The Dodgers scored twice in the third on a Jeff Kent single and a ground ball by Luis Gonzalez, then added another pair of runs in the fifth on consecutive doubles by Russell Martin and Andre Ethier.
A swirling blanket of smoke from fires burning in the Everglades made visibility difficult but as the game went along, that may have been a merciful turn of events.
Mark Hendrickson brought a 1.30 earned run average into the game but his control deserted him in the fourth and he walked three, missing the inside corner of the plate by the smallest of margins.
While he escaped that mess, he was not so fortunate in the fifth. Having used 40 pitches over the first three innings, he used up 36 in a scoreless fourth and 27 more before leaving with two out in the fifth.
Hanley Ramirez opened with a triple down the right field line and when Ethier's relay came into Kent, the Dodger second baseman fumbled the throw and it rolled a little ways away. While Kent walked over to pick it up, Ramirez scored easily from third and the downward spiral had begun.
Kent admitted after the game he had put his head down, not anticipating that the runner would attempt to score. "That was the first time that happened to be in my career. I got burned." It was his sixth error of the season, high among N.L. second basemen.
Rafael Furcal fumbled a six hopper at short and Miguel Cabrera slugged a 447-foot shot into the towering second deck to tie the game. A double and an intentional walk off struggling Hendrickson precluded the arrival of Chin-hui Tsao.
Hendrickson, who had issued free passes to five opposing hitters in 27+ innings, gave up four in this start, including the three in the fourth inning. His era jumped to 1.95 since only three of the five runs he allowed were earned.
The rescue effort lasted one pitch, which was lined into the right field corner to drive in the fourth run of the inning. Ethier's throw again came in to Kent and he allowed it to bounce on toward home plate. First baseman Nomar Garciaparra dove for the ball but it eluded him and trickled on to Martin well to the right of the plate. He grabbed it and tagged the ubiquitous Olivo at home.
Now trailing 5-4, the Dodgers got shutout innings from Tsao, Chad Billingsley (on three straight strikeouts) and Joe Beimel.
However the offense was stymied until Ethier led off the eighth with a bouncer to first base. The ball was fumbled, then thrown past the pitcher covering. Charitably called a hit, the error allowed Ethier to move to second.
He smartly moved to third on Andy LaRoche's ground ball to third, then scored the tying run n a wild pitch.
Jonathan Broxton took over in the last of the ninth and, using his slider almost exclusively, gave up a single, Martin added a passed ball and with one out Cabrera collected his third RBI of the game on a shot into right field to drive in the winning run.
The final 14 Dodger plate appearances were marred only with the questionable hit and subsequent error.
The top three in the batting order, Furcal, Juan Pierre and Garciaparra, were a collective 1-for-13; Garciaparra finished the night in an 0-for-10 and 1-for-13 funk and Gonzalez ran his mini-slump to 1-for-10.
Ethier singled twice and doubled and Martin banged out a pair of doubles while Kent singled twice and Dodger fans in attendance were grateful only for the fact none of the Los Angeles players were injured in the Halloween setting.
It wasn't a great night for the N.L. West. San Diego lost to Atlanta, San Francisco lost to the Mets and Colorado lost to the Cardinals while Arizona gained a game on everyone by beating Philadelphia. San Francisco and San Diego trail the Dodgers, now 19-14, by one, Arizona is 1.5 back and Colorado is five behind.
Hoping for a more normal evening, Brett Tomko (0-3, 4.40 ERA) opposes Dontrelle Willis (5-1, 5.44 ERA) Wednesday (tonight).
Score by innings Los Angeles 002 020 010-5 Florida 010 040 001-6 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 4 1 0 0 .225 Pierre cf 5 1 1 0 .278 Garciaparra 1b 4 0 0 0 .268 Kent 2b 5 1 2 1 .305 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Gonzalez lf 4 0 0 0 .269 Martin c 4 1 2 1 .327 Ethier rf 4 1 3 1 .298 LaRoche 3b 2 0 1 0 .375 Hendrickson p 3 0 0 0 .000 Tsao p 0 0 0 0 .000 Billingsley p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz ph 1 0 0 0 .227 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Valdez 2b 0 0 0 0 .244 Totals 35 5 9 4 Florida 33 6 9 5 Error- Kent (6), Furcal (4). 2B- Martin 2 (10), Ethier (5). RBI- Kent (19), Gonzalez (13), Martin (21), Ethier (15). LOB- Loa Angeles 8, Florida 8. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Hendrickson 4.2 5 5-3 4 2 1.95 Tsao 1.1 2 0-0 0 0 3.55 Billingsley 1.0 0 0-0 0 3 4.50 Broxton (1-1) 1.1 2 1-1 1 1 1.59 PB- Martin (2). T- 2:58. Att- 11,124.Yeager Injured-- Tony Jackson, of the Los Angeles Daily News, reports that former Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager, now the hitting coach for the club's Inland Empire affiliate in San Bernardino, received close to 300 stitches in his right arm, neck and ear following a two-vehicle accident on the 134 Freeway as he was returning home from Saturday's game with Rancho Cucamonga.
?According to various sources, Yeager swerved at the last moment to avoid being crushed by another vehicle, which had struck the median on the opposite side of the freeway, had gone airborne and was about to come down on top of Yeager's vehicle. Yeager has been released from the hospital and is expected to be sidelined for at least another week or two.
?"I talked to him, and he is in great spirits," Dodgers player development director DeJon Watson said. "He is going to go back and see a plastic surgeon about the scarring on his arm. He is still very sore, and every day, he feels different aches and pains." Anderson Surgery-- Pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson has new bone chips and scar tissue in his right elbow and will have surgery for the third time Friday. Our comment "wink, wink" was apparently well off base. Anderson irritated the elbow two weeks into Spring Training, when it was described by the club as "soft tissue irritation," and missed exhibition games until the final week of March. Anderson said he also had surgery on the elbow 10 years ago when he was in the Minor Leagues. According to manager Grady Little, Anderson is expected to be sidelined for two months.
June 7 Draft on TV-- At last, Major League Baseball's draft will be covered on TV, with ESPN2 televising the proceedings on June 7 from 2-6 p.m. That also means the draft will also get a physical location for the first time, instead of just a telephone conference call. The event will be held at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. The first and compensation rounds will be televised, while the remaining rounds will return to the traditional conference-call format. ESPN2 will air each club's first-round choice, and teams will have a maximum of five minutes to make their picks during the first round. Following the pick-by-pick coverage of the first round, the telecast will continue until 6. The draft remains a 50-round affair, so after the completion of ESPN2's coverage, the first day of the draft will continue until about 8:30 p.m. The selections will pick up the next day around 11:30 a.m., and then will continue until the draft is over and while ESPN2 will not cover the second day of the Draft, you can count on LADugout.com to have complete information on each round, each day.
First Inning Blues-- Randy Wolf averaged 25 pitches per first inning in his seven starts this season. His ERA in the opening frame is an ugly 10.29 but it drops to 3.44 after that. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, with a smile on his face, suggested that Wolf take a few batters to the bullpen when he warms up so that he can pitch his first inning there. That way he can start the game in what would seemingly be the second inning. Although Wolf threw 31 pitches in the first inning of Sunday's game in Atlanta, he allowed only a single run and felt that he was on the way to solving the problem.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Brad Penny's 14 strikeouts Monday night were the most by a Dodger since Chan Ho Park fanned 14 on Aug. 29, 2000 at Milwaukee. Penny became the ninth Los Angeles Dodger pitcher to fan 14 or more in a game, joining Sandy Koufax (12 times), Hideo Nomo (3), Fernando Valenzuela (3), Don Drysdale (3), Park (1), Ramon Martinez (1 -when he tied the club record of 18), Orel Hershiser (1), Bill Singer (1) and Johnny Podres (1). Penny, whose 293 strikeouts at Dolphin Stadium rank fifth all-time, lowered his ERA to 1.39, the second-best mark in the Majors. Mark Hendrickson, who had an 1.30 ERA before his start Tuesday, does not have enough innings to qualify. ... The last time a Dodger pitcher struck out 14 and walked zero was on Sept. 9, 1965 when Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. ... Second baseman Jeff Kent passed Vladimir Guerrero and Andruw Jones and tied George Foster for 75th place on the all time HR list, with his homer Monday night, number 348. In addition, his double in the fourth inning of game (#510) put him into a tie with Rickey Henderson for 38th on the all-time list. He trails Mark Grace by one. ...The last complete game by a Dodgers pitcher June 22 by Derek Lowe, a span of 122 games going into Tuesday night's game. ...Team doctor Frank Jobe is recovering from back surgery performed last month. ...Former Dodger Scott Proctor, now a Yankee, was suspended for 4 games for throwing out Mariners SS Yuniesky Betancourt on Sunday and manager Joe Torre was "suspended" for 1 game. ...