Cinco de Mayo; Dodgers Ganar Cinco-Cero

The Dodgers and 44,181 of their fans celebrated Cinco de Mayo in an unusual way, hitting three home runs to beat the New York Mets 5-0. Ranked 20th among National League with 23 round-trippers, they are tied for ninth having allowed the same number. Chad Billingsley worked six innings to earn his second victory in succession and the club edged ever closer to Arizona and now trail by three.

The home barrage, by Rafael Furcal, Blake DeWitt and Matt Kemp, is even more surprising when you consider Met's starter Oliver Perez had allowed only one home run this season in just a bit over 29 innings.

The two teams picked up a combined 12 hits between them, with L.A. garnering seven of them.

Matt Kemp, just selected as the National League Player of the Week, put the cap on the scoring with a two-run shot into the right field seats in the fifth inning, just moments after rookie Blake DeWitt smacked his first Major League longball that cleared the center field wall.

Furcal had hit his 23rd career leadoff homer in the first inning on an 0-2 pitch, helping the Dodgers improve to 18-14 and win for the ninth time in 10 games.

The victory tightened the N.L. West race. Arizona dropped a game to the Phillies and Colorado lost 6-5 to St. Louis. The Diamondback's lead, not so long ago at seven games, has slide to a more manageable three games.
 	         w-l    pct  gb
Arizona	        21-11  .656  --
Los Angeles	18-14  .563  3.0
San Francisco	14-18  .483  7.0
Colorado	12-20  .375  9.0
San Diego	12-20  .375  9.0
Kemp's award was the first for him but he was more impressed by the dodgers win. "I'm excited about winning the player of the week, but that's just one step. We should have been team of the week, if anything," Kemp said. "They should give an award for that. We've been playing really well, and it shows. We're all having good at-bats and we're battling, trying to do whatever it takes to score runs and help the team win."

Chad Billingsley (2-4), who started the season 0-4, allowed a run and five hits in six-plus innings, striking out four and walking four in his first career start against the Mets. The right-hander worked with men on base in every inning except the first, and left four runners in scoring position.

The switch-hitting Furcal drove an 0-2 pitch to left-center for his 11th leadoff homer with the Dodgers. It was Furcal's 23rd first-inning leadoff homer and his 11th as a Dodger, giving him sole possession of second place on the franchise list behind Davey Lopes (28).

The surging Juan Pierre followed the home run with a single, stole second and when Jeff Kent nailed Perez with a line drive off his chest, moved to third.

Russell Martin's line single to center made it 2-0.

Perez, showing no effects of Kent's line drive, then retired 10 of the next 11 Dodgers before a pair of homers in the fifth ended the Dodgers' scoring.

DeWitt, after a brief trip to Las Vegas that ended when Nomar Garciaparra strained his calf muscle, hit a home run to the deepest spot n the mark leading off the fifth. DeWitt also got his first curtain call.

Pierre drew a two-out walk and Kemp lined a shot into the pavilion seats in right-center making it a 5-0 lead.

"When the season first started, he wasn't getting the kind of playing time he thought he should get," said Kemp's agent, four-time 20-game winner Dave Stewart. "It took him a while to get past that, but I explained to him that his time is going to come. Now it has, and it's going to be tough to get him out of the lineup."

Kemp is hitting .330 through his first 30 games with three homers and 24 RBIs. Last season he batted .342, the fourth-highest average by a Dodgers player since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. In 2006, he homered four times in his first 10 games in the big leagues.

Kemp Player of the Week
Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was named National League Player of the Week after a six game road trip that saw him hit .407 and display an amazing combination of power and speed.

Kemp Kemp led the National League last week with 11 RBIs and six stolen bases while tying for the league lead with 11 hits. The right fielder hit .407 (11-for-27) with four doubles, seven runs scored, a .556 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .433.

"They're letting me run and letting me be aggressive," said Kemp. "If I can get a walk or find some way to get to first base, I can turn it into a double or a triple by stealing bases. I'm just trying to get into position to score some runs."

During the week Kemp recorded four multi-hit games and three multi-RBI games while hitting safely in all six games played.

This marks the first time Kemp has won the weekly honors, which hadn't been awarded to a Dodgers player since Andre Ethier in July 2006. Other nominees included Kemp's Dodger teammates Rafael Furcal (.393, 1 HR, 4 RBI) and Juan Pierre (.563, 3 RBI)
 Score by innings
New York	000 001 000-1
Los Angeles	200 030 00x-5

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  1  1  .366
Pierre lf	3  2  1  0  .324
Kemp rf	        4  1  2  2  .333
Kent 2b	        4  0  0  0  .286
 Hu 2b	        0  0  0  0  .226
Martin c	3  0  2  1  .296
Loney 1b	2  0  0  0  .270
Jones cf	3  0  0  0  .158
DeWitt 3b	3  1  1  1  .295
Billingsley p	2  0  0  0  .100
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Young ph	1  0  0  0  .375
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Los Angeles	29 5 7 5
  New York	31 1 5 1

 HR- Furcal (5), DeWitt (1), Kemp (3).
RBI- Furcal (16), Martin (14), Kemp 2
(25). SB- Pierre (10), Martin (3).
CS- Kemp (2). LOB- Los Angeles 2, New
York 7. DP- Furcal and Loney.

 Los Angeles   	  in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (2-4)  6.0  5  1-1  4  4  4.54
Beimel        	  1.0  0  0-0  0  1  0.75
Broxton        	  1.0  0  0-0  0  2  1.93
Saito        	  1.0  0  0-0  0  1  1.88
 TD- 2:38. Att- 44,181.
In Praise of Buzzy Bavasi
The Dodgers held a pre-game tribute to their former general manager (1951-68) and the architect of four championship clubs in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully spoke from the TV booth of Bavasi's accomplishments, while the video screen displayed a slide show depicting one of the people most responsible for giving Jackie Robinson, Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella a chance to break the color barrier in the major leagues. Newcombe, flanked at home plate by Tommy Davis and Lou Johnson, told the crowd of 44,181: "I'll never forget Buzzie Bavasi and what he did for me. I always thought of Buzzie Bavasi as my father."

Dodger Blue Notes-- Nomar Garciaparra, on the disabled list with a pulled left calf muscle, resumed baseball activities during batting practice. Manager Joe Torre said it was likely that Garciaparra would need to have a Minor League rehab assignment before he returns. But Torre also said that when Garciaparra is healthy, he would reclaim the starting third-base job from rookie Blake DeWitt. "He was doing well when he left," Torre said of Garciaparra, who was hitting .226 overall, but was 4-for-12 in his last three games. ...Disabled pitcher Jason Schmidt will throw in a simulated game on Tuesday that could lead to the start of a Minor League injury rehabilitation before the week is over. He had major shoulder surgery nearly 11 months ago. ...The wolves are starting to circle in San Diego. Tim Sullivan, of the San Diego Union-Tribune, on the home team: "They don't hit. They can't run. The Padres produce position players the way Switzerland does surfers. They fill their holes by foraging in baseball's bargain bin, collecting castoffs, re-patching retreads, frustrating fans with the combustible mix of premium prices and skinflint spending." ...Old friend Eric Gagné blew his MLB-worst fifth save Sunday, but general manager Doug Melvin gave him a vote of confidence Monday by saying that the Brewers will stick with him as closer. "You stay with a closer as long as you can," Melvin said. Gagné has appeared in a total of 36 games since being traded to the Red Sox last July, posting a 6.48 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over 33 innings. He has 39 strikeouts during that time, which is at least some reason to think that he hasn't completely lost it, but allowing 41 hits (including five homers) and handing out 19 walks in 158 plate appearances qualifies him as a huge questionmark. ?