To Hit or Be Hit, That 's Nomar's Question

Nomar Garciaparra got a single to run his streak to a season-high 15 games, but was hit three by Arizona pitchers in the shoulder, helmet and leg to lead a Dodger attack (or defense) that piled up 10 runs and a 10-4 win. He became the 24th player in major-league history to be nailed three times in a single game. It was a lengthy, three hours and 28 minutes long and not a thing of beauty.

Neither Garciaparra nor manager Grady Little thought the Diamondbacks had thrown at Garciaparra intentionally any of the three times. Garciaparra was also hit when Jeff Kent's single thumped him as he ran from second to third.

His one hit extended his hitting streak to 15 games and boosted his record against the Diamondback to 6-for-14 this season.

In all there were five hit batsmen in the game. Russell Martin was drilled in the fifth and reliever Jonathan Broxton got a Diamondback in the seventh.

The 10 runs were one short of the total the Dodgers had scored in the previous four games -- three of them losses --and they piled up 15 hits while leaving the bases loaded three times in the first seven innings.

Manager Grady Little flipped the Dodger lineup and installed Kenny Lofton in the leadoff slot and dropped the slumping Rafael Furcal from the leadoff spot all the way to seventh.

Matt Kemp, who dropped below .300, disappeared entirely from the starting lineup. Since June 15, he's hitting .236 with no homers, three RBI and 23 strikeouts in 55 at-bats. His on-base percentage has dropped from .420 to .342.

The switch worked for Lofton, who had a key double in a four-run fifth inning that righted the Dodger ship. The ball just nudged itself inside the foul line by an inch or so and Furcal singled him home to turn a 4-1 lead into a comfortable 8-1 margin.

Seven of the position players drove in at least one run, and rookie outfielder Andre Ethier, who went 4-for-5, had four of the hits and a pair of runs batted in. The performance came after striking out four times in the final game against Anaheim.

It helped the Dodgers erase some of the memory of the 5-10 slough they had suffered through and if they wouldn't be unhappy if they never heard the words "interleague play" again. It didn't hurt that they were playing a Diamondback team that had gone 2-10 against the other league.

The Dodgers (42-40) tightened up the National League West standings that could already have fit into a phone booth. League-leading San Diego had the day off and they watched third-place San Francisco drop second-place Colorado, pulling Los Angeles within one game of the Padres and a half-game of the Giants and Rockies.

Derek Lowe (7-4) worked five innings, using nearly 100 pitches, and struggled to the win. That said, he allowed only two runs, one of them helped when third baseman Cesar Izturis slipped as he was abut to catch a foul pop by Shawn Green. Green went on to walk, and a pair of hits cut the Dodgers lead to 3-2.

Jonathan Broxton provided a little pre-4th of July fireworks, working two hitless and scoreless innings, walking two and bouncing a wild pitch, while hitting 99 mph on the radar gun and one Diamondback in the batters box.

The Dodgers on the board in the first inning with three runs when J.D. Drew and Jeff Kent had consecutive RBI singles and Ethier followed with a run-scoring double.

They added four runs in the fifth, when pinch-hitter Jose Cruz had an RBI double and Ethier and Kenny Lofton added run-scoring doubles. Cesar Izturis had a sacrifice fly and Garciaparra extended his hitting streak with a run-scoring single to make it 8-2.

Los Angeles added two runs in the seventh. After Garciaparra was hit (for the third time) to force in a run, Ethier had an infield hit.

Aaron Sele (4-2, 3.06) starts tonight against Arizona's Enrique Gonzalez (2-1, 4.03). Game time for the Fireworks Night is one hour earlier than normal at 6:10 p.m.
  Score by innings
Arizona 020 000 011- 4
Dodgers 301 040 20x-10

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Lofton, CF      4 1 1 1  .292
 Kemp, PH-CF    2 1 0 0 .294
Izturis, 3B     5 1 1 1 .227
Garciaparra, 1B 2 1 1 2 .362
Drew, RF        4 2 2 1 .284
 Broxton, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Saenz, PH      1 0 0 0 .300
 Kuo, P         0 0 0 0 .000
Kent, 2B        5 0 2 1 .273
Ethier, LF      5 1 4 2 .345
Furcal, SS      5 0 1 1 .255
Martin, C       3 1 1 0 .288
Lowe, P         1 0 0 0 .088
 Cruz, PH-RF    3 2 2 1 .236
    Totals     40 10 15 10
    Arizona    37  4 11  4 

  Errors- Martin. 2B- Izturis (1), 
Ethier 2 (10), Lofton (7), Martin 
(10). RBI- Drew (48), Kent (43), 
Ethier 2 (24), Furcal (27), Cruz 
(15), Lofton (17), Izturis (2), 
Garciaparra 2 (49). SF- Izturis. 
LOB- Arizona 12, Los Angeles 
13. DP- (Furcal, Kent and
Garciaparra).

  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Lowe (W, 7-4) 5.0 7  2-2 2 2 3.49
Broxton       2.0 0  0-0 2 2 2.62
Kuo           2.0 4  2-2 1 2 5.60
  WP- Broxton. HBP- Garciaparra 
(3), Martin . T- 3-28. Att- 47,698.
July 4 Feature--The American flag saved from protesters by current Dodgers broadcaster Rick Monday, and a flag flown over Iraq by the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne MEDEVAC helicopter unit in honor of the 30th anniversary of Monday's heroics, will be part of a July 4 celebration before the Dodgers game tonight with Arizona at Dodger Stadium. There also will be an Air Force Honor Guard and a flyover. The wife and two children of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Francisco Vasquez, the soldier who sent the flag to the Monday family, have been flown out from Fort Campbell, Ky., for the game by Monday and wife Barbaralee.

Go West Young Man-- The Los Angeles Times reports that after months of discussions, the Dodgers have yet to reach an agreement to move their spring home to the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Ariz. Officials there hope to lure the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox to a new training complex, but the Glendale City Council adjourned for summer recess last week without receiving any agreement to consider. The council does not meet again until Aug. 15. The Dodgers are exploring a move to the Cactus League in order to train closer to their fan base, and the bigger crowds would improve their bottom line in spring training. However, the team has not committed to leaving its longtime spring home in Vero Beach, Fla.

Dodger Blue Notes-- After the game, Little said Furcal would return to the leadoff spot tonight. ... Arizona won eight of nine games at Dodger Stadium last season and is only 1-for-3 so far this year. …Furcal, dropped from leadoff to seventh in the lineup due to offensive problems, has scored 59 runs, on pace for 118 over a full season, the second-highest total for a Dodger in the last 44 years (Shawn Green had 124 in 2001). He's third in the National League in ratio of runs scored per times reached base at .466. …*M*A*S*H* Report-Mark Hendrickson, hit on the left biceps during his Saturday start, is still expected to make his next start Thursday night. Outfielder Ricky Ledee (pulled groin muscle) leaves soon for an injury rehab assignment at Jacksonville and he should be ready to be activated after the All-Star break. Jason Repko (sprained ankle) should be ready to begin a rehab assignment after the All-Star break.

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