Veteran Dodger aficionados can't recall seeing a club lose 13 of 14, the turn around and win 13 of 14, picking up nine games in 16 days, but it figures if any team could do it, they would.
With the win Los Angeles padded their National League West lead to 1 1/2 games over Arizona and San Diego in front of 53,695 Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
They even defied the revered "manager's book" when left-handed hitters J.D. Drew and Andre Ethier doubled and singled against lefty reliever Mike Stanton to set up Lugo's heroics.
Drew doubled into the right-field corner and Ethier, who entered the game hitting .370 (17 for 46) against lefties, including an eighth-inning homer Thursday, moved Drew to third with a sharp single to left.
Then Lugo, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and starting at third base in place of Wilson Betemit, slugged a long fly ball to center field, deep enough to score Drew with the go-ahead run.
Takashi Saito had pitched in three consecutive games and four of the past five so the Dodgers called on 22-year-old Jonathan Broxton, who pitched a perfect ninth inning to record his second save.
Broxton is clearly the heir-apparent for the closer's job. With a split-finger fastball providing a contrast to a 98-mph fastball, Broxton has exceptional physical tools. He also seems to have the makeup.
And the kid even sounds like Eric Gagne. After the game he told MLB.com, "I'll pitch whenever Grady [Little] wants me to. The adrenaline in the ninth inning always gives me a rush. I love when the game's in my hands. You get the three outs, and it's time to go home and come back tomorrow. I hold nothing back."
Mark Hendrickson had made three starts at Dodger Stadium with less than stellar success, losing two of them and posting a 6.67 earned run average. This night it was different.
Both success and failure are habit-forming, and the 6-9 lefthander allowed only two runs in seven innings, despiteallowing 10 hits, walked four and struck out three. Brett Tomko (8-6) came in to work the eighth, and benefitted from the late rallyto earn the victory, his second in four games.
The typical Dodger-Giant game was close with Nomar Garciaparra's first-inning sacrifice fly scoring Rafael Furcal to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead.
After Ray Durham singled to drive in Omar Vizquel and tie the score in the third, Jeff Kent's leadoff home run in the fourth gave the Dodgers the edge. Barry Bonds tied it again in the fifth when he rolled an RBI single through the left side of a shifted infield.
The Giants had a chance to break the tie in the seventh. With Bonds on first, Ray Durham hit a ball in the gap. Bonds moved to third but Durham was nailed at second by Andre Ethier's throw.
Quote of the Day--"This proves how unique this game is. This is baseball. This is what's great about the anticipation of the game. I use clichés a lot, but this proves it. We didn't care about [the 1-13 stretch]. It wasn't a back-breaker." Jeff Kent.
It was Furcal who again ignited the evening with a double and a run in the first inning. Over the last 14 games, Furcal is 7-for-14 in the first inning with six runs scored.
Maybe that's the Dodgers' "First Inning Lightning."
Score by innings San Francisco 001 010 000-2 Dodgers 100 100 01x-3 Dodgers ab r h bi ave Furcal, SS 4 1 2 0 .289 Lofton, CF 3 0 1 0 .309 Garciaparra, 1B 3 0 1 1 .331 Kent, 2B 3 1 1 1 .263 Drew, RF 4 1 1 0 .277 Ethier, LF 4 0 2 0 .348 Lugo, 3B 3 0 0 1 .297 Hall, C 2 0 0 0 .238 Betemit, PH 0 0 0 0 .283 Martin, C 0 0 0 0 .296 Hendrickson, P 2 0 0 0 .000 Repko, PH 1 0 0 0 .260 Tomko, P 0 0 0 0 .120 Saenz, PH 1 0 0 0 .304 Broxton, P 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 30 3 8 3 Giants 34 2 10 2 2B- Furcal (25), Drew (22). HR- Kent (11). RBI- Garciaparra (59), Kent (48), Lugo (31). S- Lofton. SF- Garciaparra; Lugo. LOB- Los Angeles 11, San Francisco 9. DP- (Lugo, Kent and Garciaparra). Dodgers in h r-er bb so era Hendrickson 7.0 10 2-2 4 3 4.05 Tomko (8-6) 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 4.76 Broxton (sv 2) 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 2.87 T- 3:01. Att- 53,695.MLB looking at Dodgers on Demand-- The commissioner's office is reviewing "Dodgers on Demand," the club's new interactive digital cable channel on which fans can choose between the archived broadcasts of several games from the club's history. MLB apparently is concerned the channel might violate baseball's Interactive Media Rights Agreement. Camille Johnston, the Dodgers' vice president for communications, issued a brief statement: "We launched the `Dodgers on Demand' video library with our sponsor, Time Warner Cable, to give L.A. Dodgers fans greater access to the team and its history," Johnston said. "We believe we are well within our local club rights to launch `Dodgers on Demand.' "
Dodger Blue Notes-- Chad Billingsley will remain in the Dodgers' rotation, despite struggling with his control. Manager Grady Little said "Last year, in the first week of September, Billingsley was throwing to catcher Russell Martin and they were trying to win a Southern League game in Jacksonville. This is a little different." …Rookie Andre Ethier's .348 batting average would be good enough to lead the National League if he had enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title. He needs 502 plate appearances at the end of a 162-game season and he had 302 through Friday's game. He'd need 200 more over the final 47 games, or about 4.4 plate appearances per game for every remaining Dodgers game, an unlikely occurance. Ethier leads National League rookies in batting, on-base percentage (.393) and slugging percentage (.569) and he's hitting .370 against left-handed pitching. …Chad Billingsley, who was troubled by a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand while walking six batters in five innings Thursday night, said he did not believe it would jeopardize his next start or bullpen session. Little indicated that the 22-year-old would be watched closely to determine if he would remain in the rotation. Veteran starter Aaron Sele, now in the bullpen, would be a likely replacement. …Disabled reliever Elmer Dessens said his minor ankle sprain is pretty much healed, and he will try to throw off a mound for the first time today. Dessens turned the left ankle last Friday night shagging fly balls during batting practice. He is eligible to be activated next weekend in San Francisco. …Brad Penny (12-5, 3.43) opposes Matt Cain (8-8, 4.62) in today's game on FOX TV.