Homemade L.A. Fireworks Burn DBacks

An 11-run outburst, coming from the second through the sixth inning, gave the Dodgers a second-straight blowout over the Arizona Diamondbacks and a return of the beanball war brought on the night before when Nomar Garciaparra was hit three times and Russell Martin plunked once. Shawn Green was hit in the hip in the ninth and the Dodgers leading 11-3 in what seemed like an apparent message.

Intentional or not -- and the Diamondbacks are certain it was intentional -- the win tightened up the top of the National League West, locking the Dodger, Rockies and Padres in a first place tie and leaving the Giants just a half-game back. Arizona slid 3.5 games deep in last place.
  N.L. West     w-l     pct   gb
LA Dodgers      43-40  .518   --
Colorado        43-40  .518   --
San Diego       43-40  .518   --
San Francisco   43-41  .512   0.5
Arizona         40-44  .476   3.5
With a sellout crowd of 55,816 hanging around for the Fourth of July fireworks, Los Angeles generated some fireworks of their own.

A 13-hit attack burned Arizona after they had put a pair of one-run innings up on the board. The Dodgers rolled up 11 runs before Arizona scored their final run in the seventh. And then Danys Baez drilled Green in the billfold in the ninth, sparking a verbal attack after the game that reminded many of their father's warning of letting sleeping dogs lie.

When Leo Durocher managed the Dodgers, what seemed like a lifetime ago, he was a great advocate of the game of intimidation. Push 'em off the plate and if you hit one or two, so what?

The "so what" turned out to be an anger that pitted the Dodger team against the ret of the league and cost them dearly in the long-run. One hopes that they can get by Arizona tonight before their pot boils over.

But the Diamondbacks were burning after the game and fired off a few choice words of their own.

"Go ask Baez and (Dodgers manager) Grady Little," Arizona left fielder Luis Gonzalez told reporters after the game. "They're the ones that (expletive) waited until late in the game to throw at him. It was (expletive) gutless. Go talk to them, so they can tell you the ball slipped out of his hand."

Meanwhile, in the other clubhouse, Baez vehemently denied hitting Green intentionally, barking an expletive of his own when told of Gonzalez's comments.

"I was trying to go inside, but the ball caught him and hit him," Baez said. "Everyone knows I pitch inside to everybody, so it's nothing new."

If nothing else, the old-time baseball should draw another capacity crowd tonight to see what will happen.

The he said, she said part of the game aside, Aaron Sele (5-2) shut down the Diamondbacks after allowing two early runs before leaving after six innings with his fifth win in his pocket..

He helped himself in the third inning, after bunting foul twice, by grounding a single into right field to keep what would become a five-run inning alive.

Kenny Lofton singled up the middle to score two and put the Dodgers in front 3-2. The red-hot Andre Ethier, who drove in four runs, would walk later in the inning with the bases loaded and Cesar Izturis tacked on another two-RBI single.

Recently-recalled veteran Giovanni Carrara allowed a run in a two-inning stint, and Rafael Furcal, returned to the leadoff spot after a one-day demotion with a pair of hits.

However, Lofton pulled his pesky hamstring in the sixth inning, and J.D. Drew was fouled a ball off his foot and had to leave the game. Jeff Kent, who didn't play because of pain in his left oblique, listed day to day.

The Dodgers, now 43-40, are 25-16 at home, where they are batting .307 for the season. But there are 11 games remaining this year between the teams and somewhere Leo must be smiling.
  Score by innings
Arizona  110 000 100- 3
Dodgers  015 131 00x-11
 
  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      4 0 2 0 .258
Lofton, CF      3 1 1 3 .292
  Kemp PR-CF    1 1 0 0 .291
Garciaparra, 1B 4 1 1 0 .360
  Saenz, PH-1B  1 0 0 0 .298
Drew, RF        2 3 2 1 .290
  Carrara, P    0 0 0 0 .000
  Alomar PH     1 0 0 0 .339
  Baez, P       0 0 0 0 .000
Martinez, 2B    3 1 0 0 .333
Ethier, LF      3 1 1 4 .344
Izturis, 3B     4 0 2 2 .250
Martin, C       2 2 2 1 .297
  Hall          1 0 0 0 .230
Sele, P         2 1 1 0 .176
  Cruz, RF      1 0 1 0 .240
    Totals     32 11 13 11
    Arizona    36  3  9  3

  2B- Drew 2 (14), Cruz 
(14). 3B- Ethier (2). RBI- 
Ethier 4 (28), Lofton 3 
(20), Izturis 2 (4), Martin 
(35), Drew (49). S- Furcal, 
Sele. SF- Lofton; Martin. 
LOB- Arizona 10, Los 
Angeles 5. CS- Izturis (2).

LA Dodgers    in h r-er bb so era
Sele (W,5-2) 6.0 7   2-2 1 5 3.05
Carrara      2.0 2 1-1 2 1 4.50
Baez         1.0 0  0-0 0 0 4.10
  WP- Carrara. HBP- Drew.
T- 2:47. Att- 55,816.
Full Circle-- The flag that Rick Monday, then an outfielder with the Chicago Cubs, saved from being burned by protesters 30 years ago at Dodger Stadium, returned for a special July 4th ceremony before the game.

"I may not have come full circle, but my wife, Barbaralee, and my brother-in-law James Casciari have," said Monday, who has been a broadcaster with the Dodgers since 1993. "It was 17 days ago they left our home at Vero Beach with the flag that I was able to take away from some guys 30 years ago, along with a flag that was in Iraq that was sent over to Barbaralee from Staff Sgt. Francisco Vasquez, who is from the Los Angeles area."

On the 30th anniversary Monday's historic saving the flag, (April 25th), The 101st Airborne MEDEVAC unit in Baghdad, took a flag that had flown over their headquarters, put it on one their emergency helicopters, and flew it in missions for 24 hours, then sent that flag to Monday. A group called the Patriot Guard Riders escorted Barbaralee and Jamie across country. They traveled through fourteen states displaying the two flags on its way to Dodger Stadium and the special ceremonies.

The field presentation was highlighted by a video message from Sgt. Vasquez, who's still stationed in Baghdad and whose family was flown out to Los Angeles by the Monday's.

Monday, who was a Marine Reserve in the late 1960's, hopes the ceremony and all the surrounding publicity will give attention to the American troops who are still stationed around the world.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers purchased the contract of reliever Giovanni Carrara from Las Vegas, giving the veteran right-hander a record third stint in Los Angeles. Carrara previously pitched for the Dodgers from 2000-02 and 2004-05. To clear a 25-man roster spot, the Dodgers optioned struggling reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to Las Vegas. And to clear a 40-man spot, they transferred outfielder Ricky Ledee (left groin) to the 60-day disabled list, but he will began his rehabilitation assignment at Jacksonville will be activated soon. …Brad Penny will make his final start before the All-Star break tonight, and Manager Grady Little said All-Star Brad Penny could be available out of the bullpen this weekend and will pitch an inning or two in next Tuesday's All-Star Game. … The Dodgers scored at least 10 runs in consecutive games for the first time since May 7 against Milwaukee and May 9 against Houston, when they had 10 and 12, respectively. ... Garciaparra singled in the third, extending his hitting streak to 16 games -- longest on the team this season. ... The Dodgers improved to 24-25 on July 4 since moving from Brooklyn in 1958. ... The crowd was the Dodgers' 11th sellout.

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