Valdez Shows Off in First Start

Wilson Valdez, tagged a career minor league player when he was obtained by the Dodgers and was the subject of questions when they put him on the 40-man roster, showcased the talents that he demonstrated during spring training, banging out three hits, fielding perfectly at shortstop and helping the club to a 4-1 win over the Giants as they pushed over the .500 mark with a 3-2 record.

It was the third win in a row in the young season and the eighth time in succession they had pinned a "W" on the Giants jerseys dating back to six straight last year.

Derek Lowe, after being soundly thumped by Milwaukee in his first start, displayed vintage stuff Saturday afternoon in AT&T Park, much to the dismay of 42,098 discontented fans.

He served up 15 ground ball outs during his seven innings of work, his sinker breaking to near-perfection. He allowed a single and a double in the second inning that recorded the only San Francisco run, then retired the next 17 of 21 batters with only a pair of walks and two singles scattered about.

Wilson Valdez, filling in for Ramon Martinez who is filling in for the injured Rafael Furcal at shortstop, whacked out three singles, scored a run, singled a runner into scoring position and handled six chances without a hitch, starting a double play in the seventh.

His offensive explosion obviously gives Manager Grady Little at third base where Wilson Betemit's average slid to a microscopic .067 despite driving in his second run of the season on a bases-loaded walk.

The Giants got on the board in the third when Ray Durham singled and Rich Aurilla doubled to center for a 1-0 lead. L.A. tied the game in the fourth on singles by Luis Gonzalez and Mike Liebenthal, and walks to Andre Ethier and Wilson Betemit.

The Dodgers pushed two more across in the fifth when Valdez collected his second single. Nomar Garciaparra also singled and Jeff Kent knocked them in with a double.

The ubiquitous Valdez came up with a third hit in the seventh, moving Juan Pierre, who had also singled, to third base where Garciaparra's fly ball made it 4-1.

After Lowe worked seven innings and threw 95 pitches, 64 of them for strikes, Jonathan Broxton gave up a single and then retired the side 1-2-3 on 16 pitches. Takashi Saito had smooth going in the ninth, using only eight pitches to out the final three Giants for his third save in three games. Overall the Dodger staff used only 119 pitches in the win, 84 for them for strikes.

Randy Wolf gets his first taste of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry when he starts today (Sunday) against new Giants ace Barry Zito in the series finale.
 Score by innings
Dodgers	000 120 100-4
Giants	010 000 000-1

 Dodgers	ab r h bi ave
Pierre cf	5  1  1  0  .143  
Valdez ss	4  1  3  0  .600
Garciaparra 1b	3  1  1  1  .235
Kent 2b	        4  0  1  2  .278
Gonzalez lf	4  1  1  0  .278
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
Liebenthal c	4  0  1  0  .250  
Ethier rf	3  0  1  0  .125
Betamit 3b	3  0  0  1  .067
Lowe p	        2  0  0  0  .000
 Brady lf	1  0  0  0  .000
    Totals	33  4  9  4
    Giants	31  1  5  1

 2B - Ethier (1), Kent (2). RBI- 
Betemit (2), Kent 2 (5), Garciaparra 
(3). SB- Pierre (1). DP- Valdez, 
Kent and Garciaparra. LOB- Dodgers 
6, Giants 5.

 Dodgers	 in  h  r-er bb so era
Lowe (1-1)	7.0  4  3-3  3  3  5.73
Broxton	        1.0  1  0-0  0  0  0.00
Saito (sv 3)	1.0  0  0-0  0  0  2.45
 Time- 2:45. Att- 42,098.
Assist to Lowe-- Al Balderas of the Orange County Register reports that Derek Lowe gave some important tip to young Jonathan Broxton after Broxton struggled during spring training. It was not lack of control, as Broxton thought, rather he was holding his glove hand with the fingers pointing across his body instead of straight up. As simple as that seemed, it made all of the difference in Broxton's world. Broxton has pitched two innings this season, allowing one hit while striking out three.

Moving Up the Charts-- Olmedo Saenz's pinch-hit double Wednesday in Milwaukee moved him two pinch-hits shy of tying Mickey Hatcher for seventh place on the Dodgers' all-time franchise list.

Saenz, who has 36 pinch-hits as a Dodger, is in eighth place on the L.A. Dodgers list, only five behind Mike Sharperson at 39 and in sixth place. Sanez is tied for fourth place on the career pinch-hit RBI list at 36 with Duke Snider.

Dave Hansen tops the career charts with 110 pinch-hits after passing Dodger great Manny Mota, who held both Major League mark for some time at 106.
The top 15:	        ab-hits	 ave
 1. Dave Hansen	        421-110  .261
 2. Manny Mota	        328-106  .323
 3. Chris Gwynn	        317- 52  .240
 4. Duke Snider 	147- 43  .293
    Mitch Webster	175- 43  .246

 6. Mike Sharperson	163- 39  .239
 7. Mickey Hatcher	156- 38  .244
 8. *Olmedo Saenz	124- 36  .286   
 9. Rick Monday	        156- 37  .193			
10. Lee Lacy	        117- 33  .282
    George Shuba	125- 33  .264

12. Len Gabrielson	124- 32  .258
13. Willie Crawford	130- 31  .239
    Von Joshua	        146- 31	 .212
15. Wally Moon	        141- 29  .206   	


Dodger Blue Notes-- Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt praised Brad Penny for his seven strong innings against the Giants in the opening game of the series. Penny picked up 13 ground balls while striking one one. "He pitched Friday night," Honeycutt told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. "Maybe not having his great fastball showed him he has the ability to pitch. You can't have your best stuff every night. But you can still pitch. He had confidence in his other weapons. He threw the breaking ball for strikes and used the splitter. Russell called a great game and he went off him. When Brad can throw other pitches in fastball counts and keep the hitters off-balance, that's huge." ...Kent's fifth-inning double gave him 1,385 career RBIs, moving him past Dwight Evans (1,384) for 65th on the all-time list. ...

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