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. ...