09/14/2002 02:39 am ET
Dodgers silent after latest loss
By Allison Ann Otto / Special to MLB.com
DENVER -- The Dodgers clubhouse was hushed Friday night. The few
remaining players who hadn't vacated the premises dressed quickly and spoke in
Los Angeles (83-64) had just lost 5-4 to the Colorado Rockies and for the second
night in a row, they were thwarted in their attempt to gain ground on the San
Francisco Giants in the National League Wild Card race. In fact, they fell a
game back as the Giants defeated the San Diego Padres, 10-3.
Until the seventh inning, the Dodgers appeared to be on the brink of pocketing a
win with a 4-2 lead.
But then it all unraveled faster than the respectability of Christina Aguilera's
Juan Uribe led off with an infield single, which likely would have been a
groundout to short but for the fact that reliever Guillermo Mota unfortunately
attempted to stab it. Three batters and one out later, Brent Butler hit an RBI
single to center with runners at the corners. Marquis Grissom committed a
fielding error on the ball out in center field and Juan Pierre crossed the plate
to tie the game.
Jesse Orosco, who relieved Mota, induced Larry Walker into popping out. Then,
Dodgers manager Jim Tracy told Orosco to intentionally walk the hot-hitting Todd
Helton and load the bases. Tracy next called upon reliever Paul Shuey, who
worked the count full on pinch-hitter Greg Norton and missed wide on the sixth
pitch to walk in Jason Romano for the go-ahead run.
"We did everything we could once Butler got the hit to keep the game at 4-4,"
Tracy said. "Once Jesse did the job he did on Walker I chose not to let Helton beat us. I wasn't going to send our ball club home tonight knowing
that we gave Helton a chance to beat us. Had I had it to do over again I
wouldn't do it any differently."
In just his second career start, Kevin Beirne kept the Dodgers afloat with 5 1/3
solid innings, in which he held the Rockies to just two earned runs.
But an infield single by Eric Karros aside, the Dodgers failed to muster any
rallying offense in the ninth against closer Jose Jimenez, who picked up his
39th save of the season.
"To see it all fall apart in the seventh inning was really frustrating," said
outfielder Brian Jordan, who was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the first. "We
gave a free pass and it cost us."
Allison Ann Otto is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject
to approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.