Tomko's tough start too much for LA

Tomko's tough start too much for Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Brett Tomko has never hit a home run and probably never will, but Dodgers fans booed him Thursday night like he had 754 of them.

When they weren't all over Barry Bonds, they were venting misdirected anger at Tomko for allowing three runs in a marathon first inning. Four scoreless innings later, Tomko was still hearing boos left over from the first inning.

But it was the offense that staggered around for nine innings that deserved the bulk of the blame for Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the Giants and Barry Zito, the fourth consecutive series defeat for the Dodgers, who have lost nine of the last 13 games.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the fifth, eighth and ninth innings and scored only on a Russell Martin walk and a Luis Gonzalez groundout. They went 0-for-5 with the bases loaded, 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 baserunners.

"We have to execute," complained manager Grady Little. "If we don't, chances are good that things won't happen for us. Each player has to do what he's capable of and not more than he's capable of."

The game ended with Jeff Kent in the on-deck circle and ready to pinch-hit, a good sign that Friday night's opener of a key series with the streaking first-place Arizona Diamondbacks will open with Kent in the lineup after three days on the bench nursing a strained hamstring muscle. The Dodgers cling to second place, one game behind Arizona, one-half game ahead of San Diego with Colorado 2 1/2 games further back.

Martin, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp (snapping an 0-for-18 slump) had two hits apiece. Martin also had two walks on his bobblehead night as the Dodgers outhit the Giants, 11-7. One of those seven was a single by Bonds, his only hit in seven official series at-bats, with five walks. The hit snapped an 0-for-19 drought against the Dodgers and he's 5-for-36 (.139) against them this year.

Bonds remained stuck one home run shy of Henry Aaron's all-time record, but his two walks factored in both scoring rallies for the Giants, who batted around in an exhaustive 43-pitch first inning for Tomko, who has been scored upon in the first inning in his last three starts.

"I was just out of synch in the first inning," Tomko said. "I felt fine in the bullpen, but my pitches were up. I tried to regroup after that and got it back together."

That first inning included an RBI double by Randy Winn, a walk to Bonds on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, Pedro Feliz's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Kevin Frandsen.

Tomko kept the Giants off the scoreboard the next four innings, even in the fifth, when he drew a two-out error for dropping James Loney's throw while covering first base and had injury added to that insult when batter Mark Sweeney's elbow nailed him square on the back, where he said he's been nursing a "stress reaction" since Spring Training.

"He kind of jarred a tender spot and I took a couple minutes to get my breath back," said Tomko (2-9).

He remained in the game, jeered by the fans for the effort, and finished off the inning without further damage, then left for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth.

Afterward, Tomko again discussed the difficulty of being treated like the enemy at home.

"It's been extremely tough and I don't know a nice way to put it," he said. "When you're at home, you like to think you have people on your side. I understand where the fans are coming from. They want us to do well and when we don't, they're not afraid to vocalize. It's not a lot of fun. The only way to fix it is to pitch well and put up zeros. After the first inning, I think I did a good job of that."

The final Giants run scored in the seventh against new reliever Scott Proctor, who retired the Giants in order in the sixth. But he walked Omar Vizquel leading off the seventh, one out later walked Bonds intentionally after throwing two unintentional balls, then allowed an RBI single to Feliz.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.