Grabowski Sparks Dodger Win

Jason Grabowski, taking advantage of his third start of the season, collected a career-high three hits, including a long two-run homer in the second inning that helped boost the Dodgers to a 7-3 victory. He finished three for four to lift his batting average from .138 to .212. Jeff Weaver (2-4), in his best start of the season, pitched eight innings and Adrian Beltré extended his hitting streak to 14 games with his 10th home run as the Dodgers boosted their lead over the Padres to three games.

Grabowski was at the center of a 15-hit Dodger offense that finally gave Weaver some run support after he received only 2.67 runs over his first six starts. Weaver had lost his three most recent starts while teammates scored a total of four runs. Paul Lo Duca and Alex Cora also had three hits each.

Beltré homered to right-center in the second to tie the score 1-1. Juan Encarnacion lived on an error and Grabowski followed with his homer to right field for a 3-1 lead.

Beltré had to leave the game after the seventh because of a sore right ankle. He has experienced frequent pain in the ankle since early last season, after he fouled a ball off it. X-rays at the time showed bone spurs, which Beltré is considering having surgically removed after the season.

Singles by Grabowski, playing in left field because Dave Roberts is on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, Alex Cora and Cesar Izturis were followed by Paul Lo Duca's two-run single and a third run scored on a Milton Bradley force-out.

In the fifth, Juan Encarnacion made it 7-1 when he reached on an infield single, went to second on Grabowski's single and scored on Alex Cora's single to right.

Weaver (2-4), who won for the first time since April 18, singled twice to raise his batting average to .313, giving him the early lead in the "Old Slugger" competition as the top hitting pitcher on the Dodgers' staff.

Weaver struck out seven and got 10 groundball outs, including two double plays, with a wicked sinkerball. He struck out seven and walked one while throwing 117 pitches. Weaver lowered his ERA to 4.84, including 3.72 over his past four starts.

The Dodgers (21-10) ran their winning streak to five, the best record in baseball and matching their season high, and moved three games ahead of second-place San Diego. It is the Dodgers' largest cushion since they led by 3 1/2 on April 19.

Dodger Blue Notes--Kazuhisa Ishii experienced soreness in a tendon attached to his sternum after his start at Florida and Wilson Alvarez will pitch tonight against the Chicago Cubs, with Hideo Nomo starting against the Cubs on Thursday. Ishii first felt the soreness Sunday and underwent X-rays, which showed nothing extraordinary. He was placed on anti-inflammatory medication. ... Outfielder Jayson Werth won't begin his minor-league rehabilitation assignment before Friday. Werth took batting practice Sunday at extended spring training in Vero Beach, mostly against low, outside pitches, the ones that figure to be most taxing on his strained oblique muscle. After 30 swings, Werth experienced fatigue and stopped. ... Catcher Todd Hundley underwent successful surgery on his left hip Tuesday in Boston. He is expected to be out of action the entire season. ... Numbers support that Hideo Gr velocity seems to drop off when he pitches out of the windup instead of the stretch. Of the 12 home runs Nomo has allowed in seven starts this season, nine have come with no one on base. ... Manager Jim Tracy said he is comfortable using Green at either first base or right field, but not in the same game, feeling it's not fair to change his thought process in mid-game. ... Dave Roberts continued to progress from a strained hamstring that put him on the disabled list. It is thought he would not require a minor league rehabilitation assignment. ... Paul Shuey hopes to remove the splint on his thumb Friday. ... Former Dodger pitching great and current Spanish-language broadcaster Fernando Valenzuela was honored by the Los Angeles City Council during a meeting on Tuesday for his contribution to baseball and the Los Angeles community through the Los Amigos de Fernando program.

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