Winning Streak Hits Five

VERO BEACH, Fla. --With fireworks exploding outside on the field, it was a tired Grady Little that met the writers after the Dodgers completed a split-squad sweep of St. Louis and Washington with a 6-3 victory in the nightcap. On fireworks night, the Dodgers had some pyrotechnics of their own, banging three home runs.

"It's been a long day," Little said, "but everything went very well. We hit the ball good all day long and it was good to see the balls leaving the park tonight."

After slipping by the Cardinals in Jupiter by a 3-2 margin in the afternoon, Little and his staff made the 140 mile roundtrip in time to guide the 'home' squad to another victory.

Starter Jason Schmidt gave up a walk, a double and a single in the first inning that cost him a pair of runs. He also allowed a solo home run in the third that banged off the scoreboard in left-center and Schmidt left after four having allowed four hits and three runs.

"He uncharacteristically battled but he got his work in," Little noted.

The Dodgers used a two-run homer by Lis Gonzalez, his first of the spring, and a two-run shot by Nomar Garciaparra, his third, to take a 4-3 lead after three and three relievers held onto the margin, giving Schmidt his first win of the spring.

Chad Billingsley, now officially a relief pitcher, allowed a leadoff single in the fifth, then walked a batter but retired the six he faced, recording three strikeouts.

Billingsley ran his scoreless streak to 8.1 innings, having allowed six hits and recording five strikeouts.

Elmer Dessens followed in the seventh and eighth with shutout innings, also allowed a single hit, and Joe Beimel easily closed the game out, fanning the final two Nationals for his first save and setting up the post-game fireworks.

The kids took over to score another pair of runs in the eighth inning. Wilson Valdez, still fighting for a roster slot, continued to impress everyone as he slugged his third home run to tie for the club lead. Sergio Garcia singled home Xavier Paul with the sixth, and final, run of the night.

A light, misty rain started to fall in the middle of the game and apparently the dark clouds made high popups difficult to see.

Jeff Kent was credited with a single in the third inning when pop eluded shortstop Josh Wilson and third baseman Kory Casto, falling on the infield dirt behind short.

Mike Liebenthal overran a foul high behind the plate, the ball falling a few feet behind him. Neither play had any bearing on the game.

Marlon Anderson, sidelined with a sore elbow since before the first game, made his 2007 debut and was hitless in two trips and drew a walk.

"He had some good swings," Little said. "He just needs to get more plate appearances."

Boston and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has attracted a sellout today (Friday). Brad Penny will start on the mound for the Dodgers.
  Score by innings 
 Washington	201 000 000-3
 Dodgers	022 000 20x-6

 Dodgers              	       ab  r  h  bi  ave
Rafael Furcal ss	        3  1  2  1  .375  	
 Olmedo Saenz 1b  	        1  0  0  0  .304
Russell Martin c	        3  0  0  0  .286
 Mike Liebenthal c 	        1  0  1  0  .286  	
Nomar Garciaparra 1b	        3  1  1  2  .227
 Xavier Paul lf	                1  1  0  0  .250
Jeff Kent 2b	                2  1  1  1  .375
 Sergio Garcia ss	        1  0  1  1  1.000
Luis Gonzalez lf	        2  1  1  2  .353  
 Luis Maza 2b	                1  0  1  0  1.000
Marlon Anderson dh 	        2  0  0  0  .000
 Alberto Conception dh	        1  0  0  0  .000
Wilson Betemit 3b	        3  0  1  0  .207
 Marshall McDougall 3b	        1  0  0  0  .333
Larry Bigbie rf	                2  0  0  0  .323
 Adam Godwin rf	                0  0  0  0  .000
Wilson Valdez cf	        3  1  1  1  .368
   Totals	               30  6  10  6	
   St. Louis	               32  3   6  3	

 Error- Liebenthal. 2b hits- 
Furcal (2). HR- Gonzalez (1), 
Garciaparra (3), Valdez (3). 
RBI- Gonzalez 2 (5), Garciaparra 
2 (6), Garcia (1). LOB- Dodgers 
4, Nationals 7. SB- Paul (1). 
CS- Garcia (1). 	

  Dodgers             	in  h  r-er  bb so  era 
Jason Schmidt (1-1)	4.0  4  3-3  3  3  6.55  
Chad Billingsley	2.0  1  0-0  1  3  0.00
Elmer Dessens	        2.0  1  0-0  0  2  1.29
Joe Beimel (sv 1)	1.0  0  0-0  0  2  3.60
 T- 2:25. A- 3,838.