Dodgers Struggle but Penny Wins 13th

DENVER, Colorado -- Some say there is no such thing as an "ugly" win, but if this game was a woman, one might be able to only say she had a great personality. Staggering, taking punches and holding on, Los Angeles scuffed together five runs in the fourth and fifth innings, then nursed them through the final four to top the vastly improved Rockies 5-4 in the first game of the four-game series.

Penny worked six innings and allowed three hits and three runs before leaving in the top of the seventh with a stomach cramp after beating out an infield hit,his second hit of the game.

It was his 13th win of the season, tied for tops in the majors, and became the first Dodger to start the season 13-1 since Phil Regan went 14-1 in 1966. His eight-game winning streak ties his career-best and improved to 12-2 against Colorado.

He is a perfect 12-0 against National League teams, losing only to the Angels on Ma 18.

Nomar Garciaparra and Rafael Furcal knocked in a pair of runs as the Dodgers built a 5-0 lead into the sixth, then held on with their bleeding fingernails.

James Loney took an 0-for-4 and snapped his 30 game on-base streak.

Los Angeles broke the scoreless tie in the fourth when Juan Pierre manufactured a run on pure speed and L.A. was helped by a pair of Colorado errors.

After beating out a routine ground ball to shortstop for a hit in the first inning, the Rockies played him very shallow his next time up and he shot a single into left field as a light rain started to fall on Coors Field.

He stole second base (#42) and when the throw went through to center field, zipped on over to third. Russell Martin walked and Luis Gonzalez socked a long drive that Willy Taveras ran down after turning the wrong way and the ball glanced off his glove at the 415-foot marker in center field.

The blast scored Pierre with the first run with Martin moving to third and Gonzalez winding up at second. The scorer ruled it a sac fly and an error on a tough chance. Nomar Garciaparra made it 3-0 with a single to deep left.

Rafael Furcal caught up with a first pitch fast ball and smacked a 405-foot homer into the Rockies bullpen after Penny dropped a rainbow into short left field with one out in the fifth inning.

That ended the L.A. offense. From that point on, their only hits were Penny's infield hit and Furcal's following single to right in the seventh

The Rockies threatened in the sixth with one out. Taveras shot a single to right and Kazuo Matsui's ground ball gobbled up Betemit up at second. Matt Holliday walked to load the bases but Penny got Todd Helton on a foul fly down the left field line that scored Tavares, then walked Garrett Atkins to re-load the bases.

Brad Hawpe smacked a broken bat single past a diving Betemit to score two, the barrel whirling onto the infield dirt between first and second. Troy Tulowitzki bounced into a force at second but the Rockies had pulled within two, 5-3.

Lopez left the game with two out in the seventh with tightness in his right forearm and was replaced by former Dodger Matt Herges. Penny dribbled a ball down the first base line and beat it out for a hit, then pulled up a few steps past first, quickly drawing the trainer and Manager Grady Little out of the dugout. He left the game for pinch-runner Ramon Martinez. The report from the clubhouse said Penny left with an abdominal cramp.

Joe Beimel took over in the seventh and the Dodgers were in hot water again. Yorvit Torrealba walked and pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs dropped a perfect bunt. Martin grabbed it and fired in plenty of time to first but Loney didn't have his foot on the base and drew an error.

Beimel got a strikeout and was replaced by Jonathan Broxton who fanned Holliday to extract the team from another sticky situation.

Colorado got their fourth run in the eighth inning when Helton doubled and with one out, Hawpe lined to short left. Gonzalez made a sliding catch but the ball popped out of his glove as Hawpe scored. Broxton retired the final batter on a grounder to short.

Takashi Saito made his first appearance since July 18 against Philadelphia. He had back and neck stiffness although an MRI showed no structural damage.

He retired the first two Rockies on three pitches, then he walked Masui to bring up Matt Holiday and fanned him on three pitches to record his 26th save.

If the rest of the season follows the pattern of this game, there will not be an unshattered nerve in the entire Dodger nation.

The new version of Brett Tomko (BT 3.0), who since the all-star break has allowed only one run in 11 innings, will face Josh Fogg (5-6, 4.84) tonight.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles 	000 320 000-5	
Colorado	000 003 010-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  2  2  .282
Pierre cf	4  1  2  0  .284
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
Martin c	3  1  0  0  .297
Gonzalez lf	3  1  0  1  .290
Garciaparra 3b	4  0  1  2  .282
Loney 1b	4  0  0  0  .351
Betemit 2b	2  0  0  0  .232
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Ethier rf-cf	1  0  0  0  .297
Kemp rf-cf	4  0  0  0  .350
Penny p	        3  1  2  0  .293
 Martinez, pr-2b0  0  0  0  .162
    Totals	32 5 7 5
    Rockies	33 4 7 4

 HR- Furcal (4). RBI- Gonzalez (46), Garciaparra 
2 (50), Furcal 2 (36). SB-Pierre (42). 
LOB- Los Angeles 3, Colorado 8. 
DP- Loney, Furcal and Betemit.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er  bb  so  era
Penny (13-1)	6.0  5  3-3  3  3  2.51
Beimel	        0.2  0  0-0  1  1  5.40
Broxton	        1.1  2  1-1  0  1  2.55
Saito (sv 26)	1.0  0  0-0  1  1  1.55
 T- 2:56. Att- 31,057.
Quote of the Day-- ""I used to think one of the worst things is to have a bona fide closer on the team, like Trevor Hoffman or Mariano Rivera, and have him blow a save. I was completely wrong. The worst thing is to have the unavailability of the guy for a week. That's worse. But he's ready to go and we're glad to have him back, Grady Little speaking about Takashi Saito, who had been unavailable for five games.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Before the game, Little said Derek Lowe was still undergoing an MRI and had nothing to report about the starter and his strained groin muscle. ...Randy Wolf, fresh off a minor league rehabilitation assignment at Inland Empire may need a couple more starts before he is ready for prime time. ...Little rested Jeff Kent and started Wilson Betemit at second base. It's Betemit's first start at second base as a Dodger, although he played 11 games there for Atlanta.

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