Lowe Tops Padres to End Four-Game Streak

Derek Lowe was hotter than a $2 special Saturday night, stopping San Diego on four hits and striking out six over eight innings. The Dodgers pounded out 13 hits, including home runs by Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, scored 11 times and broke a four-game losing streak in the process.

Lowe surrendered a booming triple and an even longer double in the first inning to put the Padres in the lead but Rafael Furcal slammed the third pitch from Padres Chris Young off the ball wall of the visitor's bullpen to tie the game. It was his 21st career lead-off home run and it tied him with Jim Gilliam for third all-time in Dodgers history, with nine.

With one out, Andre Ethier singled, James Loney doubled over Jim Edmond's head in center and Russ Martin knocked in the lead run with a single. L.A. added three in the third to KO Young, scored for more in the fourth and the rest of the game was just a formality.

Lowe retired 15 Padres in succession at one point and 20 of the final 21. he threw 93 pitches (20 in the first inning) and 62 were strikes. Takashi Saito had a 1-2-3 ninth inning so L.A. pitching retired 23 of the final 24 Padres.

Lowe, after allowing two hits in the first, gave up another in the second and finished his night by allowing one more single. He won his first game, matched his season high with six strikeouts, became the first Dodger to pitch eight innings and lowered his ERA to 1.80.

Lowe, in his first two starts, gave up only three earned runs but was supported by only six. Although the Dodgers won both games 3-2, he didn't receive a decision in either game.

To ice the cake a bit, he also collected his first hits of the season and knocked in three runs. "The big lead helped," Lowe said. "The offense did a tremendous job against a tough pitcher. When you get a lead like that, you need to bear down and keep it on our side. All in all, it was a good win."

Ethier came up shy a triple from hitting for the cycle. He and James Loney had three hits each, Loney's 3-for-3 pushing his average to an even .400. Loney is the only Dodger to hit safely in each of the team's first 11 games. His hitting streak is the team's longest since Paul Lo Duca opened the 2004 campaign with an 11-game run.

Rookie Blake DeWitt went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, the first of which drove in two runs in the third inning and pushed the Dodgers' lead from 2-1 to 4-1. Torre said after the game it was probably the biggest hit of the game. DeWitt's effort on Saturday boosted his batting average at Dodger Stadium to .412 (7-for-17).

Andruw Jones walked twice and lived on an error and scored three runs. Dodger fans seem to think he is responsible for the team's slow start and are on him after every unsuccessful at-bat. After going 0-for-2 his average slid to a sickly .105. Matt Kemp finally got out of the dugout as Jones' replacement and banged his first home run of the season.

The Padres scored when Scott Hairston tripled down the right field line and came home on Adrian Gonzalez's one-out double that hit just 8" below the top of the bullpen gate.

The Dodgers scored twice in the bottom of the first and in the third, a two-run double by Blake DeWitt put Los Angeles ahead, 4-1. Young's own error on Lowe's ground ball with two outs let in the Dodgers' fifth run.

The Dodgers got four more in the fourth on a two-run homer by Ethier after Juan Pierre walked, and a two-run single by Lowe off reliever Wilfredo Ledezma. Matt Kemp homered off reliever Glendon Rusch in the seventh to end the delightful evening.

"You knew we were too good to continue not to score runs," manager Joe Torre said. "That opposite-field home run by Kemp was certainly nice to see."

Furcal has 21 leadoff homers in the majors and nine with the Dodgers. Hu started at 2B in place of Jeff Kent, who doesn't hit Young all that well (2-for-18 lifetime).

Dodgers improve to 5-6 and move into third place, still four behind the Snakes. Arizona (9-2) has won eight in a row.

The pitching match-up this afternoon involves the student, Chad Billingsley (0-1, 9.64 ERA), and the teacher, Greg Maddux (1-0, 2.77 ERA). The season Maddux spent with the Dodgers saw Billingsley staying close to him in the dugout and listening carefully to everything he said.

Maddux makes his 35th start against the Dodgers in his 22-year Major League career. He currently stands ninth all-time in career wins with 348.
 Score by innings
San Diego	100 000 000- 1
Los Angeles	203 401 10x-11

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  1  1  1  .405
 Young 2b	0  0  0  0  .167
Pierre lf	2  1  0  0  .250
 Kemp ph-rf	2  1  1  1  .286
Ethier rf-lf	5  3  3  2  .317
Loney 1b	3  1  3  0  .400
Martin c	5  0  1  1  .162
Jones cf	3  3  0  0  .105
DeWitt 3b	5  1  2  2  .250
Hu 2b-ss	3  0  0  0  .125
Lowe p	        4  1  2  3  .250
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .125
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	38 11 13 10
  San Diego	31  1  4  1

 2b hits- Loney (3), Ethier (4), DeWitt 2
(4). HR- Furcal (1), Ethier (2), Kemp (1),
RBI- Furcal (4), Martin (4), DeWitt 2 (4),
Ethier 2 (9). Lowe 3 (3), Kemp (2).

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er b so  era
Kemp (1-0)	8.0  4  1-1  0  6  1.80
Saito	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
 T- 2:35. Att- 54,996.
Nomar Getting Ready
Nomar Garciaparra went 0-for-3 with a walk and played nine innings at third base in Las Vegas' 4-3 win at Sacramento. He may be back in The Show more quickly than supposed and it is assumed that rookie Blake DeWitt will return to the minors.

Andy LaRoche, injured in the same game Garciaparra was, is also ahead of his rehab schedule. He is taking batting practice and threw a baseball Friday, the first time he has done either since tearing a ligament in his right thumb during a March 7 spring training game. "No pain at all," said LaRoche, who played catch with trainer Stan Conte between hitting sessions. "I want to stay out here all day. But I've still got to stay patient. Nature still has to take its course."

Esteban Peeved
Right-hander Esteban Loaiza expressed disapproval with the way he has been handled this season. Named the club's fifth starter at the end of spring training, Loaiza made his first start Monday at Arizona, where he lasted just four innings, gave up four runs and lost. Torre told Loaiza before Friday night's game that he won't start against the Pirates, saying it was because Kuo had pitched so well in an extended relief.

? "This is no reflection on Loaiza, but (Kuo) threw a lot of strikes, and he threw a number of pitches," Torre said. "We're just curious how that's going to work as a starter. Esteban asked me if this was just for one start, but I said, 'I can't tell you that right now.' "

Dodger Blue Notes
There were Martins' everywhere in Dodger Stadium after all kids 14 and under received a Russell Martin batting practice jersey before the contest. Last season, Martin won both the Rawlings Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards in 2007. ...After his big night last night, Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal has positioned himself at or near the top on a myriad of National League batting leaderboards. Furcal leads the Major Leagues with a whopping .543 on-base percentage and ranks second in the NL in average (.405), and average against right-handers (.429). The native of the Dominican Republic is tied for third in runs scored (11), and doubles (6), tied for first in triples (2), tied for second in hits (17), and tied for fifth in slugging percentage (.703). ...Loney owns the Padres in his short career, hitting .398 (12-for-55) against San Diego. That average facing the Pads is second best among all active big leaguers with a minimum of 50 at-bats, trailing just Ryan Howard (.460).

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