LOS ANGELES (AP) -Two weeks ago, the Dodgers owned a share of first in the NL West. Since then, they've lost 10 of 13 and dropped to fourth place, 6 1/2 games behind in the standings.
No wonder the clubhouse feels like a morgue.
``We're just not getting it done,'' Jeff Kent said. ``We're not pitching well, we're not hitting well, we're not running the bases well. There's a lot of things we're not doing well.''
Just how bad have things gotten? Going into Tuesday night's game against Houston:
- It had been nearly three weeks since a member of the starting rotation earned a victory.
- The Dodgers had scored two or fewer runs in seven of their last eight games, losing six of them.
- They were hitting an anemic .222 this month - worst in the majors.
- They've lost seven consecutive series.
``We're getting beat down, we're getting beat up,'' Kent said.
Manager Grady Little held a 20-minute, closed-door meeting before Monday night's game.
``It was like baseball chapel and I was the preacher,'' he said. ``It was just pretty much telling the truth. We needed to talk about some things and see if we can get it going.''
The Dodgers couldn't, losing 4-1 to the Houston Astros.
``No one's giving up, which is good,'' Nomar Garciaparra said.
But the frustration is clearly mounting.
The usually placid Garciaparra got ejected for the first time in his 12-year career Monday night for arguing a called third strike in the fourth inning.
The misery extends to the starting pitching, once considered the strength of the team.
All-Star Brad Penny hasn't won since July 26 at Colorado - the rotation's last victory - and Derek Lowe is winless since June 22.
Then there's Jason Schmidt, the team's big offseason acquisition. The right-hander signed a three-year, $47 million contract and went 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Randy Wolf, another offseason pickup, hasn't pitched since July 3 and won't again until next month at the earliest because of a sore left shoulder.
Mark Hendrickson and Brett Tomko have been disasters when promoted to the rotation. Hendrickson was sent back to the bullpen after a disastrous outing Sunday in St. Louis, when he allowed 11 hits and eight runs in 2 2-3 innings, leaving the team in need of a starter for Friday night's series opener against Colorado.
``As a team, you got to keep pulling for each other and playing the game the right way,'' Juan Pierre said. ``If we had the answer, we'd definitely be doing it.''
At last month's trading deadline, the Dodgers didn't pull off a major deal. All they got was reliever Scott Proctor from the New York Yankees.
Little still believes his team can turn things around with 1 1/2 months left in the season.
``It can't get any worse. It can only get better,'' he said. ``The only thing I wish is the players we have here would do better. It's going to take everyone doing their little part, not one person.''
Kent said there's no lack of effort or desire.
``We believe we're a good team, we believe we have the capacity to do some good things,'' he said. ``You got to battle through it.''
Fans may not be feeling the same way.
With the exception of July 4 and Barry Bonds' visit two weeks ago, Dodger Stadium hasn't had a sellout since June 15-17, when the Angels visited.
Kent refused to consider a drop-dead date when it will be too late to salvage the season.
``It's frustrating for us as players to hear comments that this is a must-win series or a must-win game because it's not,'' he said. ``There is only one must-win game and that's the elimination game,'' he said.
``Until then, you have to maintain the faith, you have to maintain a belief that you're going to be able to do some good things.''
Until then, some things are best quickly forgotten.
``You've got to have amnesia in this game,'' Pierre said.

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