Marlins Strike Early, Hang on to Beat Dodgers

The Florida Marlins, with former Dodgers Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion exacting some revenge, scored all the runs they needed with one out in the second inning, then held on to hand Los Angeles their 15th loss in 24 games after opening the season in grand fashion, crafting a 12-2 record. The 6-2 loss kept them in third place behind the Diamondbacks and Padres.

Brad Penny (2-2) started against his old team and was tagged with a single and a two-run homer in the first and a pair of doubles in the second to quickly fall into a 3-0 hole.

The inability to hit with runners on base, they went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and have gone 3 for 21 in such situations over their past two games, was manifest inn the second inning when Milton Bradley and Ricky Ledee led off with singles and Jason Phillips bounced into a double play, Bradley scoring. Mike Edwards and Penny added hits in the inning but Cesar Izturis popped out to end the threat.

That would be their only run over the first six innings.

Since Milton Bradley's game-winning grand slam against Atlanta on Friday night, they now have scored a total of five runs in their past 27 innings.

In the seventh, when Izturis lined a two-out single to drive in Phillips from second. But that was the end of the scoring for Los Angeles.

Things don't look to improve when former National League Rookie of the Year Dontrelle Willis takes the mound tonight for the Marlins, or Wednesday, when former World Series MVP Josh Beckett takes his turn. Those two are a combined 12-3 with a 1.73 ERA.

Florida's fifth starter became the second pitcher in two days to allow the Dodgers nine hits but hold them to two runs. He helped by two double-play grounders, including one from Jeff Kent, who is 1 for his last 16.

The third-place Dodgers (21-17) fell 1 1/2 games behind Arizona and San Diego in the National League West, the farthest off the lead they have been since last July 4.

Dodger Blue Notes--Antonio Perez will be activated from the 15-day disabled list now that his 20-day, minor-league rehabilitation assignment has expired. However, don't expect an Adrian Beltré-like performance, or even a Jose Valentin look-alike if his numbers at Las Vegas are an indication. He was reluctant to play third during spring training and do so with little success. Going into his final game he had made two errors in 13 games with 51s despite working with manager Jerry Royster, a former major league infielder. His on-base percentage was .291 and he struck out 19 times in 56 games. Since losing Jose Valentin with three torn ligaments in his right knee, the Dodgers have used Mike Edwards, Norihiro Nakamura, Oscar Robles and Olmedo Saenz at third. Norihiro was so bad offensively that he was sent to Las Vegas, and Robles, who batted .438 in spring training for the Dodgers and was hitting .390 with four home runs and 21 runs batted in for the Mexico City Red Devils when his contract was purchased, was hitting .111 (2-for-18) after an infield single Monday night. But both Edwards and Saenz are batting well above .300. … The Dodgers got some good news when it was reported that Odalis Perez, who left Saturday night's game against Atlanta after six innings with shoulder tightness, will miss one start with inflammation. But an MRI on Monday showed no structural damage. Scott Erickson will take his start Friday against the Angels. Perez tentatively is slated to return May 25 in San Francisco. … Right-hander Elmer Dessens (shoulder) threw off flat ground to a catcher Monday and may have a bullpen workout Wednesday. … Derek Lowe starts for the Dodgers on tonight. Lowe is 2-4, with both wins coming at home, where his ERA is 2.05. Lowe is 2-1 lifetime against the Marlins. … The Milton Bradley Baseball Academy is opening its doors in Baldwin Hills, the first of two baseball academies that will bear the name of the outfielder. The second academy is set to open in July in Bradley's hometown of Long Beach.