Valentin's Home Run Provides 2-1 Win

A two-run homer in the sixth inning was all the offense the Dodgers received -- or needed -- while topping the World Champion Red Sox 2-1 at Ft. Myer. Scott Erickson worked four innings and Edwin Jackson pitched 3.1 innings and didn't allow a hit. Los Angeles improved to 3-6 with the win.

The home run by Valentin broke a 17-inning scoreless string that started in the final three innings of a 4-2 win over Florida on the 7th. They were whitewashed by the same Florida team on the eighth of March, rained out the ninth and didn't score until the sixth in this game.

Erickson gave up a home run to Manny Ramirez in the fourth inning and surrendered only one more hit, a single in the second.

"I got more comfortable and more confident as the game went along. I kept the ball down and out of the middle of the plate with the exception of the mistake I made on Ramirez," Erickson said. "I could have gone another inning but volunteered to leave after four because I knew the other pitchers needed the work."

Jackson, who earned the win, allowed a walk in each of his first three innings but no hits, got the first hitter in the last of the eighth and when he walked the next Red Soxer, was replaced by Sanchez who got the final two hitters in the eighth.

Mike Venafro, battling for the situational lefty slot out of the bullpen, took over in the ninth after Sanchez left with a runner on base and one out, having allowed only the third hit of the game. Venafro disposed of the first Sox hitter but made an error on a slow tap to the mound and was replaced by Aquilino Lopez who ended the game with a six-pitch strikeout.

Erickson continued his bid to be the Jose Lima of 2004, coming to Los Angeles as a free agent and pitching lights out in three appearances while running his scoreless streak to nine innings over which he has allowed only four hits.

Jackson, scheduled to pitch the rained out game at Tampa Bay, worked the middle three innings and put a sparkling performance on the board in support of his bid to nail down a starting slot. If he does not crack the rotation, he will be sent to Las Vegas so he can pitch every fourth day.

The Dodgers, rained out the day before, used only three starters: third baseman Jose Valentin, first baseman Hee-Seop Choi and catcher David Ross.

Los Angeles got a pair of hits in the fourth inning. Jason Repko singled to break the hit drought but was nailed at second attempting to stretch the hit into a double. Cody Ross followed with a single but nothing came of it.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with two out in the ninth when Repko singled for his second hit of the game and both Jason Grabowski and Henri Stanley walked. On a three-two pitch, Jose Flores fanned to end the threat.

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield tied the Dodger lineup in knots, allowing only three walks in three innings while fanning three.

Dodger Blue Notes--Jason Grabowski caught the final two innings of the game, adding that position to his resume. … Catcher Paul Bako was sidelined with a sore wrist and Jeff Kent was given permission to leave the team to settle personal business. He will return Friday for the night game against the Mets in Dodgertown. … Closer Eric Gagne seems to be back to 100% after spraining his knee early in training. He has had the flu but normally does not see action until the final week or so of the season and no one seems concerned about him. …Major League Baseball randomly tested 10 Dodgers for steroids but the results will not be known for a few days. Every player in baseball will be tested some time during the season.