Pitching, Defense Sparkles in 1-0 Loss

VERO BEACH, FL: In a game that resembled pennant-deciding late season battle, the Mets scored a run in the last of the final inning to take a 1-0 decision but there were Dodger highlights that negated the loss.

Joe Torre got two air-tight pitching from Brad Penny, Chan-Ho Park and Hong-Chic Kuo and Justin Orenduff and Jonathan Meloan each added a scoreless frame.

New York had a pair of singles through the first eight innings with a single in the second and fourth innings before the ninth inning rally that won it for the Mets.

Penny and Park allowed a single each, with Park surprising with his solid effort. Kuo saw his first action since an injury ended his season early last year. He allowed just a single base runner who reached on a walk.

The air-tight defense was led by Delwyn Young who erased the rumor he could not handle second base. Third baseman Andy LaRoche, shortstop Chin-Lung Hu and right fielder Andre Ethier also added defensive highlights.

Young made three sparkling plays during the game, going to his right and throwing out Marlon Anderson and diving to his left, then throwing out David Wright in the second. In the fourth he went up the middle to glove Soloman Enrique's shot and threw him out. He also made a good pivot on a double play in the fifth, adroitly avoiding the sliding runner.

Third baseman Andy LaRoche made a diving stop of a shot by Jose Reyes and threw the speedy infielder out.

Hu followed with a nice play up the middle off the bat of David Wright and in the eighth he went three steps into the outfield grass to backhand a ball and nail Ruben Gotay at first.

And after Andre Ethier threw out Angel Pagan attempting to stretch a single into a double, Dodger announcer said, "Ethier doesn't do anything great but he does everything very well."

The Dodgers offense consisted of loading the bases in the fourth on an unusual sequence of events. Delwyn Young was hit by a pitch and Russell Martin grounded a pitch off shortstop Jose Reyes' glove into the outfield for the first L.A. hit of the day.

With one out, Andruw Jones popped into short right field and first baseman Marlon Anderson and outfielder Ryan Church collided in short right. Both had to leave the game and Jones scratch single loaded the bases.

It was not the way Jones had planned to get his first hit as a Dodger. It was also the final Los Angeles hit of the game.

Nomar Garciaparra slashed the first pitch back to the mound and it struck former Dodger Pedro Feliciano on the hand but he recovered to get a force at the plate. Mark Sweeney lined to left to end the innings.

Garciaparra went 0-for-3 on the afternoon and hit the first pitch he saw on each occasion,

Their only other base runners reached on walks in the first (Martin) and seventh (LaRoche), with LaRoche promptly getting picked off.

Catcher A. J. Ellis made a bit to put the Dodgers on the board for the first time in the top of the ninth, crushing a drive that was caught up against the outfield wall.

New York won the game in the bottom of the ninth when they got a runner to third base for the first time in the game.

Rookie Rick Asadoorian hit former Dodger Brady Clark with the bases loaded. Asadoorian pitched very well at Sarasota and Chattanooga last year and the Dodgers signed him as a free agent.

It seemed as if the Mets had won two batters earlier when -- ripped a drive down the right field line that seemed to score --- but the ball became lodged under the Dodgers bullpen bench and was ruled a ground rule double.

A walk and a hit batsman forced in the winning run.

Derek Lowe will start for the Dodgers today (Sunday) against the Mets.
  Score by Innings
Loa Angeles	000 000 000-0		
New York	000 000 001-1

  Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave	
Pierre lf	4  0  0  0  .000
 Griffin lf	0  0  0  0  1.000	
Young 2b	3  0  0  0  .000
 Chavez 2b	0  0  0  0  .500
Martin c	1  0  1  0  .500
 Lindsey 1b	0  0  0  0  .250
Ethier rf	3  0  0  0  .143
 Paul rf	0  0  0  0  .000
Jones cf	3  0  1  0  .250
 Repko cf	1  0  0  0  .250
Garciaparra dh	3  0  0  0  .200
Sweeney 1b	3  0  0  0  .200
 Ellis c	1  0  0  0  .000
LaRoche 3b	2  0  0  0  .333
Hu ss	        3  0  0  0  .250
  Totals	28  0  2  0
  New York	26  1  4  1

 Left on Base- Los Angeles 5,
New York 6. Caught Stealing- 
LaRoche. Double Play- LaRoche, 
Young and Sweeney. 

 Los Angeles	in   h r-er bb so   era
Penny	        2.0  1  0-0  1  2  0.00  	  
Park	        2.0  1  0-0  1  0  0.00
Kuo     	2.0  0  0-0  1  1  0.00
Orenduff	1.0  0  0-0  1  0  0.00
Meloan	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
Asadoorian (L)	0.1  2  1-1  1  0 27.00
 WP- Park. HBP- Young. T- 2:37. A-6,555.


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