Rookie Russell Martin's Single Gives Dodgers a Tie

<b>ORLANDO, Florida</b>--Rookie catcher Russell Martin, fresh out of Class A in 2004, singled twice against the Braves. His first hit helped the club cut the deficit to 3-2 in the seventh and his second hit knocked in a run in the ninth that snatched a tie from the teeth of defeat. Scott Erickson had his first 'bad' game of he season. He allowed a pair of homers and left trailing 3-1 but the team took him off the hook. The Dodgers ran out of pitching, limiting the game to 10 innings.

Los Angeles had the yips with the score tied in the last of the 10th. Yhency Brazoban, working his second inning, got the first out when right fielder Henri Stanley made a sparkling diving catch of a line drive. Then Stanley came in on a pop fly and dropped it, the runner reaching second.

Brazoban racheted up his speed control, buzzing a third strike over the plate for a strikeout. A ground ball to Antonio Perez saw the rookie throw wild to first that was charitably called a hit. Another grounder to short resulted in a force at second and the game ended in a 3-3 tie.

Wunderkinder Jason Repko slugged a triple up the right field alley on his first trip to the plate, boosting him to 12-for-27, .444 and is -- pleasantly -- making manager Jim Tracy's life a bit more complicated.

It appears that Repko's chances of making the team are tied to the health of Jason Werth, who suffered a broken bone in his left wrist when a pitch got in on him early in the exhibition season. Ricky Ledee will be the fourth outfielder and it is unlikely the Dodgers will carry five fly-chasers.

Repko scored on Rickey Ledee's ground ball for an early 1-0 lead but Julio Franco followed a bloop hit by Brian Jordan by smacking a low, outside pitch over the fence in right field, putting Atlanta on top 2-1. Kelly Johnson hit a monstrous home run in the last of the third for a 3-1 Braves' margin.

Trailing by the same score in the seventh, Olmedo Saenz singled for his second hit of the spring, Russell Martin also singled and Cody Ross got the RBI with a line drive hit to left as Los Angeles narrowed the margin to 3-2 with a run in the top of the seventh, setting the stages for Martin's heroics.

Erickson, who was making his fourth start, had allowed only one run, three hits and a miniscule .083 batting average over his first 10 spring innings.

He stretched out to five innings and 70 pitches, allowing four hits -- two of them homers -- and three earned runs. He left the game with a still competent 2.57 earned run average, allowing only seven hits in 14 innings.

The Dodger pen allowed only one questionable over five innings. Buddy Carlyle worked a quick 1-2-3 sixth inning that included two strikeouts. Giovanni Carrara duplicated in the seventh. Lefty Kelly Wunsch handled the eighth without incident and Yhency Brazoban took over in the last of the ninth in a 3-3 tie and K'ed two of the three that faced him. Brazoban singled in the top of the 10th but was left on base, then ended the game with a jittery zero in the last of the inning.

Dodger Blue Notes--GM Paul DePodesta thinks that Brad Penny will be available by early April. … Manager Jim Tracy said that Odalis Perez may see action by the weekend. … Eric Gagne may not get into a game until next week. … A sore hip held righthander Duaner Sanchez from the trip to Orlando but he feels it will be only a couple days before he can get back into action. … Trainer Stan Johnson said that outfielder Jayson Werth should be able to play catch soon and that swinging the bat should follow quickly. … It was the fourth tie of the exhibition season for the Dodgers.