Hits Hard to Come by in Dodger Win

Hits came dear for both teams in the Dodgers' 4-2 win over San Diego Saturday night. Los Angeles came from behind with two runs in the sixth and leading by one going into the eighth had only a home run by Nomar Garciaparra and a single by J.D. Drew. Brett Tomko pitched a strong seven innings, allow all five Padre hits while winning his third game. And former Dodger closer Steve Howe was killed in a pickup crash north of Los Angeles.

Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti was derided for signing Tomko after he finished 8-15 in 2005 with the Giants and was released at the end of the season.

Tomko was extremely tough over his seven innings of work and, with the exception of the fourth inning, allowed only two hits and retired the final nine Padres in succesion Then Takashi Saito and Danys Baez nailed the final six in a row to make it 15 straight.

Tomko (3-1) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings against the Padres, who have scored only five runs during their six-game losing streak.

The Dodgers were hitless until the fourth inning when Nomar Garciaparra blasted his second home run deep over the left field wall. Coming into the game he was in a 2-for-15 slump on the road trip.

San Diego put together three hits in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 lead and a running catch by J.D. Drew of a drive in right-center for the final out in the fifth saved another run.

Two walks and the Dodgers third hit of the game -- a ringing single by J.D. Drew in the sixth inning to keep his 11-game hitting sreak alive, gave L.A. a 3-2 lead. He also extended his streak of reaching base safely to 33 games, dating to June 16.

Back-to-back walks to Rafael Furcal and Kenny Lofton and Garciaparra's sacrifice fly recorded the final run in the eighth.

The Dodgers moved back to .500 (12-12) with the win, 1/2 game behind San Francisco and two behind league-leading Colorado.
  Score by innings
Dodgers   000 102 010-4
San Diego 000 200 000-2

  Dodgers     ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss      2 2 0 0 .198
Lofton cf      3 1 1 0 .295
Drew rf        4 0 1 1 .325
Kent 2b        2 0 0 1 .195
Garciaparra 1b 2 1 1 2 .238
Mueller 3b     4 0 0 0 .301
Cruz Jr. lf    3 0 0 0 .231
Navarro c      4 0 2 0 .273
Tomko p        2 0 0 0 .000
  Saito p      0 0 0 0 .000
  Ledee ph     1 0 0 0 .276
  Baez p       0 0 0 0 .000
    Totals    27 4 5 4
    San Diego 31 2 5 2

  Error- none. HR -Garciaparra (2). 
S - Tomko. SF - Garciaparra, 
Kent. RBI - Garciaparra 2 (6), 
Drew (18), Kent (12). LOB - 
Dodgers 5, San Diego 3.
   Dodgers     in h r-er bb so era
Tomko (W,3-1) 7.0 5 2-2  0  2 4.20
Saito         1.0 0 0-0  0  2 0.69
Baez (Sv,8)   1.0 0 0-0  0  1 0.00
  Time: 2:19. Att: 44,337.
Steve Howe Dies in Accident-- Steve Howe, the 1980 National League Rookie of the Year who pitched for the Dodgers 1980-85, died April 2 in Coachella, California. He was 48.

The pickup truck Howe was driving left the roadway, entered the median and rolled several times, ejecting Howe from the vehicle, according to the coroner's office. The accident occurred about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

Howe helped the Dodgers win the World Series in 1981 over the New York Yankees. He saved 59 games and recorded a 2.35 earned run average during his career with Los Angeles and was nown for his classic confrontation with Reggie Jackson in the 1978 series.

But for all his success on the field, the hard-throwing lefthander never reached his potential and was constantly troubled by addictions -- he was supended seven times. His cocaine problem finally drove him out of baseball.

Howe was 47-41 with 91 saves and a 3.03 ERA durng his career with the Dodgers, Minnesota, Texas and Yankees. His final season in the majors was 1996, and the Yankees released him in June.

There was a moment of silence at Yankee Stadium before New York played Toronto on Friday night.

"The entire Dodger organization is deeply saddened by the loss of Steve and our sympathies go out to his family and friends. Steve was a huge part of the Dodgers' 1981 World Championship club and he will go down as one of the best closers in franchise history. He will be missed," a Dodger spokesman said.

"Steve played for me for five years and I thought the world of him. I am truly sorry to hear about his passing and my deepest sympathies go out to his family," former Manager Tom Lasorda said.

Steven Roy Howe 1958-2006
• 47-41, 3.30 ERA, 91 saves in 12 Major League seasons
• 1980 National League Rookie of the Year
• 1982 National League All-Star
• Ranks ninth on the Los Angeles Dodgers' all-time saves list (59)
• Selected in the first round (16th overall pick) of the 1979 amateur draft

Dodger Blue Notes-- Closer Eric Gagne started his throwing program in his recovery from right elbow surgery on April 1, said manager Grady Little, who watched the workout along with general manager Ned Colletti. The Dodgers plan to bring Gagne back gradually, Little said.