L.A. Works Hard in 5-4 Win over Nats

The Dodgers came up with a blue collar win, kicking and scratching with Washington while rolling in the dirt, but earning a 5-4 victory and an important win, a title each of them will bear from now until the end of the season. Derek Lowe won his 11th to get back to .500 and Los Angeles came up with 10 hits, all singles but all necessary.

Appropriately enough, former Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton, the franchise leader in wins with 233 and now a broadcaster for the Nationals, threw out the first pitch. Sutton, who was overshadowed by teammates Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, is the poster boy of Dodger blue collar pitchers.

Lowe, who has been the low man on the list all season as far as run support is concerned, finally got a break and the win despite coughing up seven hits, including a trio of home runs over six innings while fanning five. It was his third win in a row.

Lowe (11-11) gave up three homers in the game and allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one for his third consecutive win.

"I wasn't very good," he said. "The offense picked me up. At this point in the season, it doesn't really matter how you win. We need lots of them."

"That's the baseball gods' way of paying him back," Dodgers manager Grady Little said about Lowe after the game. "We scored the runs after he was out of there. Getting the hits at the right time is the key. The Dodgers are still fighting for something."

Five different players collected an RBI, two of them (Kent and Martinez) on sac flys. All 10 Dodger hits were singles, an eclectic assortment of bloops, infield grounders and line drives.

Lowe scrambled through six, Mark Hendrickson and Scott Proctor worked an inning each because Jon Broxton was not available after working two innings Sunday night and Takashi Saito-San, a steady as the rising sun, worked around a single in the ninth to record his 35th save and move into a tie with Steve Howe on the all-time Dodgers list with 59. The Japanese right-hander also tied Todd Worrell (1997) for sixth on the Dodger single-season list.

Lowe, solid in his past two starts, battled long enough to benefit from a sixth-inning rally that converted a 4-2 Washington lead into the final 5-4 Los Angeles victory.

Perhaps fittingly enough on this scuffling night, Ramon Martinez's run-scoring sacrifice fly capped the winning three-run sixth inning as the club rang up four hits, including James James Loney's tying hit. Martinez now has more runs batted in than hits.

Jeff Kent, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin, Loney and Martinez had an RBI each for the Dodgers, who moved into third place in the National League West, 5 1/2 games behind Arizona and 3 1/2 behind wild-card leading San Diego.

Rafael Furcal opened the first inning with a walk and moved up when Juan Pierre popped a bunt over the head of the Washington third baseman. One out later, Furcal scored on Kent's sacrifice fly and Ethier singled up to middle to score Pierre and give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

Lowe gave the lead back and a little more when Dmitri Young led off the second inning with a home run, Austin Kearns singled and Wily Mo Pena hit a home run to turn the 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit.

Ryan Zimmerman's fifth-inning solo home run pushed the Nationals' lead to 4-2, but the Dodgers fought back in the sixth when Kent, hit in the head by a fastball Sunday, led off with an infield hit, on a ball fumbled by the Nationals shortstop. Kent moved to third on Ether's second hit and scored when Martin singled to center.

Loney tied the score with a single and Martinez's sacrifice fly gave the Dodgers the lead. The improbably Martinez has driven in at least one run in each of his past six games.  

The quirky schedule saw the team arrived at LAX at 7 a.m. New York time where they had topped the Mets 6-2. They didn't get to bed for another two hours and didn't take batting practice before the game.

Pierre's first inning hit extended his season-high hitting streak to 15 games, pushing a bloop bunt over the head of third baseman, who was charging in when Pierre squared around as if to bunt.

Kent knocked in the first run with a fly ball and kicked off the winning rally in the sixth.

"He's a tough man," Little said. "He came in today and said he was ready to go. This guy is a baseball player and we're proud of him."

After Martinez's game-winning sac fly in the sixth, the final eight Los Angeles batters went down in order.

San Diego bopped Arizona and the Giants beat Colorado as the head-to-head part of the schedule starts now and will continue through September. The Dodgers have now won five of their last six at home and are 3 1/2 games behind San Diego in the National League Wild Card race.

Right-hander Chad Billingsley (8-4, 3.48) takes on Nationals right-hander Jason Bergmann (2-5, 4.56) tonight.
 Score by innings
Washington	030 010 000-4
Los Angeles	200 003 00x-5

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  1  1  0  .283
Pierre cf	4  1  2  0  .292
Kemp rf	        4  0  1  0  .333
Kent 2b	        3  1  1  1  .287
Ethier lf	4  1  2  1  .294
Martin c	3  1  2  1  .295
Loney 1b	4  0  1  1  .302
Martinez 3b	2  0  0  1  .190
Lowe p	        2  0  0  0  .122
 Gonzalez ph	1  0  0  0  .278
 Hendrickson p	0  0  0  0  .038
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
   Totals	30 5 10 5
   Washington	33 4  8 4

 RBI- Kent (69), Ethier (53), Martin (75), Loney
(31), Martinez (5). SF- Kent, Martinez. SB- Pierre
(52). LOB- Los Angeles 5, Washington 4. DP- Loney,
Furcal and Saito.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe (11-11)	6.0  7  4-4  1  5  3.56
Hendrickson	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  5.04
Proctor	        1.0  0  0-0  1  2  4.08
Saito (sv 35)	1.0  1  0-0  0  1  1.38
 WP- Proctor. T- 2:28. Att- 46,944.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Juan Pierre stole his 52nd base in the first, the most by a Dodger since Steve Sax swiped 56 in 1983. He also went 2-for-4 to extend his season-high hitting streak to 15 games. ... The Nationals lost their sixth in a row to the Dodgers dating to last season. ... According to Little, Kent never lost consciousness after taking the ball off the helmet in the final game in New York, and the training staff reported that he did not suffer a concussion. Little said that Kent was unsteady when he and head trainer Stan Conte got to him, but Kent knew where he was. ...Pitcher Randy Wolf, who has been sidelined since July 4 with soreness in his left shoulder, played catch several times during the recent road trip and is scheduled to throw again this week. The team is uncertain if Wolf will be healthy enough to return this season. ...Left-handed pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo, who is recovering from elbow surgery, played catch prior to Monday's game and said he felt good. ...Just four starts into his Double-A career at Jacksonville, Clayton Kershaw was named the Southern League's Pitcher of the Week. Kershaw, 19, allowed just two hits in six innings while striking out eight on Aug. 20. ...Furcal continued his hot hitting, going 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to eight games (.419, 13-for-31). Furcal also scored a run and the Dodgers improved to 43-16 when he winner crosses the plate. ...Hendrickson worked a perfect seventh inning now has a 2.62 ERA (10 ER/34.1 innings) in 16 appearances as a reliever this season.

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