Dodgers Get a Needed Break After 9-3 Win

The Dodgers are an observant bunch and watched Florida bang out three home runs Saturday night. So on the final game of the Marlin series, they smacked a pair of their own and rang up 10 hits and eight runs in the first two innings, then sailed in with a 9-3 win in the final game before the all-star break, ending a four-game losing streak at the same time.

Mark Hendrickson, pitching on short rest, for a moment didn't quite know what to do with the largess, entering the game having been given the worst run support of any pitcher in baseball with a minimum of 163 innings since the start of 2006 -- 3.21 runs.

Obviously he enjoyed working with a lead, taming the Marlin bats that had wrecked starters Chad Billingsley and Derek Lowe in the first two games of the series.

He finished his five innings of work having allowed four hits and a pair of tainted runs, both coming in the third inning. Florida strung together a single off Henderson's leg, a fly ball double to right center that Juan Pierre ran down but couldn't keep in his glove, then Luis Gonzalez overthrew the cutoff man attempting to cut down the runner at home and finally a sac fly.

L.A. got on the board in the first on a bunt and a bomb. Pierre's push bunt gave him an easy infield single and Martin, who was making his 80th start, promptly put the Dodgers up 2-0 with a shot into the left field seats. It was the 11th for the All-Star catcher, one more than he hit all last season.

Gonzalez walked, Nomar Garciaparra singled and Matt Kemp beat out an infield hit, pulling his right hamstring in the bargain. Ramon Martinez singled for a 3-0 first inning lead.

Five more clattered across the plate in the second with Martin' single to right scoring one and Garciaparra's single to left scoring another. Andre Ethier, taking over for Kemp in right field, boomed a shot over the wall in left-center for his sixth home run and suddenly L.A. had eight runs on 10 hits.

Henderson left after five and Eric Stults took over, working three and allowing a single run. Chin-hui Taso worked a scoreless ninth.

Every Dodgers hitter in the starting lineup had at least one hit; Pierre (who ran his hit total to 105 at the break), Martin, Gonzalez, Garciaparra and Ethier each had two. The Dodgers snapped a four-game losing streak and head into the All-Star break at worst two games behind the first-place Padres, who played a night game in San Diego against the Braves.

The Dodgers enter the break 49-40, three games ahead of last season's pace. They get four days off -- all except Martin, Penny and Saito who will play in the All-Star Game -- before heading to San Francisco to play a three-game series on Friday (the 13th) at AT&T Park. Right-hander Chad Billingsley (5-0, 3.62 ERA) will oppose San Francisco's Matt Cain (3-9, 3.53).
	
 Score by innings
Florida	        002 001 000-3
Los Angeles	350 100 00x-9

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  2  0  .273
Pierre cf	5  2  2  0  .282
Martin c	2  3  1  3  .306
 Lieberthal c	2  0  1  0  .222
Gonzalez lf	5  1  2  0  .294
Garciaparra 3b	4  0  2  1  .276
Loney 1b	5  1  1  0  .385
Kemp rf	        1  0  1  0  .385
 Ethier rf	3  1  2  3  .282
Martinez 2b	4  0  1  2  .159
Hendrickson p	3  0  0  0  .000
 Stults p	1  0  0  0  .500
 Saenz ph	1  0  0  0  .206
 Tsao p	        0  0  0  0  .000
   Totals	40 9 16 9
   Florida	33 3  8 3

 HR- Martin (11), Ethier (7). RBI- Martin 3 (60), 
Martinez 2 (9), Garciaparra (42), Ethier 3 (34).
LOB- Los Angeles 12, Florida 7. DP- Furcal, 
Martinez and Loney.

 Los Angeles	        in  h  r-er bb so  era
Hendrickson (3-4)	5.0  4  2-2  1  6  4.02
Stults	                3.0  3  1-1  2  1  3.00
Tsao	                1.0  1  0-0  0  1  3.00
 T- 3:00/ Att- 44,021.
Martinez Back; Houlton Gone-- Utility infielder Ramon Martinez was activated from the disabled list prior to the final game of the first half and started for Jeff Kent at second base. Martinez, a nine-year veteran, was hitting .227 with two doubles and seven RBIs before going on the DL on June 8 with a back injury. He batted .357 (5-for-14) with six runs, four walks, a double and two RBI at Las Vegas. Reliever D.J. Houlton was optioned to Las Vegas to make room for Martinez on the roster. Houlton did a good job, according to Little, in his four appearances with the Dodgers, but Los Angeles needed an extra position player because of an injury to Tony Abreu. ...Abreu was scratched from the lineup the night before because of lower abdominal pain. Doctors concluded that it was a strain in the abdominal region. ...Dodger Hall of Fame manager and Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda is headed to Albuquerque, where he managed the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate to a 92-52 record and the Pacific Coast League title in 1972. Lasorda will speak at the Triple-A All-Star Game luncheon and will also be inducted into the Albuquerque Baseball Hall of Fame, his ninth Hall of Fame. He is also in the National Baseball Hall of Fame (1997), the Louisiana Italian-American Hall of Fame (1986), the National Italian American Hall of Fame (1989), the Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame (2002), the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame (2001), the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame (2006), the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame (2006) and the California Sports Hall of Fame (2007).