Pierre Giveth and Pierre Taketh Away

Juan Pierre got a rare start and quickly turned a scoreless game into a 1-0 Florida lead when the misplayed a fly ball in left. But he later slammed a two-run double, bunted the winning run to second in the ninth and L.A. won their sixth in a row by a 5-3 score.

Pierre finished with two of the seven Dodger hits, scored once. Furcal went hitless but scored twice. Russell Martin drew his 24th walk of the season and has been on base 34 of his last 51 plate appearances.

The win, the Dodgers sixth in succession, boosted their record to 15-13 and pulls them within five games of the Diamondbacks.

Hiroki Kuroda started for the Dodgers and retired the first seven he faced. Then Matt Treanor hit a fly to left that Pierre had trouble picking up. He went back, then dashed in and just got a glove on the ball.

Florida cashed in the scratchy hit on a two out double by Henley Ramirez.

Pierre walked in the fourth, stole second and scored the tying run on Andre Ethier's single to left.

In the fifth, Chin-Lung Hu, playing second for Jeff Kent, singled and Rafael Furcal walked before Pierre slammed a double to right-center, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 margin.

Former Dodger Cody Ross slugged a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at third and neither team could score through the eighth inning.

L.A. had a chance in the eighth after three walks but pinch-hitter James Loney bounced into a force at second to end the inning.

Mark Sweeney, whose season has consisted of 19 pinch-hitting appearances (two hits and two walks), started at first base while Loney got his first game off this year -- or at least most of it off.

Kuroda left after seven. Scott Proctor got the first two Marlins in the eighth and Joe Beimel )3-0) nailed the final out by throwing one pitch.

In the top of the ninth, Furcal drew his second walk of the game and the ubiquitous Pierre bunted him to second. Matt Kemp fought off an inside pitch, dropping it into right field to drive in the eventual winning run.

A second run scored when Sweeney walked and Russ Martin hit a comebacker to the pitcher. He threw to second but the throw pulled the second baseman off the bag and his relay to first glanced on the wall beside the dugout.

Martin made a break for second and was caught in a rundown, Kemp scoring from third when a throw hit Martin in the shoulder.

Takashi Saito made short work of the Marlins in the last of the ninth, striking out two of them to record his fourth save.

With the weather predicted to be cool and wet, the rotation for the Colorado series:
Friday Brad Penny (4-2, 2.89) vs.Jeff Francis (0-2, 5.01)             
Saturday Esteban Loaiza (1-2, 4.15) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (NR)
Sunday Derek Lowe (2-1, 2.88) vs. Aaron Cook (4-1, 2.41)    

 Score by innings
Dodgers	000 120 002-5
Florida	001 020 000-3

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  2  0  0  .371
Pierre lf	3  1  2  2  .273
Kemp cf	        5  1  1  1  .312
Sweeney 1b	3  0  0  0  .100
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .290
Ethier rf	5  0  1  1  .309
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
DeWitt 3b	3  0  0  0  .268
Hu 2b        	3  0  1  0  .250  
 Kent ph-2b	0  0  0  0  .291
Kuroda p	2  0  1  1  .154
 Loney ph	1  0  0  0  .280
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Jones cf	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	32 5 7 4
  Florida	30 3 5 3

 Error- DeWitt (2). 2b hits- Pierre (3).
RBI- Ethier (14), Pierre 2 (10), Kemp
(17). S- Pierre. SB- Pierre (7), Kemp
(5).

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er bb so era
Kuroda	        7.0  5  3-3  0  4  3.82
Proctor	        0.2  0  0-0  0  1  4.91
Beimel (3-0)	0.1  0  0-0  0  0  0.90
Saito Is 4)	2.0  0  0-0  0  2  2.19	
 HBP- Pierre. T- 2:55. Att- 15,556.
DeWitt 'Won't Hurt Us'
It is no secret that the Dodgers considered Blake DeWitt a band-aid at third base until Nomar Garciaparra or Andy LaRoche healed enough to reclaim the spot.

The thought was, the young man who had little real experience above Class A would not hurt the team while marking time.

"As opposed to not hurting us, I think he's helped us in a lot of areas," Torre said. "He's been very impressive for me."

Before the Dodgers' second game in Florida, DeWitt had made only one error in 69 chances, his fielding percentage of .986 the best among third basemen in the majors. And even more telling, his Range Factor was nearly 3.8, also first in the National League.

The 22-year-old admits that he didn't pay that much attention to defense until last season.

Defense is something DeWitt acknowledges he didn't pay serious attention to until last season.

DeWitt, rated the best pure high school hitter by Baseball America in the 2004 draft, started the season at Class-A Inland Empire. He spent the final month of the 2006 season in Double A.

"I didn't have my head right," he said. "I wasn't concentrating on what I should've been doing."

Third base coach Larry Bowa noticed almost immediately that he had trouble on balls hit to his right and set out to correct that.

Among the drills was a quick-hands exercise in which Bowa tossed DeWitt balls from only a couple of feet away.

"That drill has helped me out a ton," said DeWitt, adding that he sees hops better and is using his hands more.

They continued doing the drill when the season started and his dedication impressed Bowa. "This kid," Bowa said, "he works."

Swan Song For Vinny?
Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully hinted that he might retire when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Scully, 80, received a lifetime achievement award in sports broadcasting from WFUV Radio at Fordham, his alma mater, and told the New York Times that he would follow the advice of his wife, Sandy, on whether to continue working.

"I want to spend a lot of time with her," Scully said. "There's a lot of hoopla in this job, but it's lonely for the wife. So I want to talk seriously with her about her feelings. I want to know what's in her head. We'll talk it out over the long summer and then we'll talk to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

"She's so selfless that she'll probably say, 'Whatever you feel you should do, we'll do,' and then we'll be back at square one. It's a question I get asked a lot at this age."

Broxton Throwing
Jonathan Broxton played catch on flat ground twice but said his armpit region felt tight and he remains day to day. ... Utility infielder Juan Castro, 35, is expected to clear waivers, making him a free agent and available for the Dodgers to sign at the major league minimum salary.

Look at Me Ma!
The Dodgers' five-game winning streak is the longest active winning streak in the Majors.  It is also Los Angeles' longest since July 8-16, 2007, when they won a season-best five straight.  The Dodgers last won at least six in a row during a seven-game winning streak to close out the 2006 regular season September 24-October 1.  

I'll Remember April – With a 14-13 record, the Dodgers posted their 13th winning March/April in the last 14 years. The only sub-.500 March/April in that stretch came in 2006, when they were 12-13. Do note the Dodgers made the playoffs that year as the National League Wild Card entry.  

The Patter of Little Feet – The Dodgers scored 137 runs in 27 games in March/April, their highest run total for the season's opening month since 2000, when they scored 146 times. It took them only 24 games in 2000, however, to get to that total.

Hendrickson Can See
Mark Hendrickson has won four games for the Marlins has a simple explanation for why he has suddenly found the success he didn't have during his season and a half with the Dodgers. "I can see," he said.

The veteran left-hander underwent Lasik surgery over the winter to sharpen his eyesight. "I'm just not having to focus as hard," Hendrickson said.


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