Never Underestimate the Value of Home Cooking

Los Angeles barely survived the recent road trip that was seemingly penciled out by someone apparently late for a golf date. Night games before long road trips don't equate to outstanding performance. But back in Dodger Stadium the club discovered the old Derek Lowe, power they haven't displayed this year and bashed out an 8-1 win over the reeling Rockies.

Outfielder Matt Kemp slugged a pair of doubles and a homer (#4) and Jeff Kent (#6) and Andre Ethier (#5) added long balls to take the pressure off immediately. And with Derek Lowe finding his lost sinker wracking up 14 ground ball outs, the veteran righthander allowed five hits and one run over eight innings,

"They get a couple of hits and they score some runs, and it just seems to loosen people up," Torre said about the middle of Los Angeles' order. "I'd like to say it was something more magical than that, but I just think it's a sense of scoring runs and it's a confidence thing. When it starts working early, then you have confidence to stay with that."

Los Angeles' three home runs were very welcome after the team had hit just four homers over the past 10 games during which they went 2-8.

The Dodgers have now beaten the defending N.L. champs six out of seven times this season and while doing so picked up a game on Arizona, moving their record to 27-28 and back to within 3 1/2 games of the division lead.

Los Angeles scored in five of the first seven innings, pleasing Torre.

"We'd rather score in more innings," Torre said. "Tonight was a manager's dream, scoring in the first, second and third. That means you're constantly going after it and being aggressive. And we just have to remember how it happened."

Lowe allowed a run on three straight singles with two out in the first inning, but unlike previous starts, his teammates answered quickly. Lowe had not won since April 23, although he recorded a 1.23 ERA in his past three starts.

Lowe threw 110 pitches. He hasn't had a complete-game victory since June 22, 2006, when he beat Seattle 4-2 at Dodger Stadium. He went the distance three times last season and all of them were losses.

Lowe also executed a perfect suicide squeeze, bringing home catcher Danny Ardoin.

After arriving home at 4:30 a.m., the Dodgers immediately attacked Colorado starter Greg Reynolds (0-3), who allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits in five innings.

Jeff Kent hit a first-inning home run, taking over the team lead with six, Andre Ethier hit one in the third and remarkably the team had five runs in the first three innings after taking four games during the road trip to score that many. Kemp the Dodgers third home run in the seventh.

Ethier's first-inning groundout drove in Kemp, who doubled over the head of the left fielder and took third on a wild pitch. Kent's 371st career homer, broke a tie with injured teammate Andruw Jones and Brooklyn Dodgers great Gil Hodges for 64th place all-time.

The Dodgers are 5-3-1 in their nine home series this season and can get a sixth series victory with a win over the Rockies tonight. They are 16-11 overall at home, in contrast to their 12-18 road record.

The remarkably talented Mr. Kemp added two doubles to give him a team-leading 14, scored three runs and is now tied with Russell Martin for the team lead in hits at 62.

Blake DeWitt made a great, heads-up play in the eighth. Thinking Loney would try to score from second on Danny Ardoin's two-out hit to right, DeWitt rounded second and, shades of the three-men-on-third-base play went halfway to third before he realized Loney had held up.

DeWitt kept away from infielders Todd Helton and Omar Quintanilla long enough that Loney was able to score from third base with the Dodgers' final run, crossing the plate well ahead of DeWitt being tagged out.

Pitching matchup for tonight
?RHP Brad Penny (5-6, 5.66 ERA). Penny was banged around by the Mets in his last start. His fastball hit 93 mph and the two-time All-Star hopes to get back on track. In his last six starts, he's 0-4 with a 9.43 ERA. Penny's compiled a 14-2 record and 3.06 ERA against the Rockies in his career. He owns a better winning percentage against Colorado than any other opponent.

LHP Jeff Francis (1-5, 6.12 ERA). Francis has always pitched well against the Dodgers but he had problems with his location against the Cubs in his last outing, but a number of pitchers have problem with the Chicago lineup. Colorado is 18 games under .500 for the first time since finishing the 2005 season 67-95 and have lost 19 of their last 21 away from Coors Field.
 Score by innings
Colorado	100 000 001-2
Los Angeles	221 010 20x-8

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	5  0  1  0  .279
Kemp cf	        5  3  3  1  .318
Ethier rf	4  1  1  2  .302
Kent 2b	        4  1  1  1  .244
 Maza 2b	0  0  0  0  .243
Loney 1b	3  1  2  1  .280
DeWitt 3b	2  0  1  0  .298
Ardoin c	3  1  1  0  .167
Hu ss	        4  1  0  0  .163
Lowe p	        2  0  0  0  .208
 Sweeney ph	1  0  1  0  .114
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	33 8 11 7
  Colorado	34 2  7 2

 Error- Lowe (1). 2b hits- Kemp 2 (14), Sweeney
(2). HR- Kent (6), Ethier (5), Kemp (4). RBI-
Ethier 2 (22), Kent (25), Lowe (4), Pierre (18),
Lone (32), Kemp (31). S- Lowe. LOB- Los Angeles
6, Colorado 6. DP- Hu and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe (3-5)	8.0  5  1-1  1  3  4.17
Proctor	        1.0  2  1-1  0  3  5.68
 T- 2:30. Att- 49,098.
Waiting for Furcal-- When Rafael Furcal showed up in the clubhouse after the Dodgers returned from their road trip, Manager Joe Torre joked, "I'm sorry, but there are no visitors allowed." Furcal's return is still uncertain and Torre said his rehab will be treated "very methodically." Furcal took some swings on Sunday and has been throwing in the field. Both Torre and Furcal agreed he would probably need a Minor League rehab assignment before returning to the Dodgers, a stint Furcal would like to be for three or four days.

The Dodgers' offense has suffered in Furcal's absence, averaging 3.2 runs per game without him after averaging 5.4 runs per game prior to his injury. The team has struggled to a 9-15 mark after starting 18-14 with Furcal.

At the time of the injury, Furcal led the Majors with 49 hits and ranked second in batting average (.366), third in on-base percentage (.448) and ninth in slugging percentage (.597) out of the leadoff spot.

Making things worse, the Dodgers haven't gotten a hit from the shortstop position since May 23, with Chin-lung Hu and Luis Maza going hitless in 29 at-bats during that time.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Injured outfielder Andruw Jones said he's still on pace for an All-Star break return after undergoing successful right knee surgery on Tuesday. "It feels better," Jones said. "The pain that I had in the back, there's not much soreness in there anymore." Jones stayed behind during the road trip and threw for the first time on Monday. ...Jason Schmidt's rehab has stopped temporarily. The veteran's 30-day assignment had been set to expire on June 10, but will be postponed after he was hit in the calf by a grounder in the second inning during Saturday's rehab start for Class A Inland Empire. Whenever Schmidt makes his next start for Inland Empire, he might be throwing to Dodgers backup catcher Gary Bennett, disabled with plantar fasciitis, who is expected to go to Inland Empire today. ...The Dodgers are reportedly considering taking the 17-year-old Collier, a left-handed power-hitting outfielder with speed, with their first-round pick provided the Cardinals and Washington Nationals -- also said to be interested -- don't take him first. Dykstra, the son of former major league outfielder Lenny Dykstra, is an athletic player who started as a middle infielder before moving to center field. He was selected to Baseball America's preseason All-American team. ...Nomar Garciaparra took batting practice, four days after undergoing a battery of tests aimed at determining why his strained left calf has been slow to heal. Results of those tests, the Dodgers said, were not available. ...Blake DeWitt has begun taking ground balls at second base, turning double plays with Russell Martin at shortstop. "I like it," DeWitt said.

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