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[0] DODGERS OFFENSE LETS ANOTHER SOLID OUTING GO TO WASTE : SAN DIEGO 4, DODGERS 1.

Byline: Brian Dohn Staff Writer

The starting pitching, at least for a turn through the abbreviated rotation, performed the way it was supposed to when the Dodgers brass was in front of the chalkboard this spring.

Of course, the early returns are no different than when the staff was inconsistent.

The Dodgers failed in their attempt to win three straight games for the first time in nearly two months. They fell to the San Diego Padres 4-1 in the first of a three-game series before 37,366 Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers (32-36) still haven't won more than two straight since a five-game winning streak April 27 through May 1. San Diego (29-38) has won four straight.

If there is a silver lining, it's that the Dodgers made it through the starting rotation (albeit by skipping Carlos Perez) with four consecutive solid outings for one of the few times this season.

Chan Ho Park pitched seven innings, marking the first time this season starters have thrown a pitch in the seventh for a fifth straight start. The starters - Park, Ismael Valdes, Darren Dreifort and Kevin Brown - have allowed eight runs in their last 34-1/3 innings over four games.

``If we're going to put any kind of run together, which I feel we're capable of doing, it's going to start right there (with the starters),'' Dodgers manager Davey Johnson said.

But the offense also needs to kick in a bit.

Padres starter Sterling Hitchcock (5-6) allowed one run on six hits in 6-2/3 innings before getting relief help. After Trenidad Hubbard and Eric Young singled off Hitchcock with two outs in the seventh, the big out was recorded by Padres reliever Will Cunnane. He got Adrian Beltre to ground to second to end the inning and keep the Padres in front 3-1.

San Diego's Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 16th save, giving him 376 in his Padre career, a team record.

What San Diego's bullpen was able to accomplish, the Dodgers' could not. Mike Maddux began the eight and allowed back-to-back doubles to Quilvio Veras and Eric Owens as the Padres extended their lead to 4-1.

Park (4-5) allowed three runs on five hits despite allowing the Padres' leadoff batter to reach base in his last five innings. But the only thing that hurt Park was a 3-2 pitch to Padres center fielder Ruben Rivera in the second inning.

Rivera belted a two-run homer, his 11th of the season, over the left-center field fence with two outs. It gave the Padres a 2-0 lead. It was also the 17th homer Park's allowed this season, matching Valdes for most among Dodgers pitchers.

The Dodgers cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning thanks to an ill-advised defensive risk by Rivera on a ball hit by Raul Mondesi. Rivera dived for Mondesi's line drive, not coming close to catching it and allowing the ball to roll to the fence. Mondesi wound up with a triple and scored on Devon White's groundout to second to pull the Dodgers within 2-1.

Despite the Padres' leadoff success, it didn't translate into scoring chances early on. It also cost San Diego its catcher, Jim Leyritz, in the fifth inning. Leyritz was hit near the left wrist with a pitch and left the game. He was taken to Centinela Hospital Medical Center for X-rays.

Finally, though, the Padres made good use of their leadoff hitter in the seventh inning when Dave Magadan singled to right and Rivera ripped a double inside the third base bag.

Damian Jackson made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center.

Park got out of it by allowing one run, which is marked improvement of his last seventh-inning ordeal. After pitching six wonderful innings in his last start, he allowed five runs in the seventh in a loss to Pittsburgh.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

PHOTO (1--Color) Padres shortstop Damian Jackson can't come up with a hit by Jose Vizcaino, who doubled.

(2) First baseman Eric Karros tosses the ball to second after tagging the Padres' Quilvio Veras in a rundown during the Dodgers' 4-1 loss.

John Lazar/Daily News
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 23, 1999
Words:699
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