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Dodgers have closed-door meeting after loss

7/24/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Colorado Rockies shook things up with a
seven-run inning. Then, the Los Angeles Dodgers shook up things in
the clubhouse.

Darren Oliver won for the fifth time in six decisions and
doubled home two runs as the Rockies beat the Dodgers 8-3 Wednesday
night.

The Dodger fell 11½ games out of first place, the largest
deficit in the three seasons Jim Tracy has been their manager.

Two players were sent to the minors in the aftermath. Utility
infielder Daryle Ward and left-handed reliever Steve Colyer were
optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas, while outfielder Bubba Crosby and
right-hander Rodney Myers were called up from the 51s.

The Dodgers clubhouse door was closed to the media for more than
20 minutes while four coaches and 12 players slipped out one by one
-- including losing pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii.

The situation got so tense once the clubhouse was opened,
reliever Paul Shuey lashed out indiscriminently at reporters
because he thought he heard someone laugh when Ward walked from his
locker toward the shower area.

Ward is 20-for-109 with no homers and nine RBI in 52 games. He
was subbing recently at first base for the injured Fred McGriff,
but catcher Paul Lo Duca has been playing more first base lately
because of the steady improvement of backup catcher David Ross.

"Over the course of the last few years, Daryle is a very proven
major league hitter that, to this point, has been unable to get
untracked," Tracy said. "And the only way we're going to get an
opportunity to make that happen is to get him a series of at-bats
on a daily basis -- something that's just not possible to do here
right now. So we've got to find a venue for him to do just that."

Oliver (8-6) allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings,
while striking out nine and walking one. The last time he faced the
Dodgers on May 20, he took a four-hit shutout into the seventh
inning before losing a 3-1 decision to Kevin Brown.

"It's a real good example of a veteran guy doing a great job to
keep us in the ballgame," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He
maintained his composure and gave a very solid effort. He's just
been very very consistent this year, and 75-80 percent of the time,
he's given us a chance to win the ballgame."

Ishii (9-4) allowed six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits over
five-plus innings and hit three batters in the fourth. The loss was
Ishii's first this season at Dodger Stadium in six decisions
spanning 11 starts.

The Rockies loaded the bases three times in the first six
innings against Ishii, who escaped the first jam unscathed and
yielded only one run the second time. But the left-hander's luck
ran out in the sixth, as the Rockies tied a season high with seven
runs in the inning to take an 8-2 lead.

Oliver, who flied out to the warning track with three on in the
second, came up again with the bases full in the sixth -- this time
with none out. He lined a 1-0 pitch just inside the left-field line
for a double that drove in Rene Reyes and Mark Bellhorn, who had
tried to sacrifice Reyes to second and was safe when catcher David
Ross' high throw pulled first baseman Paul Lo Duca off the bag.

Ronnie Belliard chased Ishii with an RBI single and Juan Uribe
greeted Guillermo Mota with a run-scoring hit off second baseman
Jolbert Cabrera's glove for a 5-2 lead. Preston Wilson had a
two-run double and Reyes capped the rally with an RBI single that
chased Mota.

"We kept getting guys on base and finally got that big hit,"
Johnson said. "That big inning was huge for us. We needed an
inning like that because we haven't had one of those in a long
time."

Ishii, who leads the majors in walks allowed, hit three batters
in the fourth to match his total in 113 previous innings this
season. After plunking Larry Walker on the shoulder to opening the
inning, the left-hander nicked Bellhorn on the left foot one out
later and walked Oliver with two outs.

Ishii then hit Belliard on the right foot with a pitch in the
dirt, but he wasn't awarded first base until plate umpire Rob Drake
saw him hopping out of the batters box. Walker scored -- and Tracy
seethed, getting into an argument with Drake before being ejected.

"I don't see Trace get real emotional too often. So when he
argues about something, he really believes it," Ross said. "I was
going down to block the ball, so my head was down. Then I saw
Belliard hopping around and my teammates had a little bit of a
shocked reaction. I checked the ball and there wasn't any shoe
polish on it, but that doesn't always mean anything, either."

Game notes
Colorado's seven-run sixth matched the worst inning by a
Dodgers pitching staff that entered with a major league-leading
3.10 ERA. ... Reyes, called up from Triple-A when LHP Denny Neagle
was put on the DL, was 3-for-5 after getting his first big league
hit on Tuesday night.