Green's Homers, Ishii's Arm Pound Marlins

Shawn Green, in an 0-for-12 slump that saw his average drop to .247, hit two home runs, both to the opposite field, and the Dodgers slammed Florida 9-4 in the rubber game of the series. Kaz Ishii (5-1) pitched another gem, allowing two runs on four hits and five walks over 6 innings. Green's three-run homer set the tempo early, and the switch-hitting Milton Bradley, batting right-handed, hit his fifth as the Dodgers took a 5-2 lead. Juan Encarnacion, who had three RBI, homered in the seventh,

The 14-hit attack included three hits each from red-hot Adrian Beltré (.389) and utilityman Jose Hernandez (.355).

Bradley's homer broke an 0-for-16 drought that included three double-play grounders in Wednesday night's loss and two of his four strikeouts in this game. Encarnacion snapped his 0-for-14 skein with his towering shot to left-center.

Green's first homer came with one out in the first inning after Cesar Izturis and Paul Lo Duca began the game with consecutive singles, when he drove a pitch deep into the empty seats in left-center field. It gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

The second, a solo shot, came with two outs in the seventh, and it went almost to the same spot. The first baseman also walked and scored in the fifth, finishing the night 3 for 5 with four RBI.

Ishii, who retired the first batter in all seven innings he started, overcame five walks to pitch 6.2 innings and in his last three starts he is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA. He is 17-4 in April and May over his three years in the Major Leagues.

Ishii's control left him in Florida's two-run second. Ishii walked two, with two out and the Marlins scored on a two-run double. He finally ran out of gas with two outs in the seventh and left runners on first and second for Darren Dreifort, who struck out Miguel Cabrera.

Closer Eric Gagné got the final out in the ninth after Brian Falkenborg worked into a bases-loaded, two-out jam, and in an oddity of the save rules, Eric Gagné retired one batter with a five-run lead and was credited with his ninth save, his 72nd consecutively. The situation qualified for a save because the potential tying run was in the on-deck circle when he entered the game.

The entire three-game series between the two division leaders drew a total of 41,937 paying customers -- about 11,000 fewer than showed up at Dodger Stadium for last Saturday night's game against Montreal.

The first-place Dodgers are 17-10 as they head for Pittsburgh, still on course with their best start since 1988.

Dodger Blue Notes--Third baseman Adrian Beltré ranks among the major league leaders with a .389 batting average, nine home runs and 25 runs batted in while primarily batting seventh. Beltré, who batted fifth for the sixth time Thursday, capped an outstanding series against the Florida Marlins with three more hits in a 9-4 victory. The right-handed batter went seven for 13 in the series, getting six hits to right field. ... Free-agent third baseman Aaron Boone, who is expected to be fully recovered by midseason from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, said Thursday the Dodgers are high on the list of clubs for which he would like to play. Boone, 31, was released by the New York Yankees after he tore his ACL playing pickup basketball in January. He began running last week and said he "fully expects" to be playing in a couple of months. The Dodgers are believed to have a strong interest in Boone despite the fact third baseman Adrian Beltré is having the best season of his career. Beltré is a free agent after 2004. If Beltré re-signs with the club, Boone also can play second base. ... Dave Roberts reported considerable improvement in his strained right hamstring, but remembers the hamstring injury he suffered last year that wouldn't go away. He felt it would only be a day or two more, but wants to be sure 100 percent before I go out there." ... James Loney is expected to be sidelined another 10 days as he recovers from minor surgery necessitated when a broken finger became infected. The finger broke when it was hit by a thrown ball. At the time of the injury he was hitting .300 after only six games. ... When the club left Miami for Pittsburgh, injured outfielder Jayson Werth went to Vero Beach to continue his recovery from a pulled oblique muscle. Werth has been out a month, but has resumed batting practice. ,,, Reliever Paul Shuey said he hopes to have the splint removed from his injured thumb next week. Shuey ruptured a tendon in the thumb in a freak injury during fielding practice the final week of Spring Training. He will require a minor league rehabilitation assignment before he's activated, at which time the Dodgers will face a numbers problem. Shuey was replaced on the Opening Day roster by Duaner Sanchez, who has quickly become an important bullpen contributor. ... Pitcher Jose Lima, lead singer of the musical group Banda Mambo, will perform "God Bless America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the May 13 game with the Chicago Cubs. Banda Mambo, whose latest album is titled "La Cacata," has played at clubs throughout the United States and Dominican Republic. ... Sunday, Ohio Wesleyan University is bringing Sharon Robinson, Jackie's daughter, and Branch Rickey III, grandson of former Dodger GM Branch Rickey, together as the commencement speakers for the university's graduation ceremonies. They will speak on the 100th anniversary of the elder Rickey's graduation from Ohio Wesleyan. The two families have been connected since Rickey chose Robinson as the player to break baseball's color barrier in 1947.

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