead in wins, couldn't hold
the lead, giving up nine hits and five runs, four earned, in a
shaky five innings. He walked one, struck out seven and threw 107
pitches.

"I know the game was extremely important for them, but it also
was for me because I haven't won a game in almost two months,"
Batista said. "I was missing my location in the first inning, and
that's what got me in trouble."

Arizona tied it in the second with a little help. Chad Tracy
struck out to start the inning, but reached base on catcher Russell
Martin's passed ball. Jackson followed with an RBI double, and one
out later, Quentin hit his eighth homer.

"The one mistake I made was the home run," Penny said. "It
was a curveball. I should have just walked him, faced the
pitcher."

Penny had an explanation for Martin's passed ball.

"It wasn't really Russell's fault," Penny said. "I took a
little off and threw a two-seamer. Russell thought a four-seamer
was coming. Nine times out of 10, that inning doesn't happen that
way."

Arizona went ahead for good in the third on Johnny Estrada's RBI
single, and made it 5-3 in the fourth when shortstop Furcal
mishandled a bases-loaded grounder hit by Luis Gonzalez, who got an
RBI on the play.

The Diamondbacks got another run in the seventh on a one-out,
RBI single by Jackson after pinch runner Craig Counsell stole
second and took third on Martin's throwing error.

The Diamondbacks scored three times in the ninth on an RBI
single by Stephen Drew against Elmer Dessens and a two-run single
by Byrnes off Giovanni Carrara.

Game notes
Penny tied a major league record by striking out four
batters in the second. He became the fourth Dodgers pitcher to
accomplish the feat, joining Pete Richert (1962), Don Drysdale
(1965) and Darren Dreifort (2003). ... Little said RHP Greg Maddux
and RHP Derek Lowe will probably start the final two games of the
season next weekend on three days' rest if the postseason race is
undecided. "If it's still tight, and I'm sure it will be, that's
what we're looking at," Little said. ... The Diamondbacks are 2-7
at Dodger Stadium entering Sunday's finale of the three-game series
-- the last home game for the Dodgers this season. They were 6-3
against Los Angeles in Phoenix. ... Little said Garciaparra (sore
left quad) and Jeff Kent (sore left oblique muscle) will probably
start every game the rest of the way despite their ailments.