Yesterday in Dodger Baseball - April 8

The Dodgers came back from the dead to score four in the ninth and win 8-7 on a two-strike, two-out pinch-hit home run by Jose Valentin. Las Vegas lost a wild, 15-11 game despite home runs by Norihiro Nakamura, Cody Ross, Dioner Navarro and Willy Aybar. Jacksonville won as Jon Weber belted a three-run shot. Vero scored seven and lost after scoring one and winning opening night and Columbus finally got their opener played but despite a strong start by Harold Elbert (one hit in four innings).

PHOENIX, Arizona--Jose Valentin, who made an error opening day that allowed the winning run to score, has been on fire ever since and Friday night his two-run homer (#2) in the top of the ninth with two out and an 0-2 pitch keyed a four-run rally and an improbable 8-7 win over the Diamondbacks. The bullpen blew a 4-1 lead in the seventh, built on Jeff Kent's two-run double and a two-run homer from Olmedo Saenz (#1), Then in the seventh, Kelly Wunsch allowed an RBI single and a walk, Buddy Carlyle gave up a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning and rookie Steve Schmoll walked two before serving up a three-run homer that put Arizona ahead, 7-4. He got the next three Diamondbacks and ineffective as he was, wound up with his first Major League victory. In the ninth, trailing 7-4, Antonio Perez lived on an error and Ricky Ledee doubled him home. Cesar Izturis looped an RBI single to right field. cutting the lead to 7-6. Valentin to hit for rookie Jason Repko. He went 0-2, then jumped on a breaking ball to put the Dodgers up 8-7. Valentin is 4-for-8 with two homers, a triple and eight RBI in this early season. Yhency Brazoban earned his first career save although it wasn't a thing of beauty. Two line shots to the outfielder were caught and the final hitter slammed a hot grounder to Kent at first base. Elmer Dessens looked like an all-star, pitching 5.2 innings, requiring only 66 pitches and leaving with that 4-1 lead. Dodger starting pitchers have a 1.75 ERA over the first four games. Izturis and Perez had a pair of hits for L.A.

Dodger Blue Notes--Jayson Werth's injured left wrist bothers him so much he cannot swing a bat, leading the Dodgers to worry that the injury is more severe than believed. He will be examined Monday by Dr. Robert Chandler, a trauma specialist working in the Kerlan-Jobe physician group. … Brad Penny threw 70 pitches in five innings against Dodger minor leaguers Friday at Vero Beach and was sharp. He threw 15 pitches in each of the first four innings — recording four outs each inning — and threw 10 pitches in the fifth. There is still no timetable for his return. … Left-hander Wilson Alvarez, who is also rehabilitating in Vero Beach, threw 40 fastballs in the bullpen Friday. He will throw in the bullpen Sunday or Monday, then is expected to make three or four relief appearances in Class-A games in one week before joining the Dodgers. … Eric Gagné, who is nursing a sprained elbow. He will not even play catch until "he is completely asymptomatic," trainer Stan Johnston said. However, the minor knee injury that slowed Gagne's progress during spring training has had a chance to heal. … Reliever Giovanni Carrara, who pulled a hamstring opening day, should be available today…. Outfielder J.D. Drew is hitless in his first four games as a Dodger, going 0 for 17 with five strikeouts. But Drew wasn't overly concerned with the fact he was hitless in 13 at-bats this season. "Early in the season, everything is always magnified," Drew said. "I myself do it as much as everybody else does, because you want to get off to a good start. But I'll get through it by continuing to stress having quality at-bats." … Former Dodgers catching prospect Koyie Hill, who suffered a broken right ankle barely two weeks after being traded to Arizona last July, is fully recovered and is the Diamondbacks' everyday catcher.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado--The Sky Sox outlasted Las Vegas 15-11 as two teams combined for 26 runs and 32 hits. The 51s recorded 18 hits and have a total of 31 on the series. Six players recorded multiple-hit games: first baseman Norihiro Nakamura was 3-for-6, HR, 3 runs scored; third baseman Willy Aybar was 3-for-5, triple, HR and 4 RBI; second baseman Joe Thurston was 2-for-5; left fielder Mike Edwards was 2-for-4; catcher Dioner Navarro was 2-for-4, solo HR and shortstop Jose Flores was 2-for-4 with two triples and 2 RBI. Center Cody Ross (1-for-6, 2 RBI) hit his second home run of the series. Right-hander Heath Totten pitched 4 innings, allowed 10 hits and 10 runs (9 earned) and took the loss. Right-hander Mike Neu pitched 2 innings and allowed 3 runs; left-hander Frank Brooks allowed two unearned runs in 1 inning and right-hander Tom Farmer pitched a scoreless eighth inning.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida--The Suns used Jon Weber's three-run home run in the eighth inning put the game out of reach as they scored four runs to open a close game. Todd Donovan singled in an insurance run prior to the home run. He reached base in all five plate appearances and tied a career-high with three stolen bases. A pair of Suns errors allowed two Barons runs in the eighth. Luis Gonzalez relieved eventual winning pitcher William Juarez (1-0) and stranded the tying run at third. Weber and Joel Guzman hit back-to-back run-scoring doubles in the third which for a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, Suns starter Jonathan Broxton allowed a game-tying three-run home run. Guzman singled home a run in the seventh to break the tie and Russell Martin's first hit of the season (he also stole two bases) scored two more to give the Suns a 6-3 lead. DH Nick Alvarez led all batters with three hits. The Suns' bullpen has allowed one earned run over 11 innings.

VERO BEACH, Florida--One night after the two teams opened the season with a pitcher's duel won by Vero Beach, 1-0, the teams tangled in a 31-hit slugfest in the Dodgers home opener with Vero on the short end of a 11-7 score. A seven-run second inning put the Mets in control and while the lead slipped to 7-6, they held on. Andy LaRoche singled, doubled and tripled, knocking in a pair of runs. Tony Raglani had four hits, all singles, and Mike Nixon, playing left field, had two RBI on a single and a double. Julio Pimentel was tagged for nine hits and six runs, five earned. Casey Hoorelbeke and Chad Bailey were also treated roughly.

SAVANNAH, Georgia-- Columbus opened the season a day late and starting pitcher Scott Elbert gave up just one hit in four innings, but the bullpen took over with a 3-2 lead and melted in the rain, dropping 6-3 to the Savannah Sand Gnats. Jesus Castillo (0-1) allowed five hits and four earned runs in the seventh inning to put Savannah ahead for good. Second baseman Travis Denker's two-run home run (#1) to left-center tied the game 2-2 in the third. In the seventh, shortstop Lucas May led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout, then scored on a single by catcher Gabriel Gutierrez.

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