Seo, How Do You Like Me Now?

With the new-look Dodgers rocking on the edge of mediocrity, the turned to Jae Seo, obtained from the Mets in the off-season and after a posting a 7.64 ERA over his first four games, three of them starts. But Friday night he allowed only four hits over six scoreless innings to earn his first win and four friends came out of the bullpen to pitch hitless ball in a 3-0 victory in the series opener at San Diego.

Don't be surprised if the Dodgers petition the National League for more open dates since they won 5-3 at Philadelphia on April 7 and 6-3 at Arizona April 21 following their first two days off.

Manager Grady Little was too polite to say "I told you so" after Seo's gem, gently pointing out that "…some things you don't rush. It's still April" when talking about the proposition of taking him out of the starting rotation after his early-season troubles.

Little had also been questioned about keeping catcher Dioner Navarro instead of sending for Russell Martin, who is having a solid season at Las Vegas.

Navarro not only performed well behind the plate, he banged out a pair of runs, walked twice and, remarkably, stole his first major league base.

It also has a lot to do with the competition, as the Padres' losing streak reached three. They showed why they are last in the National League in just about every offensive category, not putting a runner on base after the third inning.

"That doesn't matter to us," said Little. "They've got good players who are capable of busting out."

With Seo's performance, Dodgers, who seem to be struggling at the plate, are third in the National League in earned run average after many thought that pitching would be their Achilles heel before the season started.

Los Angeles and the Padres were locked in a 0-0 game until the fifth inning when Nomar Garciaparra whacked a double and scored on a single by Navarro.

They finally gave themselves some breathing room with another pair of runs in the eighth inning, starting with a leadoff single by Rafael Furcal, a hit-and-run single by Kenny Lofton and J.D. Drew's single through the infield who were playing in to cut off the run at the plate.

The remarkable Drew, who is winning converts every day after finally playing injury free, ran his on-base streak to 32 games, including all 20 games he has played in this year. He also leads the club with 17 RBI and is batting .329. Along with Bill Mueller, he has a .430+ on-base average.

Seo, whose trademark has been pinpoint control (only 112 walks and 228 K's over 415 career innings, walked four in the first three innings but punched out the final Padre each time to freeze runners in scoring position.

Then he settled in and retired the final 10 batters he faced.

The bullpen did a masterful job of protecting the slim lead. The remarkable Tim Hamulak worked a scoreless seventh; Takashi Saito stayed nearly perfect in the eighth before closer Danys Baez used only four pitches to win his seventh save in eight opportunities.

In combination, the three relievers used only 24 pitches over the final three innings of the Dodgers 11th win. They have lost an even dozen and are tied with Arizona for third place, trailing the surprising Colorado Rockies.
  Score by innings
Dodgers    000 010 020-3
San Diego  000 000 000-0

  Dodgers      ab r  h bi ave
Furcal, SS      5 1 1 0  .202
Lofton, CF      5 1 1 0  .293
Drew, RF        4 0 1 2  .329
Kent, 2B        4 0 1 0  .200
Garciaparra, 1B 3 1 1 0  .211
Mueller, 3B     4 0 1 0  .316
Cruz, LF        3 0 0 0  .240
Navarro, C      2 0 2 1  .258
Seo, P          2 0 0 0  .250
  Ledee, PH     0 0 0 0  .286
  Saenz, PH     1 0 0 0  .293
  Hamulack, P   0 0 0 0  .000
  Saito, P      0 0 0 0  .000
  Robles, PH    1 0 0 0  .125
  Baez, P       0 0 0 0  .000
    Totals     34 3 8 3 
    Padres     28 0 2 0

  Errors- none. 2B- Garciaparra (2). Navarro 
(6), Drew 2 (17). LOB- Dodgers 8, Padres 5.
SB- Navarro (1), Mueller (1). DP- (Furcal,
Kent and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers    in h r-er bb so era
Seo (W,1-2) 6.0 2  0-0 4  4 5.70
Hamulack    1.0 0  0-0 0  1 0.90
Saito       1.0 0  0-0 0  1 0.75
Baez (S,7)  1.0 0  0-0 0  0 0.00
  T- 2:35. Att- 36,435.
Angels, Dodgers: End Revenue Sharing-- The Wall Street Journal reports that large-market major league teams — including the Angels and Dodgers — are expected to band together in the coming labor talks in order to eliminate revenue sharing. In recent weeks, the principal owners of the two biggest sharers -- the New York Yankees, who contributed $76 million in 2005, and the Boston Red Sox, who paid $52 million -- have denounced what they're forced to pay. Other big-market clubs -- including the Chicago Cubs, the New York Mets, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels -- are expected to join Boston and New York in blunting calls for increasing the amount of revenue sharing, which is included in baseball's labor agreement. The Dodgers paid out $20 million in revenue sharing last year, and the Angels $11 million.The issue is so contentious that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig recently told teams not to discuss it in the media. Despite being outnumbered, big market teams will nonetheless fight moves to increase revenue sharing, and push for additional controls on the existing revenue sharing structure, such as requiring that such funds be spent on baseball operations.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Right-hander Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for April 17-23. Billingsley, 21, has allowed just five earned runs in his first four starts while striking out one of every three batters he has faced (25 of 74 batters in 20 1/3 innings). Billingsley's 2.21 ERA leads the hitter-happy PCL. Billingsley was honored with the Ben Wade Award for the past two seasons, presented by Dodgers Dugout and, as the top pitcher in the Dodger minor league system. He was 11-4 with 157 strikeouts in 134 innings at Vero Beach and Jacksonville in 2005 and was 13-6 with 162 strikeouts in 146 innings in 2005. He followed that by pitching a near-no-hitter on Friday night… Outfielder Sergio Pedroza was selected as the Player of the Week in the South Atlantic League after he drove in nine runs to help Columbus rebound from a three-game losing streak with three straight wins. The 22-year-old outfielder/designated hitter doubled in two runs before launching a game-deciding grand slam home run, as the Catfish outslugged Asheville, 14-10, on April 23. …The Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers are contemplating putting in a waiver claim for right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Walker, who was designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants on Sunday. Walker had 23 saves last season after Armando Benitez was injured, but fell from favor late in the season and struggled this year, blowing two saves and posting an earned-run average of 15.19 in six appearances. The Giants must trade, waive or release him before Wednesday. Dodger GM Ned Colletti, who was the Giant assistant general manager the last 11 years, is familiar with Walker, who was injured late last season and has not regained his velocity. …