Near No-hitter Wraps Dodgers Spring

Pitchers names that start with 'K' have been important to the Dodgers, Koufax comes immediately to mind, but Sunday, on the final game of the longest (in milage) of any spring training season, the 'K' belonged to two new kids on the block, Hiroki Kuroda and Clayton Kershaw, who held the Red Sox hitless until the eighth inning before they got their one and only hit of the game.

Brian Falkenborg finished up with a hitless ninth inning and the Dodgers took two of three from the travel-weary Boston team to wrap up the exhibition season.

Following the rollicking, nostalgia-filled game at the Los Angeles Coliseum to mark the 50th anniversary of the Dodger moved to Los Angeles where Boston beat L.A. in front of a record 115,300 fans, the teams moved up the freeway to Dodger Stadium.

Kuroda, who has had an in and out spring season, threw 62 pitches in his four innings and 42 of them were strikes. He allowed only a leadoff walk.

The 33-year-old Japanese right-hander, who signed a $35.3 million, three-year contract in December after 11 professional seasons in the Japanese Central League, won his second game and posted a 4.18 ERA in seven starts.

The brightest star in the Dodger minor league crown, Clayton Kershaw, pitched four innings and also struck out six. The left-hander retired his first 10 batters before pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty whacked a single to centerfield on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the eighth.

With his four scoreless innings, Kershaw finished with an 0.64 earned run average and a ticket to Jacksonville for a bit more experience.

In 14 innings, Kershaw has 19 strikeouts and only three walks, with eight hits allowed after being added to Major League camp three weeks ago. Opponents are batting .160.

"He's pretty special," said Torre. "We have to keep convincing ourselves to do what's best for the kid. He's just got to get innings pitched."

The kid will be back soon.

The Dodgers scored four runs in the third inning to snap a scoreless tie despite designated hitter Juan Pierre getting picked off first base after a single.

Pierre was told before the game that Andre Ethier would open the season in left field. Pierre bounced a single through the right side, but was immediately picked off. He was obviously preoccupied because he didn't make a move to get back to first base.

Jason Repko scored when Russell Martin walked with the bases loaded. Andre Ethier slugged a two-run single to run his RBI total to 18, and Jeff Kent added an RBI base hit.

The Dodgers added single runs in the fourth and sixth, then tacked on a pair in the seventh to close out the scoring.

Outfielder Andrew Jones came up with a cramp in his leg and sat the game out as a precautionary move.

The Dodgers finished the spring 11-18-4 and games will start counting for real today (Monday) when Brad Penny draws the start after Derek Lowe posted three losing opening days.
 Score by innings
Boston	        000 000 000-0
Los Angeles	004 101 20x-8

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	2  1  0  0  .373	
 Hu ss	        3  0  0  1  .276
Martin c	2  1  0  1  .215
 Ardoin c	2  0  0  0  .333  
Ethier lf-cf	3  1  2  2  .377
Kent 2b	        2  0  1  1  .235
 Chavez 2b	2  1  0  0  .263
Loney 1b	3  0  0  0  .258
 Young rf	1  0  1  1  .179
Kemp rf-cf	4  0  0  0  .291
Pierre dh-lf	2  2  2  1  .188
Repko cf	1  1  1  0  .350
 Sweeney 1b	1  0  0  0  .387
DeWitt 3b	2  1  1  0  .220
  Totals	30 8 8 7
  Boston	29 0 1 0

 Error- Chavez (1). RBI- Martin (6),
Ethier 2 (18), Kent (3), Hu (7),
Young (7), Pierre (5). S- DeWitt.
SF- Pierre. LOB- Los Angeles 8,
Boston 3.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda (W)	4.0  0  0-0  1  6  4.18
Kershaw	        4.0  1  0-0  0  5  0.64
Falkenborg 	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  3.12  
  T- 2:56. Att.- 34,800.

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