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It Was a Bad Day for the Dodgers

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"It just wasn't a good day," manager Don Mattingly said before the game.

Mattingly was speaking about having to designate outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. for assignment Monday morning, but the malaise seemed to hang over the team throughout the game as they lost to the woefully bad Colorado Rockies 2-0, a five-hit shutout. It was only the Rockies second shutout of the season while the Dodgers got blanked for the tenth time.

Matt Kemp denied the team was flat coming off of a sweep of the Chicago Cubs and with the departure of Gwynn. "We didn't come out flat," he said. "We just didn't score runs."

Mattingly did credit the pitching staff for not letting the game get out of hand despite the 11 hits given up. "Our pitching staff did a good job of keeping us in the game," he said.

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It seemed the speed of the Rockies at the top of the lineup got to Chris Capuano in the first and third innings. Eric Young, Jr. led off the game with a single lined to left field. After Dexter Fowler struck out, Young went to third base on Jordan Pacheco's single to left and came home on Carlos Gonzalez's sacrifice fly.

Young also hit a single in the third inning with one out, went to third on Fowler's single and scored on Pacheco's single.

However Capuano said he wasn't bothered by the baserunners. "Tonight they were station-to-station," he said. "They got a few base hits off of me that were solidly hit. Fortuntely they weren't out there when I was pitching."

Nonetheless Capuano rebounded with a good start after couple of stinkers, going seven innings and giving up only the two runs despite giving up the nine hits.

"I was struggling with my command early on in the game," he said. "It was a battle to get through the first four or five innings, then felt pretty good in the end."

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The Dodgers had no answers for the left-hander Drew Pomeranz who held the Dodgers off through his 84 pitches of work. He gave up three hits, three walks and hit two batters. However since Pomeranz went past Rockies manager Jim Tracy's infamous 75 pitch count for his starters, he only made it through four innings.

The lone bright spot for the Dodgers came in the seventh inning. After A.J. Ellis got on base due to a fielding error from first baseman Matt McBride with one out, Shane Victorino hit a fly ball to shallow centerfield. First base umpire Mike Estabrook called Victorino out, but after Mattingly requested a conference of the umpires Victorino was ruled safe.

"I'm just trying to get them to check with each other," Mattingly said. "That's the only thing I can really do."

Tracy lost his mind letting the umpires know that it was, as Vin Scully interpreted for viewers, "blinking fertilizer." Replays showed that the ball caught the webbing of centerfielder Fowler's glove, not the ground.

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I guess it makes up for the blown call earlier in the season.

However even for that fortune, the Dodgers couldn't capitalize. Mark Ellis flew out to left field to end the inning. As Rasheed Wallace would say, "Ball don't lie."

This was a perfect opportunity for the Dodgers to take over first place in the NL West with the San Francisco Giants losing to the St. Louis Cardinals 8-2.

"We had a couple of chances early, and we weren't able to do anything with them," Mattingly said after the game. "It didn't seem like we had enough chances."

The Dodgers remain a half-game behind the Giants in the division.

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Like Sands through the Hourglass. Mattingly before the game touted the contributions Gwynn made to the team over the last two season. "Tony's been a special guy as far as a guy that works and does everything you ask," Mattingly said before the game. "He's really been part of the attitude and the way guys work last year and this year. It bothers you when you know you have to do it."

Gwynn suffered the same fate as Bobby Abreu. With the Dodgers acquiring the switch-hitting Shane Victorino at the trade deadline on July 31, that dramatically cut down on the number of at-bats Gwynn would see.

"We just didn't feel like he was going to get on the field," Mattingly explained. "That was pretty much it."

While Abreu's locker was still occupied, Gwynn's locker was empty walking into the clubhouse.

"He was okay," Mattingly said describing how Gwynn took the news. The Dodgers have seven days to put Gwynn on waivers or ten days to release him.

After a slow first half in Albuquerque, Sands has been swinging a hot bat in the second half batting .372 with nine homers leading the Pacific Coast League. Winner of the PCL Player of the Week award for July 23-29, Sands became the fifth player in PCL history to hit two grand slams in a game in the second game of a doubleheader on July 29 in Nashville.

"I went back to my swing from a couple of years ago," Sands explained his resurgence.

Now topped with a flop of dark brown hair, Sands was excited to join the heat of the NL West race.

"He's been on fire and swinging the bat really well," Mattingly enthused. "I had a chance to talk to him. It sounds like he feels good."

Sands went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Ethier Okay? Andre Ethier was seen clutching his side after a couple of at-bats in Sunday afternoon's 7-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Mattingly told reporters that Ethier was fine after the game.

On Monday Ethier was not in the starting lineup, Sands playing in right field. For a split moment the thought of an injury crept, but looking at the numbers it soon became apparent. Ethier was 0-for-3 against Rockies starter Drew Pomerantz while lefties were batting .136 against the left-hander. Ethier confirmed he was okay citing his full-arm tackle of Hanley Ramirez after the walk-off hit Sunday afternoon.

"I feel good," Ethier confirmed.

"This is the right day at the right time," Mattingly said. "This guy is really tough on lefties. With the day game yesterday, it gives him a good chunk of time — he going to play two and gets another day off."

Ethier entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter and stayed in the game at right field in the ninth. We worked a two-out in the eighth to hold out hope for a rally. Luis Cruz struck out swinging to end the inning.