Dodgers Nail Pirates For 15 Hits, 12 Runs

It seems to be feast for famine for the boys from the left coast, struggling for hits in a pair of low-scoring losses to Washington, then unloading on the unsuspecting Pirates with three home runs, 15 hits and 12 runs to record a 12-6 victory. And the losing pitchers from the previous two nights, D.L. Houlton and Brad Penny, are probably thinking, "Oh, great, NOW you score some runs.

But the Dodgers need every advantage they can get as they struggle for consistency in the N.L. West and will take wins any way they happen to come.

Olmedo Saenz led the celebration with his 11th home run and a career-high six runs. He had a three-run shot in the fourth, an RBI single in the seventh and a two-run double in the ninth inning as the Dodgers scored 10+ runs for only the second time in two-months.

Jeff Kent hit his 21st homer in the first inning and Ricky Ledee had a solo shot in the sixth. Ledee and Saenz had three hits each; Cesar Izturis and Milton Bradley had a pair.

The Dodgers had lost eight of their previous 12 games and had fallen five behind the San Diego Padres. But there is something Los Angeles seems to like about Pittsburgh. They have won 14 of 16 -- seven in a row -- since the Pirates new park opened in 2001 and are 14-1 overall against the Pirates since 2003.

The first six runs came on home runs and until Izturis banged a two-run single in the seventh, the Dodgers had scored only on home runs over the last three games.

And the Pirates were generous hosts, allowing four unearned runs on three different errors.

Brad Eldred, who hit 38 home runs two seasons ago and came to the Pirates in July after hitting 28 this season, hit his first major league shot, an action that Pittsburgh is hoping will happen on a regular basis from now on.

Lowe, 8-11), left the game with a 5-3 lead after six innings and a five run seventh made him breathe easier. He won his second game in 12 starts on the road this season.

Jon Broxton, Elmer Dessens took over and then Steve Schmoll nailed it down, allowing only a single in his 1.2 innings of work.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers are 20-5 against Pittsburgh since Lloyd McClendon took over as Pirates manager in 2001. ... Los Angles had averaged only 3.3 runs over its previous seven games. ... The Pirates haven't beaten the Dodgers at home since April 25, 2002, when Josh Fogg, the loser Friday night, beat Hideo Nomo. ... Since beating Milwaukee 10-6 on June 5, the Dodgers had scored in double figures only once -- a 10-2 win over Philadelphia on July 20. ... Jason Phillips was again held out the Dodgers lineup with a badly bruised left hand that was hit by a pitch on Wednesday night. The hand was swollen on top, where a Tony Armas pitch hit it, and on the palm, where it was pinched against the knob of the bat. Phillips said he would probably have X-rays taken on in Pittsburgh. …Manager Jim Tracy indicated that veteran left-handed pitcher Wilson Alvarez, who rejoined the team in Washington on Thursday after missing two games to sort out his future, is available to pitch for the Dodgers. But outfielders J.D. Drew and Jason Werth are some time away from helping out. Drew has been sidelined since July 4 with a broken left wrist and Werth has been on the disabled list since July 27 with bursitis in his left knee. …Lefty Odalis Perez (6-5, 4.46 ERA) faces Pittsburgh lefty rookie sensation Zach Duke (4-0, 0.92 ERA) tonight in the second game of the series.