Penny worked seven strong innings and the Dodgers completed a remarkable sweep of the Mets in front of 46,894 delighted fans at Dodger Stadium. Jerry Steinfeld might have put his Mets cap under his coat instead of wearing it after the game.
"This guy is a better pitcher than he was last year," Dodgers manager Grady Little said of Penny after the game. "He was throwing harder last year but he has corralled himself, mentally and physically, and he has done a great job pitching." It was the Dodgers third three-game sweep of the season and the moved past Arizona into second place, a half-game behind the Padres.
The Dodgers were held to a single hit one walk through four innings but quickly broke up the game to help Penny win just his second of 17 career starts against the Mets. Sosa (6-2) left in the sixth, suffering his worst outing of the season.
Wilson Betemit opened the fifth inning with a solo home run (37) and added a RBI single in the sixth. Tony Abreu broke an 0-for-11 streak with two hits and one RBI, Rafael Furcal had two triples and one RBI, and Matt Kemp had three singles and one RBI in four at-bats. James Loney hit a two-run home run in the eighth off left-handed closer Billy Wagner.
Penny (8-1) entered the game with a career 6.16 ERA against the Mets, but after David Wright's RBI single in the first, Penny was in control until leaving after seven innings and 91 pitches, 60 of which were strikes. His 2.18 ERA is second in the NL to San Diego's Jake Peavy (1.82), and the Dodgers are 11-2 in games started by Penny.
Betemit's shot came off an 0-2 pitch over the center-field wall in the fifth for his second home run in as many nights. All seven of his home runs have come from the left side of the plate.
Kemp, hit a slow bouncer to the right side of the infield and beat Sosa to first base and moved to second on Penny's bunt. With two outs, Furcal hit a sharp ground ball just inside the first-base line for a RBI triple, and Juan Pierre followed with a single to right-center to score Furcal and give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
The game was afoot from that point on and the Dodgers earned a sweep at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1996. It didn't erase the Mets sweep in last year's playoffs but it was sweet none the less.
After a day off on Thursday, the Dodgers open a three-game series with the Angels Friday night, Lowe (6-6, 3.21 ERA) opposes Ervin Santana (5-6, 5.26) at Dodger Stadium.
Score by innings New York 100 000 000-1 Los Angeles 000 033 22x-9 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 4 2 2 1 .278 Pierre cf 5 0 2 1 .279 Garciaparra 1b 3 1 1 0 .273 Ethier lf 0 0 0 0 .261 Gonzalez lf 4 0 0 0 .287 Beimel p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saenz ph 1 0 0 0 .212 Tomko p 0 0 0 0 .000 Martin c 4 0 0 0 .291 Lieberthal c 0 0 0 0 .214 Betemit 3b 4 2 2 2 .223 Kemp rf 4 3 3 1 .464 Abreu 2b 4 0 2 1 .275 Penny p 1 0 0 0 .222 Loney 1b 1 1 1 2 .333 Totals 35 9 13 9 New York 33 1 8 1 2B- Abreu (10). 3b- Furcal 2 (3). HR- Betemit (7), Loney (1). RBI- Betemit 2 (19), Furcal (24), Pierre (14), Kemp (6), Abreu (3), Loney (4). S- Penny 2. SB- Garciaparra (2). LOB- Los Angeles 7, New York 5. DP- Abreu, Furcal and Garciaparra. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Penny (8-1) 4.0 7 1-1 0 7 2.18 Beimel 1.0 1 0-0 0 2 3.58 Tomko 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 5.43 T- 2:41, Att- 46,894.Historic Shot-- Matt Kemp's homer June 12 against the Mets was just the 16th to reach the Loge Level in Dodger Stadium history and the first since Olmedo Saenz accomplished the feat on July 27, 2005. Other Dodgers to accomplish the feat include: Frank Howard, 1963 World Series, Raul Mondesi, 1996, Todd Hundley 2000, Hiram Bocachica 2001, Milton Bradley 2004 and Olmedo Saenz 2005. Opponents include: Dave Kingman, NY Mets, 1976; Dave Parker, Cincinnati 1984; Nick Esasky, Cincinnati 1987; Carl Everett, Houston 1999; Wiki Gonzalez, San Diego 1999; Eddie Taubensee, Cincinnati 2000; Barry Bonds, San Francisco 2002; Todd Linden, San Francisco 2003 and Andruw Jones, 2005.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The schedule gives the Dodgers - who played 16 consecutive days - another off day Monday, but after that they will play 20 consecutive days heading into the All-Star break. ...Derek Lowe, Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf will pitch this weekend against the Angels, but Little declined to announce his rotation plans after that. Then there is Jason Schmidt. He had a great start (one hit in six innings), then was bombed (six runs in four innings). Since returning from seven weeks on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, Schmidt pitched six scoreless innings against San Diego, his fastball touching 91 mph, then was roughed up for six runs in four flat innings by Toronto, when he could reach no faster than 88 mph. He threw a short bullpen session and is throwing less between starts to see if his arm bounces back stronger. ...Matt Kemp, who had three hits to boost his average to .464, was back in the lineup replacing Andre Ethier who is in a 1-for-13 slide. ...After hitting the first Major League homer for a Taiwanese-born player, Hong-Chih Kuo said countryman and disabled Dodgers pitcher Chin-hui Tsao is an even better hitter. "He's right," said Tsao, who had the first Major League hit for a Taiwanese-born player. "But it's been a long time since I swing. A fastball, I hit it. A curveball? Long time, no see." Because he's relieving and no longer starting, Tsao has not had a Major League at-bat since 2003. ...Spanish-language broadcaster Pepe Yniguez will host an All-Star voting rally when Major League Baseball's All-Star Trolley makes a stop at Dodger Stadium during the Freeway Series this weekend. ...Former Dodger Jose Lima, whose shutout in the 2004 playoffs marks the clubs' only postseason victory in the last 18 years, is trying to earn another major league opportunity by pitching in the Mexican league. Lima is tied for the league lead in victories, with a 9-2 record and 3.87 ERA. ...Outfielder Larry Bigbie, who left the organization June 1 after the Dodgers had not promoted him from triple-A Las Vegas, signed to play for the Braves' Triple-A Richmond affiliate. ...