Pierre Rattles Rattlesnakes as Dodgers Sweep

Critics pounded the Dodgers when the signed Juan Pierre as a free agent over the off-season, claiming they overpaid for the swift outfielder. But the same could be said for any free-agent signing and Tuesday night Pierre demonstrated how disruptive he could be, slashing a double and a tie-breaking triple, scoring three runs and keying the 6-4 win and a sweep over Arizona.

Chad Billingsley, who had replaced starter Brett Tomko in the sixth, pitched the seventh and earned the win. The the dynamic duo of Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito wrapped up the victory with scoreless innings. It increased to 13 the scoreless innings pitched by the bullpen since allowing a run.

In fact, the only run given up by a Dodgers reliever in the past 21.2 innings came off Hendrickson, and that was in a five-inning stint after Schmidt was knocked out of the box Saturday night against San Diego.

Has a 7.2 scoreless string going and over his last 38 outings dating back to last July, he has a 1.13 ERA.

Their efforts helped the Dodgers to improve to baseball's best record of 10-4 and extend their National League West lead to 1 1/2 games over the second-place Diamondbacks.

Tomko, was inconsistent, allowing four runs on eight hits, walking four batters and threw far too many pitches. But he battled through five to reach the bullpen and the win.

Pierre, who earlier had doubled and scored twice, tripled home Valdez, with the tie-breaking run in the seventh and scored on an overthrow for his third run of the game. Jeff Kent had three hits and five Dodgers drove in runs.

Pierre reached base on a fielder's choice in the first inning and scored when Kent doubled off the top of the wall near the 413-foot marker in left-center field to tie Babe Ruth for 39th on the all-time doubles list at 506.

After the Diamondbacks had tied the game 1-1 in the fourth, Los Angeles moved back in front when Russell Martin's single scored Kent and Wilson's Betemit's sac fly added a second run.

Arizona scored three times in the fourth, helped by Tomko's error, before Garciaparra doubled to deep center, scoring Pierre to again tie the contest.

Coming of a sparkling start, Tomko was helped by two double plays, but allowed a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning when he fielded a ground ball and threw it past first base down the right field line.

The Dodgers move to Colorado for a pair of games and leadoff with Derek Lowe who made three starts at Coors Field last year and worked at least six innings in each.
 Score by innings
Dodgers	100 210 200-6
Arizona	010 300 000-4

 Dodgers	ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss	4  0  1  0  .190
Pierre cf	5  3  2  1  .200
Garciaparra 1b	5  0  1  1  .296
Kent 2b	        4  1  3  1  .280
Gonzalez lf	2  1  1  0  .300
 Clark lf	0  0  0  0  .308
Martin c	4  0  1  1  .347
Betemit 3b	2  0  0  1  .071
 Billingsley p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .167
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saito	        0  0  0  0  .000
Tomko p	        2  0  0  0  .000
 Valdez 3b	1  1  0  0 .400
   Totals	34 6  9 5
   Arizona	33 4 11 3

 Error- Tomko (1), Furcal (1). 
2B- Lent (5), Pierre (2, Garciaparra 
(6) 3B- Pierre (1). RBI- Kent (9), 
Martin (8), Betemit (4), Garciaparra 
(11), Pierre (2). SF- Betemit. SB- 
Valdez (1). DP- Kent, Furcal and 
Garciaparra; Saito and Furcal; 
Tomko, Furcal, Garciaparra.  

 Dodgers	    in  h  r-er bb so era
Tomko	           5.0  8  4-2  4  1  1.64
Billingsley (1-0)  2.0  1  0-0  1  2  4.91
Broxton	           1.0  1  0-0  0  1  0.00
Saito (sv 6)	   1.0  1  0-0  0  1  1.17
 HBP- Valdez. Time- 3:11. Att- 25,735.
Schmidt on DL-- The Dodgers put pitcher Jason Schmidt on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after an MRI revealed bursitis in his right shoulder. But the Dodgers would not would say definitively that Schmidt's shoulder inflammation is the reason for the dropoff in his velocity. Schmidt told head trainer Stan Conte after his last start that he was feeling discomfort in his shoulder and was having trouble getting warm in the bullpen. Schmidt will rest until the inflammation dissipates, then will begin a throwing program.

Tsao Recalled-- Reliever Chin-hui Tsao was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Schmidt on the staff but didn't designate a starter to replace Schmidt although Mark Hendrickson seems to be the obvious choice.

Kemp to Rehab in Vegas-- Outfielder Matt Kemp who has been on the DL with a slight shoulder separation, isn't eligible to come off the DL until April 25, but will begin a rehabilitation assignment with the 51s tonight. In other *M*A*S*H* news, RHP Yhency Brazoban, recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2006, is scheduled to begin his rehab with a 20-pitch start on Tuesday night at Inland Empire. Brazoban's rehab will probably take 30 days. Lefty Hong-Chih Kuo who is out with shoulder inflammation, will pitch a simulated game at Dodger Stadium before Friday's game with Pittsburgh.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Takashi Saito has converted his last 16 save opportunities dating back to last season, the third-longest active streak in baseball.  Saito trails Mike Gonzalez, who finished last year with a 24-save streak but has not earned a rescue this season and Billy Wagner, who ended 2006 with 18 consecutive saves and has added three in 2007. ...The Dodger pitching staff has been outstanding to begin the season, ranking third in the National League with a 2.97 staff ERA. The starters have eight wins, which leads the NL and a 3.27 ERA which ranks third. The bullpen has a 2.43 ERA (11 ER/40.2 IP), which comes in at fourth in the league. The Dodger relief corps is also holding the league to a .219 batting average. ...The Dodgers are 7-0 when they allow three runs or less and 7-0 when they score four or more runs. When they out-hit their opponent, they are 7-0 and when the starting pitcher has a quality start, they are also 7-0 this season. ...A quick check around the early season leader boards reveals that Russell Martin is tearing it up. The Dodger catcher is among the league leaders in average (.347, 6th), runs (13, T-2), hits (17, T-6), stolen bases (4, T-3) average vs. left-handers (.500, T-4) and night batting average (.394, 4th). Nomar Garciaparra ranks among the best in RBI (11, T-6), multi-hit games (7, T-3) and average with runners in scoring position (.500, T-2). Luis Gonzalez also has six multi-hit games and he is tied for first in the NL with two outfield assists. Juan Pierre is second in the NL with five stolen bases. ...Dodger catcher Russell Martin extended his hitting streak to nine games last night, which is a Dodger season high. Martin is hitting .394 (13-for-33) during the run with five RBI and nine runs scored. Nomar Garciaparra also continued his modest hitting streak which now stands at seven games (12-for-28, .429). Garciaparra belted his first home run of the season last night and finished up the recent six-game homestand hitting .391 (9-for-23).