Dodgers Waste Great stary by Lowe

The lineup for a day game following a night game is usually unrecognizable but Thursday Dodger fans recognized it as the lineup that doesn't score any runs. Derek Lowe took a shutout into the ninth inning, then Josh Willingham whacked a pitch into the left-field seats and in no time the Dodgers were back on a plane and headed home.

Grady Little came up with different infield for getaway day. Nomar Garciaparra, 1-for-17 slump and all, was back at first with Ramon Martinez at second base instead of Jeff Kent, Wilson Valdez at shortstop instead of Rafael Furcal and Wilson Betemit at third base instead of Andy LaRoche.

With Furcal and his .226 average given a rest, Little moved Juan Pierre to leadoff and indicated he might switch his rabbits at the top of the order. But the shakeup didn't result in an increase in offense.

Derek Lowe kept his pitch count to a minimum, had shut out the Marlins for superb innings and had allowed few balls to be hit in the air or out of the infield. Perhaps the game mercifully ended with the homer in the ninth or they would have played until dawn.

Lowe, usually easy to talk with after games, initially declined to be interviewed, then finally relented and said "What am I going to say? I threw one down the middle, and he hit a home run."

And that is as close as any on the pitching staff would go toward saying something ugly about the club's offense.

"Derek Lowe pitched an unbelievable game," Nomar Garciaparra said. "I don't know what more you can ask for than what our starting pitcher just gave us. This loss isn't on his shoulders. This loss is on our shoulders, and on mine personally."

No one argued with him.

The Dodgers collected three hits, with Pierre getting two and a walk, plus stealing a pair of bases but was left on base three times, twice at third, the final time in the sixth and after that they left no one on base because no one got on base.

Helpfully, Atlanta beat San Diego and Colorado beat San Francisco so the Dodgers still lead the National League West, by 1 1/2 games over second-place Arizona. After a 3-4 trip they bring a road record of 12-8 back to Dodger Stadium where they are only 8-7.

During the seven day trip they scored 26 runs (3.71) and left a staggering 59 runners on base, an average of 8 1/2 per contest.

In the nine games before Furcal returned from the ankle injury he suffered late in spring training, Pierre went 8 for 38 in the leadoff spot, with just one walk. Since then, Pierre has hit .287 in the two-hole, while Furcal has struggled to a .226 average.

Randy Wolf (3-3, 4.61 ERA) opposes Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo (2-2, 2.85) tonight to open a six-game homestand.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 000 000-0
Florida	        000 000 00s-3

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre cf	3  0  2  0  .275
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .319
Garciaparra 1b	4  0  1  0  .267
Gonzalez lf	3  0  0  0  .261
Ethier rf	3  0  0  0  .283
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .231
 Clark rf	0  0  0  0  .000
Betemit 3b	3  0  0  0  .159
Valdez ss	3  0  0  0  .245
Martinez 2b	2  0  0  0  .176
Lowe p	        3  0  0  0  .143
  Totals	29 0 3 0
  Florida	28 3 5 3

 Error- Betemit (1). SB- Pierre 2 (14).
LOB- Los Angeles 5, Florida 3. DP- Martinez,
Valdez and Garciaparra 2.

 Los Angeles	ab  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe (3-4)	8.1  5  3-2  3  6  3.61
 T- 2:07. Att- 20, 345.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Jason Schmidt's recovery from a shoulder injury took a step forward when he threw off a mound. After feeling good playing catch before the game, he switched to the mound in the Dodgers bullpen and made 20 pitches to bullpen coach Dan Warthen. ...Yhency Brazoban may be the man Little chooses to go to when/if he adds a 12th pitcher. The righthander pitched two scoreless innings for Las Vegas for the first time since undergoing Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. In six appearances with Las Vegas, he has seven strikeouts and three walks in seven innings and a 1.29 ERA. Lefthander Hong-Chih Kuo is working as a starter for the 51s and has 15 strikeouts in 8.1 innings for Las Vegas and will start again Saturday.

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