Dodger Rock and Roll Rockies

Brad Penny could only find one thing about the game he didn't like: the pesky Rockies fouled off so many pitches, his pitch count took him out of the game after five after throwing 104 pitches, leaving with a 4-0 lead. Tim Hamulak, Danys Baez and Takaski Saito combined to allow one run over the final four innings in an 8-1 victory. Kenny Lofton came back from a day off to whack out three hits.

Los Angeles had 14 hits off three Rockies pitchers, scoring twice in the first, second, seventh and eighth. In winning their sixth in a row they have outscored their opponents 48-11and stayed one-half game behind first-place Arizona. The standings:
  N.L. West        w-l      pct   gb
Arizona            26-19   .578    --
Los Angeles        26-20   .565   0.5 
Colorado           25-21   .543   1.5
San Diego          24-22   .522   2.5
San Francisco      24-22   .522   2.5
The rookies are holding their own quite nicely, as Willy Aybar had an RBI double in the first inning to give him 12 hits and 10 RBI in his first 28 at-bats for a .429 average. Two hits were provided by Andre Ethier (three doubles, three home runs, eight RBI, .283) and Russell Martin (nine RBI, great defense, .294, ) have sparkled after joining the cub.

Manager Grady Little pointed out, "And the good thing is we've got some guys back there coming up behind them that we're just as excited about," Little said.

And veterans Nomar Garciaparra and Kenny Lofton have benefitted from the occasional day off provided by Little. Garciaparra had two more hits and another RBI to lift his average to .370. Lofton added three hits, two RBI and two runs and is now hitting .304.

Drew opened the scoring in the first with an RBI triple into the right field corner and came home on Aybar's double. Colorado has given up 38 runs in the first inning, more than they have in any other.

The Dodgers made it 4-0 in the second with Lofton's fifth triple of the season and 103rd of his career. It came after singles to Penny and Furcal and a wild pitch that allowed both runners to advance.

The Dodgers already have 16 triples, just five fewer than all last season.

Martin was 3-for-4 with an RBI double in the eighth against Sun-Woo Kim, who hit Aybar with a pitch leading off the inning. Furcal drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly.

Better health and remarkable replacements of injured players have kept the machine running at top speed. The Dodgers have scored six or more runs in five straight games and eight or more in three out of those five.

And wonders of wonders, Los Angeles is leading the league in runs scored. You read that right, but let me say that again, they lead the league in runs scored.
  Score by innings
Colorado  000 001 000-1
Dodgers   220 000 22x-8
  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 1 1 1 .245
Lofton, CF      5 2 3 2 .304
Garciaparra, 1B 5 1 2 1 .370
Drew, RF        4 1 2 1 .295
Kent, 2B        2 0 0 1 .243
Aybar, 3B       4 0 1 1 .375
Ethier, LF      3 1 2 0 .304
Martin, C       4 1 2 1 .309
Penny, P        2 1 1 0 .250
Hamulack, P     0 0 0 0 .000
  Robles, PH    1 0 0 0 .182
  Baez, P       0 0 0 0 .000
  Saenz, PH     1 0 0 0 .314
  Saito, P      0 0 0 0 .000
    Totals     35 8 14 8
    Rockies    32 1  7 1

  Errors- none. 2B hits- Aybar 
(4), Ethier (3), Garciaparra (14), 
Martin (3). 3B hits- Drew (3), 
Lofton (5). RBI- Drew (34), Aybar 
(11), Lofton 2 (10), Garciaparra 
(30), Kent (30), Martin (10), 
Furcal (16). SF- Kent; Furcal. 
LOB- Colorado 6, Los Angeles 8. 
CS- Drew (2). DP- 2 (Furcal, 
Kent and Garciaparra 2).
  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Penny (W,5-1) 5.0 4  0-0  1 5 2.31
Hamulack      1.0 1  1-1  0 1 5.50
Baez          2.0 1  0-0  0 3 2.70
Saito         1.0 1  0-0  0 1 2.62
  WP- Saito. HBP- Ethier.
T- 2:56. Att- 40,228.
Soon-- Eric Gagne threw a 20-pitch session without restrictions, mixing in all of his pitches, breaking Willy Aybara's bat and getting complaints from Cesar Izturis and Oscar Robles that his stuff was too nasty to hit. After two elbow surgeries over the past 11 months, the latest on April 7 to remove a never in his elbow, he seems to be well on the road to recovery. Gagne will report to Las Vegas to pitch Friday and Monday and if all is working properly, he will be in a Dodger uniform June 1.

Off to Dodgertown-- Shortstop Cesar Izturis will report to extended spring training in Florida Thursday for five days to get some at bats in, then head to Las Vegas on June 1 to begin a minor-league rehabilitation stint. After Tommy John elbow surgery last September 16, has been taking daily infield and batting practice and said he's ready to test his arm in a real game. He said he expects to work exclusively at shortstop when he arrives in Las Vegas next week, although Little said he can envision Izturis playing second base and maybe some third base. But Izturis said, "As far as I know I'm just focusing on playing shortstop," Izturis said. Then little gave himself some leeway, hinting that he could move another infielder to third base to allow Izturis to play either shortstop or second.

Knee Repair-- Scout Mike Brito, who found Fernando Valenzuela pitching in Mexico and changed the history of the club and a longtime familiar figure behind the plate with a radar gun, Panama hat and a Louisville Slugger-sized cigar in his mouth, is recovering from double knee replacement surgery.

Coming up-- Aaron Sele (2-0, 2.29 ERA) opposes Aaron Cook (5-3, 3.28 ERA) in the homestand finale Wednesday night. His record:
date  score    opp        in  h r-e w k era
May  7 W  10-2 Milwaukee  6.2 5 1-1 1 2 1.36
May 13 ND 5-6  at SFrisco 7   5 2-2 2 3 1.98
May 19 W  16-3 Anaheim    6   6 2-2 1 3 2.28