Penny, Broxton, Saito Provide Whitewash

Some say baseball is a game of inches. But those who watch it closely, know it is less than that. Disaster stood beside starter Brad Penny Wednesday night and smiled as he missed the plate with regularity in the first inning, throwing six strikes in a span of 19 pitches and loading the bases with one out.

He was close to the plate, but as they say, close only counts in horseshoes. When the fine-tuned his controls the night was pretty much over for the Rockies and L.A. recorded a 2-0 victory.

Rockies seemed intent on ridding themselves of Penny in a 24-pitch first inning, but with the bases loaded, he nailed Matt Holliday with a third strike and Brad Hawpe grounded out.

"I wasn't missing by much," Penny said. "I was right around the plate. I got out of it, and after that I was fine."

Penny grew stronger as the night went along, allowing only two hits through 6.1 innings and the game was over after the third inning for all intents and purposes. The Dodgers scored three times with two out, shut down the offensive machine and turned things over to the pitching staff.

They didn't falter and came away with a two-hit shutout, the first whitewash of the young season, and the fifth win in the last six games.

Penny has made a habit of handling his cousins from Colorado roughly, boosting his career record against them to 11-2 over 17 games. His earned run average is in the Hall of Fame category (2.59) an although the first inning gave the 35.852 fans in attendance a momentary scare, the issue was never in doubt after that.

The fans also enjoyed the patter of little feet in the three-run third inning.

With two out, Juan Pierre wafted a soft single to short left field and Russell Martin, who has sparkled in the #2 batting slot, singled sharply to right.

Then Los Angeles native 6-8 Jason Hirsh, stood transfixed on the mound as Pierre and Martin pulled off a double steal, the move so surprised the Rockies pitcher that they didn't draw a throw despite his wildly gesturing catcher.

Nomar Garciaparra, who finished the night hitting a solid .200, demonstrated that average is not all that important by slashing a single off the flustered Hirsh to knock both runners in. He moved to second on a balk and scored when Jeff Kent singled for a 3-0 Dodger lead.

Game, set and match.

After 65 pitches in the first three innings, Penny then retired 11 straight, using only 43 pitches, before hitting Chris Iannetta with a pitch in the seventh inning and was given the rest of the evening off by Manager Grady Little.

Jonathan Broxton thundered through five batters in the seventh and eighth and Takashi Saito had little trouble in the ninth, nailing the decision down with his fifth save in five tries.

All three pitchers had what many perceived as trouble during spring training but obviously they were working on something and apparently found what they were looking for.

"The guy was outstanding," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "From the fourth inning on, he hit a groove and he kept getting stronger and stronger."

Penny has allowed just 12 hits, walked five and given up no home runs in his first two starts and has a 2-0 record to show for it.
 Score by innings
Rockies	    000 000 000-0
Dodgers     003 000 00X-3

 Dodgers	ab r  h  bi ave
Pierre cf	4  1  1  0  .211
Martin c	4  1  1  0  .323
Garciaparra 1b	4  1  2  2  .235
Kent 2b	        3  0  1  1  .281
Gonzalez lf	3  0  2  0  .323
Valdez ss	3  0  0  0  .368
Ethier rf	3  0  0  0  .118
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
Betemit 3b	3  0  0  0  .053
Penny p	        2  0  0  0  .200
 Clark rf	1  0  0  0  .333
    Totals	30 3 7 3
    Rockies	29 0 2 0
	
 RBI- Garciaparra 2 (6), Kent (6). 
SB-Pierre (3), LOB- Los Angeles 5, 
Colorado (8).

 Dodgers	 in  h  r-er bb so era
Penny (2-0)	6.1  2  0-0  4  3  0.68
Broxton	        1.2  0  0-0  0  1  0.00
Saito (sv 5)	1.0  0  0-0  1  2  1.59
 Time- 2:34. Att- 35,852.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories