How Do You Spell Penny? With 14 Ks!

Brad Penny was the center stage attraction Monday night in Miami, pitching seven shutout innings, striking out a career-high 14, winning his fourth game against no losses and tossing in a two-RBI single just for icing on the cake as the Dodgers took the first game of the series 6-1.

Penny was the ninth Dodgers pitcher to reach that figure, and was the first Dodgers pitcher to do that since Darren Dreifort in 2003. The Dodgers move to 19-13 and hold their lead in the NL West. The Pods beat the Braves 4-2, and the Giants played later on the West coast.

Miguel Cabrera broke up his perfect game with an infield single in the fourth and he allowed only five base runners during the game.

Penny, who's high for the season was four strikeouts and came into the game with but 15 strikeouts in his first 38.1 innings this season, matched that after facing his fifth Marlin of the evening and roared past it on the sixth batter. He rang up two in the first third and fifth innings as well as striking out the side in the second and fourth.

He nailed seven of the first nine he faced, had 10 strikeouts after four and 12 after five innings, using a fastball that hit 97 on the gun at times. Following no-decisions in his past three starts, he became the first Dodgers starter to begin a season 4-0 since Kaz Ishii in 2002.

After his 14th punch-out in the seventh, he put the record ball in his pocket and took the rest of the evening off. His previous personal record of 13 strikeouts was set against Montreal on June 26, 2001.

Jeff Kent lined his third homer of the season into the vacant left-field seats leading off the second inning. Russell Martin and Andre Ethier singled one out later and Andy LaRoche knocked in his first major league run with a fly ball to right field.

A four-run fourth inning pretty much put things out of reach. Kent doubled to left and with one out Martin tripled to deep right-center. Ethier was walked to get at a rookie and LaRoche made them pay with a sharp single to center. He stole his first base and scored when Penny bounced a single through the left side of a drawn-in infield.

LaRoche at that point hitting an even .400 after two games, may have enjoyed his highest major league career average with his father Dave watching from the stands.

Continuing the evening of first, LaRoche was hit on the hand by a pitch on his next trip to the plate and when the inning ended, Wilson Betemit took over at third base after hitting for Penny with a chance to collect his third pinch-hit homer in succession. However he struck out.

Rudy Seanez relieved Penny, who had thrown 110 pitches, in the eighth and gave up a home run to break the shutout but then worked a scoreless ninth to close things out.

The entire evening was unique. The Marlins lead the National League in runs scored -- and in strikeouts. And when Jorge Julio took over for starter Ricky Nolasco in the seventh his earned run average was 19.06 but after two scoreless innings he cut nearly five runs off that mark.

Mark Hendrickson (2-0, 1.30) faces Wes Obermueller (1-1, 3.07) and the Marlins tonight (Tuesday).
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	020 400 000-6
Florida	        000 000 010-6

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  0  2  0  .235  
Pierre cf	5  0  1  0  .279
Garciaparra 1b	5  0  0  0  .276
Kent 2b	        5  2  2  1  .301
Gonzalez lf	3  0  0  0  .279
Martin c	4  2  2  0  .321
Ethier rf	3  1  1  0  .278
LaRoche 3b	2  1  1  2  .333
 Seanez p	0  0  0  0  .000
Penny p	        3  0  1  2  .250
 Betemit ph-3b	1  0  0  0  .153
    Totals	36 6 10 6
    Florida     33 1  6 1

 2B- Kent (9). 3B- Martin (1). HR- Kent (3).
RBI- Kent (18), LaRoche 2 (2), Martin (20),
Penny 2 (2). SF- LaRoche. SB- LaRoche (1).
LOB- Los Angeles 10, Florida 5.

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Penny (4-0)	7.0  5  0-0  0  14  1.39
Seanez	        2.0  1  1-1  0   1  3.50
 HBP- LaRoche. T-2:27. Att- 12,252.