Wolf Gobbles Up Little Reds Hitters

He wasn't disguised as anyone's grandma, so the children's tale won't completely fit the story, but Randy Wolf nevertheless took a bite out of the Cincinnati offense Friday night, allowing four hits and leaving fans in Dodger Stadium to enjoy a fireworks show with his fourth win of the season tucked in his pocket.

It isn't often a pitcher can survive a 42-pitch first inning but Wolf not only survived, he cruised through 115 pitches and seven innings and then put the game into the capable hands of Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito who closed it out.

Wolf threw a few extra warmup pitches before the game to offset his usual first inning yips and despite coming in with a 10.29 first inning earned run average he battled through it to earn the win.

Saito made things interesting in the ninth when he struck out former Dodger infielder Juan Castro to end the game, leaving Ken Griffey Jr. stranded at third base.

Dodgers moved up to 21-15 and stay 1 1/2 games in front of second-place Arizona in the NL West. The DBacks beat Houston 4-1, San Francisco beat the Rockies 8-2 and San Diego blanked the Cardinals 7-0.

Nomar Garciaparra, who came into the game in a 1 for 17 slump, went 3-for-4 but it was Russell Martin's bases-loaded, two-RBI single to center in the first inning that provided all the Dodger offense.

Russell Martin hit a bases-loaded, two-RBI single to center in the first to give the Dodgers the only runs of the game. "All around, this guy has got to be one of the best catchers in the league," Manager Grady Little said. "He's doing a good job catching and playing in all phases of the game. We're proud he's one of us."

After Rafael Furcal lined out to open the first inning, Juan Pierre got the first of his two singles and Garciaparra walked. Jeff Kent flew to center and Luis Gonzalez walked to load them up for the young catcher. He didn't disappoint the crowd of 49,588 and after his two-run single Andre Ethier walked to re-load the bases.

Hopes for a big inning didn't materialize but in Wolf's capable left hand, the two runs ended up being a big inning.

Pierre made a sparkling catch in the second with a runner on and one out. He ran back a long way on a ball hit by Castro to the warning track, fell on his butt and juggled the ball but held on for the out.

Wolf was solid from the outset, locating his fastball and dropping his big curveball over the plate for strikes. He struck out the first batter of the game got the second on a fly to right, gave up a single to Ken Griffey Jr. and then threw a ground ball that resulted in a force at second.

He was greeted in the dugout as if he had just completed the seventh inning, with everyone cognizant of his first-inning woes. He wanted to surpass the 100-pitch mark and for the first time, worked through the seventh.

"I felt strong out there, and I wanted to get into that seventh inning," Wolf said. "Grady asked me how I felt after the sixth and I said, 'Good.'"

Despite the welcome win, the offensive problems persist. They left 10 on base, leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and runners in scoring position in the second, sixth and seventh innings.

Martin and Pierre had a pair of hits each, and Garciaparra, struggling with a 1-for-17 streak, added three, including a double.
 Score by innings
Cincinnati	000 000 000-0
Los Angeles	200 000 00x-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  0  0  .218
Pierre cf	4  1  2  0  .281
Garciaparra 1b	3  1  3  0  .284
Kent 2b	        4  0  1  0  .296
Gonzalez lf	3  0  0  0  .254
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
Martin c	4  0  2  2  .325
Ethier rf	3  0  0  0  .275
LaRoche 3b	3  0  0  0  .308
Wolf p	        3  0  0  0  .125
 Clark lf	1  0  0  0  .263
   Totals	32 2 8 2
   Cincinnati	32 0 5 0

 2B- Garciaparra (9). RBI- Martin 2 (23). 
LOB- Los Angeles 10, Cincinnati 7.

 Los  Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Wolf (4-3)	7.0  4  0-0  0  11  3.94
Broxton	        1.0  0  0-0  1   1  1.40
Saito (sv 11)	1.0  1  0-0  1   1  1.59
 T- 2:29. Att- 49,588.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Outfielder Marlon Anderson didn't have a bone chip in his elbow -- he had four of them, all of which were removed during arthroscopic surgery that also removed scar tissue on Friday morning. This is Anderson's third surgery on his right elbow and the second time in six months that he has had have bone chips and scar tissue removed. ...Shortstop Rafael Furcal missed most of Spring Training after he sprained his ankle colliding into center fielder Jason Repko on March 22. But he said he felt he was seeing the pitches better and was starting to hit the ball hard. He hit .280 on the recent seven game road trip. ...Outfielder Matt Kemp's bat is making noise at Las Vegas in hopes that someone in Los Angeles might need a hard hitting righthander. hit a home run and scored two runs on Thursday. Kemp is batting .304 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 17 games with the 51s. ...The Dodgers Brad Penny and his 4-0, 1.39 record against Reds righty Kyle Lohse (1-3, 3.21) tonight at Dodger Stadium in the second game of the three-game series. The Dodgers began a stretch of 15 consecutive games in Southern California. They opened a six-game homestand against the Reds and Cardinals and will play three games in Anaheim before returning home for six more games, three each with Milwaukee and Chicago.

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