Practically Priceless Penny Pops Phillies

In 2006 the Dodgers stumbled badly coming out of the all-star break, losing 13 of 14 games, so the 4-0 start this year is particularly pleasing as is Penny's first start out of the gate, a dominating, 10-3 win over Philadelphia in which he worked seven innings, allowing four hits, a single run and struck out eight. He improved to 11-1 and the Dodgers have won a season-high five games in a row.

Los Angeles thumped the Phillies' 44-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer (7-8) for 10 earned runs, scoring three in the first and third and another four in the sixth.

Jeff Kent (#12) and Matt Kemp (#4) slugged three-run homers and the two rabbits at the top of the lineup, Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre, combined for four hits and three of the runs. Pierre's two stolen bases gave him 38 for the year.

Furcal and Pierre singled back to back to open the game and Nomar Garciaparra added a two-out RBI double. A three-run homer by Jeff Kent, his 12th of the season, made it 6-1 and four more in the sixth on an RBI single by Andre Ethier and a three-run homer by Matt Kemp, his fourth tied a neat bow on the victory.

Left fielder Luis Gonzalez, 0-for-13 against Moyer, got the night off and Ethier and Kemp started together in the outfield for the first time since July 4.

"I'll tell you what, everything looks better when you throw a couple three-run homers in there," said manager Grady Little, as his club moved to 53-40, the best record in the National League.

Penny walked the first batter of the game and allowed an error-assisted run in the first inning, but fanned the the last four batters he faced and seven of the last 10.

Penny said his blister was no factor and he's in better physical shape than a year ago. Ken Gurnick of pointed out that a year ago at this time, he had pitched 113.1 innings and thrown 1,883 pitches. This year, he's pitched 123.2 innings with 1,960 pitches.

Recently recalled D.J. Houlton gave the bullpen a much needed rest by working the final two innings, allowing the last two Phillie runs.

With their new lineup, James Loney at first base, Garciaparra at third, with Kemp, Andre Ethier and Luis Gonzalez in the outfield, the Dodgers now lead the league in team batting average (.275) and have climbed to third in on-base percentage. When Mueller took over for Eddie Murray as hitting coach on June 15, the Dodgers were seventh in both categories.

Mark Hendrickson (3-4, 3.92 ERA) opposes J.D. Durbin (0-2, 13.50) tonight at Dodger Stadium.
 Score by innings
Philadelphia	100 000 020- 3
Los Angeles	303 004 00x-10

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  2  0  .280
 Houlton p	0  0  0  0  .000
Pierre cf	4  2  2  0  .286
Martin c	2  1  0  1  .315
 Lieberthal c	0  0  0  0  .222
Kent 2b	        2  2  1  3  .281
 Abreu 2b	1  0  0  0  .282
Loney 1b	3  1  1  1  .383
Garciaparra 3b	3  1  2  1  .274
 Betemit 3b	1  0  0  0  .221
Ethier lf	4  1  1  1  .294
Kemp rf	        4  1  1  3  .375
Penny p	        3  0  0  0  .250
 Martinez ss	0  0  0  0  .154
   Totals	31 10 10 10
   Philadelphia	33  3  7  3

 Error- Martin (9). 2B- Garciaparra (13). HR-Kemp
(4). RBI- Martin (63), Loney (17), Garciaparra (44),
Kent 3 (50), Ethier (38), Kemp 3 (17). SF- Loney.
SB- Pierre 2 (38). LOB- Los Angeles 1, Philadelphia
6. DP- Loney, Furcal and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Penny (11-1)	7.0  4  1-1  3  8  2.33
Houlton	        2.0  3  2-2  0  2  4.15
 T- 2:32 Att- 41,458.
Looking for a Pitcher-- The non-waiver trading deadline is two weeks away and the Dodgers are hoping to add either a starting pitcher or a reliever. "I think our offense has shown great improvement in the last month," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Daily News. "I am not as concerned with that as I am with making sure we have enough pitching, whether it comes internally or from the outside." Rumors mention Kansas City's Octavio Dotel, a former major-league closer who would give the Dodgers a seventh-inning bridge to setup man Jonathan Broxton and closer Takashi Saito as well as the Chicago White Sox's right-handed starter Jose Contreras. But he is 35 and is owed $20 million over the next two seasons, and his velocity has dropped considerably. Roberto Hernandez, the veteran reliever whom the Dodgers signed to a minor-league contract last week, made his debut for Las Vegas on Monday night against Portland and allowed one hit in his single inning pitched. Little has hinted that Hernandez might be the leading candidate for a callup if the Dodgers go back to 12 pitchers, something they probably will do soon because they are four games into a stretch of 17 consecutive games without a day off.?

Pitching Notes
--Barry Bonds is batting .071 (1-for-14) against Joe Beimel, including Sunday's strikeout with two on and two out. "You can't be afraid to face the good hitters," said Beimel. "Hitters can sense when a pitcher is pitching around them, and it gives the hitter confidence," he said.

--Brett Tomko returned to his cut fastball against the Giants with great results. "I hadn't used it since I pitched in St. Louis," said Tomko, who was with the Cardinals in 2003. "It was a pretty good pitch for me. But I went to the Giants the next year, and my other pitches were working and I just kind of set it aside."

--Mark Hendrickson, who had lost his job as the fifth-starter and opened the season in long relief, is now both starting and relieving. He picked up a win with two innings of relief in Saturday's 12-inning game against the Giants, and will return on two days' rest for his start tonight against the Phillies. "Knowing that the manager has trust and confidence in you is important," said Hendrickson, who credits sports psychologist Ken Ravizza with helping him cope last year after being traded to the Dodgers by Tampa Bay.

And a catching note: Ken Huckaby, serving as catching insurance while playing at Las Vegas, has landed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury after a plate collision.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Second baseman Jeff Kent hit his team-leading 12th homer of the season and the 357th of his career. It places Kent in sole possession of 70th place on the all-time list, one behind Jim Edmonds and Jason Giambi. His three RBI give him 1,430 in his career, good for a 56th-place tie with Hall of Famer Yogi Berra on the all-time list. ...Center fielder Juan Pierre stole two bases, giving him 38 on the season, which is the second best in the Major Leagues. No Dodger has stolen that many since 2003, when Dave Roberts stole 40. Pierre also cracked two hits and extended his hitting streak to nine games, which ties his season high. During the streak he is hitting .395 (17-for-43) and now has 34 multi-hit games, which is tied for fourth in the National League. ...Penny won his 11th game of the season, tying him for the best in the National League, along with Carlos Zambrano and Cole Hamels. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.33 and has now gone at least 7.0 frames in 10 of his 19 starts. The Dodgers are now 15-4 when Penny takes the hill and he owns a Major League-best .917 winning percentage. ...Outfielder Matt Kemp hit his fourth homer of the year and is 6-for-10 over his last three games, with a homer and two triples. Kemp is hitting .366 (30-for-82) since being recalled on June 8.