Izturis First Game at Third Base a Smash Hit

Again it was the third baseman that made the difference in the game, but this time he was wearing Dodger Blue. Those who thought moving Cesar Izturis to third base was delusional, found out that, at least for one game, the idea was brilliant as the little ex-shortstop smacked three hits and scooped up everything hit his way.

The Dodgers righted themselves, again at least for a day, and dumped the Mariners 4-2, ending a five-game losing streak.

Derek Lowe, pitching out of turn due to Brett Tomko's aching foot, found a way around an inconsistent bullpen but not giving up the ball. He worked nine solid innings and allowed seven hits in the first complete game of the season for the club.

After a one-out single in the ninth, manager Grady Little made a visit to the mound and the fans cast their vote quickly, booing the proposal of calling in help. Or maybe Lowe had something to do with it.

"After the eighth," Lowe said. "Little came over and shook my hand and said, 'Good game,' and I said, 'I'm not leaving the game.' "That's why I said in Spring Training he's a great guy to play for. He listens to you as long as you're honest."

Little acquiesced and left Lowe in the game. He responded by inducing a pair of ground balls to nail down the win.

The Dodgers overcame a 2-1 deficit with a three-run sixth inning, keyed by a two-run single from rookie catcher Russell Martin and an RBI single by slumping shortstop Rafael Furcal.

Izturis cleanly fielded all eight of his chances at third -- nearly three times the normal traffic at third base -- and went 3-for-4 and also scored two runs.

Furcal entered the game with just 10 hits in his past 56 at-bats (179), but singled home the Dodgers' first run, in the fifth.

The bottom three hitters in the order, Andre Ethier, Izturis and Martin combined to go 8-for-12 with two RBI and three runs scored.

Izturis, who had elbow surgery in September, had expressed reservations about playing, uncharted territory for the Gold Glove shortstop, but Izturis grabbed seven assists and a line drive to finish he game perfect in the fielding department.

Lowe (6-3) collected his fifth consecutive decision, walking none and fanning six. The only blip on his radar were two solo homers in the second and third innings.

It was his first complete game since he pitched a one-hitter against the Cubs last Aug. 31. He dropped his ERA to 2.90.

The Dodgers had lost seven of their last eight and 10 of their last 14 and had slipped out of the National League West lead. The win pulled them back to a single game behind San Diego.

Adrian Beltré was held to a solitary single and with the Pirates invading Dodger Stadium tonight, perhaps it's time to stop being a perfect host when old friends come to call.
  Score by innings
Seattle  001 100 000-2
Dodgers  000 013 00x-4
 
  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 0 2 2 1 0 1 .252
Lofton, CF      4 0 0 0 1 0 4 .298
Garciaparra, 1B 5 0 1 0 0 2 6 .357
Drew, RF        5 1 2 0 0 1 2 .273
Kent, 2B        4 0 0 0 0 3 2 .267
Ethier, LF      4 1 3 0 0 0 0 .308
Izturis, 3B     4 2 3 0 0 1 2 .800
Martin, C       4 0 2 2 0 1 4 .309
Lowe, P         3 0 1 0 0 1 2 .091
  Totals       37 4 14 4
  Seattle      34 2  7 2

  Errors- none. RBI- Furcal 2 (24), 
Martin 2 (30). LOB- Seattle 5, 
Los Angeles 12. CS- Ethier (3).

  Dodgers     in  h r-er bb so era
Lowe (W, 6-3) 9.0 7  2-2  0 6 2.90
  T- 2:35. Att- 46,207.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported that Eric Gagne has shown negligible improvement from the ulnar nerve injury he suffered June 6 and Bill Mueller's future is increasingly uncertain because his recovery from a third operation on his right knee is being undermined by irreversible arthritic change in the joint. … Brett Tomko was scratched from his scheduled start after he fouled a ball off his foot during batting practice Wednesday. Tomko has seen his ERA soar from 2.88 to 5.45 in the last five weeks and if he is unable to pitch, Odalis Perez will get the start. …Dodgers' trainer Stan Johnston will represent the club at next month's All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. Johnston is in his seventh season in his current role and has been a member of the Dodgers organization since 1985. This will be his first time working the All-Star Game. …Jason Repko is started a running program but pointed out he is only 65 percent healthy. Repko was transferred to the 60-day disabled list last week.

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