Lowe's solid start for naught vs. Rox

Lowe's solid start for naught vs. Rox

LOS ANGELES -- Just remember, youth movement fans, there will be games like Wednesday night's, too.

Derek Lowe pitched seven solid innings and has a 14th loss to show for it. The Dodgers gave Lowe a lineup that included six players who appeared this year at Triple-A Las Vegas and they scored nothing in a 2-0 shutout by the Rockies, who have won a franchise-record 10 straight games (six against the Dodgers), while the Dodgers have lost nine of their last 10.

The Dodgers outhit the Rockies, 8-5, two by Delwyn Young (robbed of a third by Rookie of the Year Award candidate Troy Tulowitzki), one by Lowe. They stranded 10 baserunners.

"I stopped two personal streaks," said Lowe, trying to find humor in the gloom five days after a three-inning Coors Field shelling. "I got a hit and didn't give up a home run. From a personal standpoint, it was gratifying."

It was a clinching night of sorts for the Dodgers, who wrapped up fourth place in the NL West, no matter what happens the rest of the week. The Dodgers have finished fourth two of the last three seasons after not having placed that low in the division since 1993.

Lowe pitched seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. He faced the minimum in all but one inning, the two-run third during which he allowed three consecutive two-out bouncing singles after a one-out double by Yorvit Torrealba.

But there was nothing to celebrate about finishing a season 12-14 while falling two-thirds of an inning shy of 200, the result of hip and hand injuries. He wasn't blaming his season on his young lineup.

"It wasn't too productive a year," said Lowe. "You can't let who's [playing] behind you bother you one way or the other."

Turning to the way the Dodgers' season unraveled, Lowe took his share of blame.

"I'm very honest with myself, and a lot of games I pitched awful," he said. "I'm very hard on myself, and when I pitch poorly, I deserve it. Even if you go 13-13, .500, is that a successful year? No."

Lowe's struggles have been intertwined with the team's. Of the 12 times the Dodgers have been shut out, Lowe has started five. In 10 of his losses, the Dodgers have scored two runs or fewer.

In 2008, Lowe will be entering the final year of a four-year contract. It's no secret that the Dodgers have had nearly as many problems in the clubhouse as they have on the field, particularly in the chemistry between young and old. Lowe said this fourth-place finish will be tougher than the last one.

"Because of the transition [to youth] during a pennant race," he said. "You kept hearing it would happen in 2008, then all of a sudden you see it happening in a race. You hope when it happens, [management] has the team's best interest, but it didn't work out as well as anyone wanted. We have to make sure it doesn't happen again.

"This could be pretty much the same team Opening Day next year. We have to find a way to put aside our differences and play as one. Not this group here and that group there. It's up to us players to figure it out. We have to see a different attitude from this team. It's not the most positive place right now. I believe everyone has to be on the same page. We can't act like it didn't happen."

The Dodgers lost to Josh Fogg for the first time since 2002. They left the bases loaded after three two-out walks in the sixth inning when Andre Ethier struck out, an inning after Ethier was called for interference running from second to third.

With two out in the bottom of the ninth, they had a pair of infield pinch-hits from Luis Gonzalez and Olmedo Saenz, but Juan Pierre grounded into a fielder's choice to end it.

Young tripled in the first inning, singled in the fourth, walked in the sixth and lost a hit when Tulowitzki went far into the hole to glove his bouncer and, with a jump-throw from shallow left field, threw Young out at first base.

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