Dodger Kids Key 7-1 Win Over Giants

After a pair of young Dodger pitchers, Edwin Jackson and D.L. Houlton, struggled with pennant pressure in their last start, three other rookies --Willy Aybar, Dioner Navarro and Mike Edwards -- came through with big games as Los Angeles pasted San Francisco 7-1 in the first game of a four-game series with Derek Lowe handing Barry Bonds an 0-for-3 evening by the bay.

Lowe went right at Bonds, who never came to the plate with runners on base, and nailed him on a grounder to second and a pair of fly balls to center. Bonds did make the crowd gasp with a trademark shot into McCovey Bay that looked like his 704th home run but the ball drifted just foul.

Manager Jim Tracy had chided Bonds in Los Angeles, pointing out that 'Unless you come to the plate with two crutches and a handicap sign around your neck, even if you have one crutch and a ball bat, we're going to have to consider walking you." He never had to make good on that promise on this night.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers jumped into a solid lead with seven runs in the second, third and fourth innings.

Aybar had a career-night, albeit in his very short major league career, with a pair of singles and three runs batted in. Navarro singled and doubled, driving in a run and Edwards had three hits and a walk, adding an RBI.

Lowe, in the meantime, was again in his post-season mode, stopping the Giants on four hits and striking out four over eight solid innings before handing he ball to Steve Schmoll in the ninth and watching him work a 1-2-3 frame to close things out.

The Dodgers moved back to 5 1/2 games behind the league-leading Padres who had the night off. They also reclaimed second place from the Giants in the first game of the four-game set -- the final time these traditionally bitter rivals meet in 2005.

After a scoreless first inning, Edwards started the Dodgers down the right road with a ringing double. Jayson Werth was walked before Lowe also worked a pass to fill the bases. Aybar ripped a single to left and the Dodgers led 2-0.

Pedro Feliz cut that in half in the last of the inning with his 17th home run of the year.

Jeff Kent opened the third by reaching base on shortstop Omar Vizquel's error. With one out, Jose Cruz -- who has been as important over the final weeks of the season as the acquisition of Aybar -- tripled to dead center, then scored on Navarro's double to right.

Lowe beat out an infield hit and Aybar whacked another single to drive in Navarro ford a 5-1 lead. They added another pair of runs in the fourth on a two-out walk to Cruz, Navarro's single and RBI singles by Edwards and Werth.

At that point the game the pitching took over, with Los Angeles collecting only Edwards' third hit of the game over the final five innings and the Giants last 20 batters were able to manage only a single by Ray Durham.

Lowe (11-13) threw 115 pitches over eight strong innings to beat the Giants for the first time in five career starts. He collected a remarkable 15 ground ball outs. The Dodgers knocked out Giants starter Brad Hennessey (4-8) in the third. Hennessey, whose winless stretch reached nine starts, allowed five runs and six hits.

Manager Felipe Alou said he hoped Bonds would be able to play three of the four games against the Dodgers, likely taking Saturday's day game off since it follows a night game tonight.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Dodgers manager Jim Tracy is strongly considering going with a four-man starting rotation for the season's final 10 days if the club is still in the fight. Although it would mean everyone going at least once on three days' rest, it also means getting Derek Lowe another start or two. …Ricky Ledee was a late scratch with a sore left hamstring and his replacement, Mike Edwards, had three hits. ... 1B Olmedo Saenz left with a strained left oblique muscle in the bottom of the fourth and was replaced by Jason Phillips. ... Aybar, who has a six-game hitting streak, had never had a two-RBI game. … Jose Valentin, who signed a one-year, $3.5 million, free-agent contract with the Dodgers last winter intending to be their everyday third baseman -- but who has devolved into little more than a light-hitting utilityman -- said he has no intention of retiring after this season, his 14th in the big leagues. Valentin, who will turn 36 next month, also acknowledged there is virtually no chance the Dodgers will want him back for a second season. …The Dodgers free agents this winter are Olmedo Saenz, Jose Valentin, Paul Bako, Jose Cruz Jr., Jeff Weaver and Darren Dreifort (who will probably retire). …Although rookie Edwin Jackson has been removed from the starting rotation in favor of reliever Elmer Dessens for Sunday's game against the Giants, fellow rookie starter D.J. Houlton will take his regular turn next Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. …Cesar Izturis' Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery is scheduled today. …Brad Penny (7-9, 3.84 ERA) draws the start tonight in San Francisco as the Dodgers cling to their rapidly-dimming pennant hopes. San Francisco counters with Brett Tomko (7-14, 4.62 ERA).