Ishii, Green lead LA victory

This ain't your last year's Dodgers. With the surprising Kaz Ishii pitching as well as he ever did and Shawn Green's bat coming to life, Los Angeles won their first game in the new San Diego park 11-4. After struggling during Spring Training (1-4 with a 10.88 ERA), Ishii (2-0) overcame early control problems, threw six consecutive balls to start the game and walked the first two batters. He battled back to escape the inning and took a 10-1 lead into the seventh.

Ishii also drove in two runs with a two-run single in the top of the second after going 6-for-86 (.070) with 39 strikeouts in his first two seasons in the major leagues.

Ishii re-vamped his delivery and insisted he was not concerned with allowing seven home runs in 22.1 innings at Dodgertown. Obviously he was right. He allowed three runs in the seventh inning, but pitched better than his record appeared (6.2 innings, four runs, five hits, three strikeouts, three walks).

Duaner Sanchez lowered his ERA to 1.69 with a scoreless inning and Guillermo Mota added a zero in the ninth to keep his earned run average at 0.00.

Green has been telling us his shoulder is healthy and after going 4-for-4 with four runs scored and a walk, you have to think he knows what he's talking about. following a homer and single in the previous game, he boosted his average has from .174 to .323.

Green had plenty of help. Juan Encarnacion hit his first Dodgers homer, a booming two-run, 423-foot shot in the seventh, added a double, had three RBI and scored twice. He also made his first error in two years. Milton Bradley added an RBI, a run and a pair of hits to the Dodgers' total of 13. Paul Lo Duca has collected hits in all eight games this season and is hitting .600 (12-for-20) against San Diego in five games.

The Dodgers had a six-run second inning and eight runs total on 10 hits in four-plus innings. Bradley, Green, Lo Duca and Encarnacion banged out 10 hits, had eight RBI and scored eight runs.

In the Dodgers in the big second, Green and Lo Duca singled, then Encarnacion doubled home Green. After a ground out and an intentional walk, Ishii worked a 2-2 count on Wells and singled home a pair. Dave Roberts' sacrifice line drive brought in a fourth run. Cesar Izturis reached first on an infield single and Milton Bradley doubled home two with a line drive to left center.

Ishii allowed his first hit in the fourth and San Diego scored their first run. Encarnacion dashed back to catch a line drive, only to drop the ball, snapping his streak of 227 consecutive games played without an error, which was the longest active streak in the majors.

Dodger Notes--Darren Dreifort says working out of the bullpen has not bothered him at all. He was a reliever before he blew out his elbow in 1995. When he returned, management decided his body was better suited for starting. Physical breakdowns (five operations in three years) forced a reconsideration and the decision was made this spring to send him to the bullpen. He's been throwing 97-98 so far this season. ... Paul Shuey had the splint removed from his thumb (ruptured tendon) and feels it has improved. He is scheduled for an MRI on April 23, about three weeks after suffering the injury, to determine if it is healing or needs surgery. ...Wilson Alvarez is working on a new grip on his curveball. He grips his knuckle curve with the index finger curled but left-handers can see it coming. Hopefully, the new grip will be more deceptive. ... Outfielder Wilkin Ruan cleared waivers and reported to Jacksonville. He played in 21 games for the Dodgers last year and was the MVP at Las Vegas. ... Shawn Green likes the direction the Dodger are going and hopes to finish his career with Los Angeles. His six-year, $84-million contract expires after next season. Green was frustrated by the failure to acquire another big hitter after the club traded Gary Sheffield to Atlanta in January 2002. But the addition of switch-hitting center fielder Milton Bradley drew his approval and he hopes to remain a Dodger, a fact that must certainly please GM Paul DePodesta.

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