Weaver Loses Tough 2-0 Decision

Jeff Weaver did a great impersonation of Kevin Brown against the Florida Marlins Wendesday night, complete with receiving no run support at all. A pair of tainted first-inning runs were the only effective offense by either team and the Dodgers found both of them extremely offensive. Including Wednesday's loss, the Dodgers have scored 16 runs in Weaver's six starts for an average of 2.67 per start. They've scored three or fewer runs in five of his outings.

After that shaky start, Weaver (1-4) turned in seven solid innings, retiring 18 of the final 23 batters he faced with only one runner getting as far as second base.

In the first inning, before most of the faithful 13,308 fans who came out to support their World Champions had even settled into their seats, Juan Pierre singled and stole second, slipping under the tag of shortstop Cesar Izturis on a play that appeared to be an out.

Abraham Nunez lofted a fly into a strong wind that carried the ball off the left-field fence. Jason Grabowski, playing left for the injured Dave Roberts, leaped at the wall but missed, giving Nunez a triple. Mike Lowell followed with a high pop that fell just inside the right-field line to score Nunez.

Adrian Beltré had half of the Dodgers' four hits against Penny, hitting doubles in the sixth and eighth innings. Beltré was stranded at second in the sixth, and at third in the eighth.

Bradley, clearly slowed by an ankle sprain, went 0-for-4 and grounded into three double plays, including one that ended the game. He's in an 0-for-14 slump.

"If you look at just the won-lost record and come to the conclusion that he's not throwing the ball well, you're off track as far as the assessment of that."--Manager Jim Tracy.

Left fielder Dave Roberts is out an unknown period with a strained hamstring, center fielder Milton Bradley is trying to play with an ankle sprain and Jayson Werth has been disabled for a month, limiting the Dodgers to only two healthy outfielders, Juan Encarnacion and Grabowski.

The Dodgers really threatened once when Beltré doubled with two outs in the eighth on a ball that barely missed going over the wall in center and Alex Cora followed with a single to right that was hit too sharply for Beltré to score. But Olmedo Saenz struck out to end the threat.

The Dodgers (16-10) saw their lead over San Diego in the National League West shrink to percentage points after the Padres won at Atlanta.

Dodger Blue Notes--Dave Roberts, who strained his right hamstring on a stolen-base attempt in Tuesday night's victory over Florida, breaking a 15-0 run, said he was feeling better. He won't return to the lineup before Friday. Jason Grabowski replaced Roberts in left field, and in the leadoff spot despite entering the game hitting .125 with an on-base percentage of .192. ... Jayson Werth will be sent to Vero Beach this week to continue his rehabilitation from a pulled oblique muscle. ... The development of Kaz Ishii's changeup has been the key to the starter's strong start. Ishii, scheduled to start tonight against Florida, relied heavily on his changeup while posting a 4-1 record with a 3.98 earned-run average in his first five outings. His command of the pitch improved while working last season with pitching coach Jim Colborn. ... Tonight, with lefty Dontrelle Willis on the hill, Paul Lo Duca will be in left, David Ross will catch and Jose Hernandez will start at second base. The Dodgers are 2-4 against left-handed starting pitchers, but 14-5 against right-handed starters. ... Club officials are starting to believe in reliever Duaner Sanchez. Since correcting a mechanical flaw, Sanchez has looked like a Guillermo Mota clone. Sanchez was claimed off waivers from Pittsburgh and made the club only because Paul Shuey hurt his thumb the last week of Spring Training. But Sanchez has emerged as more than the 10th man in the bullpen and he got the win Tuesday night, lowering his ERA to 2.51. ... Greg Miller, the club's No. 2 prospect, who underwent minor shoulder surgery 6+ weeks ago, has just begun to throw again. "It's the same. Still some soreness," said Miller, who had a bursa and scar tissue removed from the back of the shoulder. "But I'm not that far out from the surgery. Everybody says they have to pitch through pain at some point. I know I'll be back better than before, but I'm antsy. I'm not really disappointed, but it's frustrating. The hardest part is watching everyone else throw." Miller was part of a 50-player contingent of minor leaguers that bussed to Miami from the Dodgers' Vero Beach complex to watch the game. The left-hander said the injury, which sidelined him late last season, has opened his eyes. "In high school I never had to take care of my arm and I didn't appreciate how valuable it is," he said. "Now that I can't throw, I realize how much it means. I appreciate the game and my body more." .. The next time the Dodgers face Penny, they should make a call to Las Vegas and bring up Doug Nickle to face him, because anyone knows that a Nickle is worth more than a ... well, you know what I mean.

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