Old Slugger Brad Penny Gets The Job Done

Brad Penny got two signs from Manager Grady Little in the third inning with James Loney on first base. He didn't do either of them. Asked to bunt, he fouled it off. He also fouled off a hit-and-run play. Then, without a sign from the bench, he doubled to left to drive in the first run of the game.

Apparently inspired by their slugging pitcher, Rafael Furcal singled, Kenny Lofton tripled and when J.D. Drew added another single the Dodgers had a 4-0 margin and were on their way to their fifth win in a row.

Penny produced six strong innings, earning his 11th win of the season and his first since the All-Star break. He lowered his earned run average to 3.50 and boosted his batting average to .222, tops on the Dodger staff and putting him in line to win the "Old Slugger Award" given by Dodger Dugout to the leading hitter on the squad each year.

Relievers Elmer Dessens and Takashi Saito (save 10) combined with Penny on a solid four-hitter, with all three Reds' runs coming on solo homers by Ken Griffey Jr. and Scott Hatteberg off Penny, and Royce Clayton off Dessens.

With Brett Tomko, Joe Beimel and Jonathan Broxton used the night before, and Gio Carrara down and out because of suspected food poisoning, Little gave the ball to Dessens, who allowed a solo home run to Royce Clayton, the first run scored off him in seven innings with the Dodgers, but he also struck out four of the five batters he retired.

In the ninth Saito struck out the side for his 10th save. Between Dessens and Saito, seven of the last nine Reds outs recorded were strikeouts, and Penny added six for a team total of 13.

Penny didn't allow a hit after the fourth inning and only one walk, to Ryan Freel, whom he quickly picked off first base.

The Dodgers (52-55), who were nine games below .500 on the road, won their second straight and coupled with San Diego's third loss in a row, L.A. moved into a tie for third place and the division tightened up considerably.
National League West
                   w-l   pct  gb
San Diego         55-52 .514  --
Arizona           54-52 .509  0.5
Los Angeles       52-55 .486  3.0
Colorado          52-55 .486  3.0
San Francisco     52-56 .481  3.5
Greg Maddux (9-11, 4.69 ERA) will make his first start tonight with Eric Milton (6-6, 5.47 ERA) drawing the start for the Reds.
  Score by innings
Dodgers    004 010 000-5
Cincinnati 000 200 010-3

  Dodgers    ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS    5 1 1 1 .280
 Saito, P     0 0 0 0 .000
Lofton, CF    5 1 2 1 .294
Lugo, 2B-SS   3 1 0 0 .304
Drew, RF      4 0 1 1 .278
 Dessens, P   0 0 0 0 .000
 Martinez, 2B 1 0 0 0 .301
Ethier, LF    5 0 2 1 .343
Betemit, 3B   3 0 0 0 .289
Martin, C     3 0 0 0 .293
Loney, 1B     2 1 0 0 .260
Penny, P      3 1 1 1 .222
 Repko, RF    1 0 0 0 .296
    Totals   35 5 7 5
    Reds     29 3 4 3

  Error- Furcal.  2B- Penny (2), 
Ethier (14). 3B- Lofton (8). RBI- 
Penny (3), Furcal (38), Lofton 
(23), Drew (60), Ethier (42). LOB- 
Los Angeles 9, Cincinnati 3. 
SB- Lugo (19), Ethier (4). 
DP- (Martin-Furcal).

  Dodgers     in h r-er bb so era
Penny (11-5)  6.0 3 2-2 2 6 3.50
Dessens       1.2 1 1-1 1 4 4.13
Saito (sv 10) 1.1 0 0-0 0 3 2.42
  T- 3:05. Att- 22,110.
Tomko Wants to Close-- Brett Tomko, who is in the process of converting from starter to reliever, said his goal is to eventually be a closer. He quickly pointed out he isn't taking aim at Takashi Saito. who is 10-for-10 as a closer this year, but with Eric Gagne's future cloudy, he wanted to announce he is a candidate for the position next season.

Sele Odd-Man Out-- Manager Grady Little took the suspense out of the "who is the fifth starter" mystery but moving 36-year-old Aaron Sele into the bullpen. Little announced the decision after Sele allowed four runs and two homers in six innings, a good performance but apparently not good enough to save his starting job. The move keeps rookie Chad Billingsley and Mark Hendrickson remain in the rotation, although Little did not say as much. The suspicion is, that Sele, with a 7-4, 3.95 ERA record, could move back into the rotation if either of them stumble down the stretch. Sele's seven wins this year trail only Brad Penny (11) and Derek Lowe (8) although he has seven fewer starts. That means the rotation of will be Greg Maddux, Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, Mark Hendrickson and Brad Penny.

Who's on First-- Little pointed out that Jeff Kent is closer to coming off the disabled list than Nomar Garciaparra and could be activated this weekend in the Florida series. Little might move Kent to first base and send James Loney back to Las Vegas, but when Garciaparra returns, Little indicated the club would reduce the pitching staff from 12 to 11.

One More Time-- Outfielder Jayson Werth said he expects to undergo another exploratory operation next week on the left wrist that has sidelined him all season. Werth originally injured the wrist when he was hit by a pitch during Spring Training. At the time, it was believed he suffered a broken bone, but eventually, he required surgical repair of torn ligaments. Werth will play winter ball if the surgery goes well, hoping to return to action next year.

Maddux Was Waiting-- Greg Maddux said when he left the Braves as a free agent after the 2003 season, he delayed picking a new team, hoping he could sign with the Dodgers. But the franchise was in the process of being sold, and after the sale was completed, Maddux waited until general manager Paul DePodesta was hired on the eve of Spring Training, but no offer ever came and he ultimately signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs after camp opened.

Last Man Standing-- The recent trades of Cesar Izturis and Odalis Perez leave only Olmedo Saenz from the Dodgers' 2004 Division winners. Giovanni Carrara and Elmer Dessens were also on that roster, but left the club and were reacquired. Saenz joined the Dodgers for the start of the 2004 season, making him the longest continuously tenured Dodger in uniform. Eric Gagne, who was on the staff but has pitched little since, and Penny are the only other active Dodger who was in the organization at the end of 2004, but Penny missed the playoffs after injuring his arm.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories