Martin, Kemp & Company Top San Diego

It seems a bit absurd to talk about the Dodgers "seventh inning lightning" as if they were the 1927 Yankees, but they do have a tendency to ram a handful of runs across late in the game. They did just that in the first game of the San Diego series, scoring four in the seventh on a pair of two-run RBI from Russ Martin and Matt Kemp, erasing a 2-1 Padres lead and topping San Diego 7-2

This should probably not be spoken out loud, but it seems as if the Dodgers are beginning to be a bit more consistent instead of suffering the wild swings of the early season when they would win 7-1 one day and lost 8-1 the next.

Los Angeles have their youth movement in full motion and a pair of them, Martin and Kemp, knocked in three runs each, Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs while pitching into the sixth and Jonathan Broxton struck out all four Padres he faced in the seventh and eighth innings. Cory Wade closed the game out with a scoreless ninth. James Loney was 2-for-2 with three walks. The newest member of the club, Andy LaRoche, did not see action.

Scott Proctor (1-0), although he allowed a hit that scored a runner Kershaw left on base in the sixth, bounced a wild pitch and made an error, earned the win after the Dodgers' scored four times in the seventh.

San Diego, the best fielding team in the Major Leagues, weren't on this night, losing a pair of fly balls in the lights in the crucial seventh inning.

Maddux, unsuccessfully gunning for his 351st win, was philosophical. "There's not much you can do about it," Maddux said. "You can't give a team five outs." Maddux left the game for a pinch hitter in the sixth leading 2-1 but when Brian Corey took over things took a turn for the worst for San Diego.

The pitching matchup was interesting to say the least.

Kershaw came into the game trailing Maddux 250-0 in wins and was 21 years and 340 days Maddux's junior. That is the largest gap in career wins between two starters since Aug. 25, 1965, when San Francisco's Warren Spahn (361 wins) faced the Mets' Darrell Sutherland (one) according to the Elias Bureau.

Kershaw, 21 years and 340 days Maddux's junior, was born in Dallas, Texas on March 19, 1988 when Maddux was at Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona, preparing for his second full season in the big leagues, a season in which he would win 18 games.

The Dodgers' lefty allowed two runs on six hits over 5.1 innings. He walked four and struck out five, throwing 98 pitches, 58 of which were strikes.

Kershaw's start was the best of four, although he gave away a run in the third with a pair of walks and a wild pitch.

"The two walks in a row were frustrating, because it gets my pitch count up and I have to come out early again," said Kershaw. He walked 13 walks in 20 innings.

"I thought he was fine," said Torre. "A little wild at times, from the fact that he's not there yet. He overthrew some balls."

The Padres were impressed.

"He was throwing 95 but it looked 100," said Maddux. "He was sneaky quick."

"He had a really good fastball," said San Diego catcher Michael Barrett. "It's hard to believe that a kid at 20 years old could be pitching on the Major League level. I know he doesn't have the numbers of a guy who's had a lot of success but he had success today. I just think it shows how good he is."

Juan Pierre singled and stole second in the opening inning. With two out, Martin singled to right to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Martin would steal second and James Loney would walk before the inning ended.

San Diego tapped Kershaw for a run in the third. A wild pitch was sandwiched between a pair of walks before a single tied the game.

Maddux would retire the next seven Dodgers in a row before Martin singled again leading off the fourth. Loney followed with a single but Kemp lined into a double play.

The Padres and a high pitch count pushed Kershaw out of the game in the sixth. A walk, a single and a sacrifice brought the call for Proctor and he gave up a single that gave San Diego a 2-1 lead, wild pitched a runner to third and made an error before striking out Tony Clark and getting Scott Harriston on a foul pop to first.

As Martin would say after the game, "We got lucky. Anytime the other team gives you a couple of breaks, you have to take advantage." The Dodgers did and it snapped the Padres' season-high five-game winning streak.

Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Angel Berroa led off and hit an easy fly ball to center for the first out. Delwyn Young batted for Proctor and doubled to center, the ball bouncing off a diving Brian Giles' chest. Pierre's fly to left was lost in the lights and went for a single before Andre Ethier walked to load the bases and Jeff Kent bounced into a force at the plate.

Then in rapid order, Martin singled to right for two runs and a 3-2 lead. Loney was walked intentionally and Kemp bounced a shot behind second base that he beat out with Martin alertly scoring from second on the play on an ugly but successful slide around Bennett.

The sequence of events gave Los Angeles their sixth win in 18 games and Kemp added another RBI in the ninth on a bases-loaded grounder and Martin scored a second run on an error during the same play.

"Martin's pretty darn important for us, no question," said manager Joe Torre. "He does a lot of things to help us win. He catches, he hits, he runs the bases, and catchers usually don't have that ability. He can the ball to all fields. In that situation, the game doesn't speed up for him. He's had a lot of big at-bats for us. Tonight, that was huge."

The Dodgers' All-Star catcher had three hits, drove in three runs, stole a base and scored twice, both runs coming on balls that never got out of the infield and boosted his average to .321.

The Dodgers send their other wonderkind Chad Billingsley (4-6, 3.57 ERA) to the mound to face former Dodger Randy Wolf (4-4, 4.06 ERA) in the second game of the series.

?In Billingsley's last start, against the Cubs. He was struck out eight of the first 10 but allowed a pair of home runs and allowed four in the fifth inning. His 2.96 road ERA since his big league debut on June 15, 2006, ranks fourth in the Majors.

Wolf worked seven strong innings in his last start against the Mets at PETCO Park, and won his fourth game, lowering his ERA to 4.06. Wolf showed good command of his fastball, and his breaking ball came on late in the game. Wolf allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in the win.

The Dodgers (31-33) have won three out of four including the first of a 10-game road trip. They have scored seven runs twice in their past three games and remain 3 1/2 behind the Snakes, who won at New York.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	100 000 402-7
San Diego	001 001 000-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	5  2  2  0  .284?
Ethier rf	3  1  1  0  .295?
Kent 2b	        5  1  1  0  .250
 Maza pr-2b	0  1  0  0  .233?
Martin c	5  2  3  3  .321?
Loney 1b	2  0  2  0  .287?
Kemp cf	        5  0  1  3  .299?
DeWitt 3b	5  0  1  0  .290?
Berroa ss	3  0  1  0  .167
Kershaw p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Proctor p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Young ph	1  0  1  0  .295
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	36 7 13 6
  San Diego	35 2  9 1

 Error- Kent (4), Proctor (1). 2b hits- Young
(5), Ethier (14). RBI- Martin 3 (29), Kemp 3
(38). S- Kershaw. SB- Martin 6), Pierre (24). 
LOB- Los Angeles 9, San Diego 11. 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kershaw	       5.1  6  2-2  4  5  4.50
Proctor (1-0)  0.2  0  0-0  0  1  5.27
Beimel	       0.2  1  0-0  0  0  1.40
Broxton	       1.1  0  0-0  0  4  4.44
Wade	       1.0  2  0-0  1  0  .1.37
 WP- Kershaw, Proctor. T- 3:10. Att- 26,860.
A Ways to go for Furcal
Rafael Furcal says he feels good, but Dr. Watkins examined him over the weekend and said he won't be ready to play for at least another two weeks. After that he would need a rehab of a week or so. That means he might -- might -- come back the week before the All-Star break. At the same time, Nomar Garciaparra is expected to start a rehab assignment perhaps by the end of this week, and will play shortstop. Torre said Nomar won't need the full 20 days.

Andy's Handy
Andy LaRoche was asked to take ground balls at first base on his first day back in The Show. "Now that he's here, we have to find a place for him to play to get enough at-bats so he can help us off the bench," said manager Joe Torre, indicating that LaRoche has become a utility man. Torre said that with the Padres starting left-hander Randy Wolf tonight (Wednesday), LaRoche would start the game, but was undecided whether it would be at third base in place of DeWitt, or first base in place of James Loney. LaRoche was hitting .267 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 38 games with the 51s at third base, first base, and second base.

Torre said he wasn't planning on starting LaRoche at second base, even though Jeff Kent is not expected to start Thursday's day game, but was comfortable enough with reports of LaRoche's play at second to use him at the position in a double-switch.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Jonathan Broxton has made three appearances without allowing a hit and struck out all four Padres he face in the first game of the S.D. series. Broxton can't explain what makes the difference between a good and a not so good outing, but Martin said, "I think he struggled using the fastball at one level, and now we're getting him to change eye levels with it and he's more effective. The guy throws 98. Not many hitters can catch up to that, and he was doing so well, that he wasn't going to change. But the hitters adjust. Now we're giving them pitches at different levels. He's finding new ways that make him more complete and he's finding out about himself." ...Scott Proctor has thrown four wild pitches in just 27.1 innings. ... The Dodgers were successful on two stolen base attempts (Martin and Pierre), running the total against San Diego to 10-for-10 in the last five games. ...The Dodgers kick off a 10-day, nine-game road trip with their third three-game series against the Padres this season. Following the San Diego set, the Dodgers will play three in Detroit this weekend and then after an off day, close the trip with their second trip into Cincinnati. ...Beginning on May 23, the Dodgers have lost 12 of their last 17 games while facing the Cardinals, Cubs, Mets, and Rockies. However, despite the 5-12 mark, have lost just 1.0 game in the standings to the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, who have a 6-11 record since May 23. ...First baseman James Loney is currently riding a nine game hitting streak that started on June 1. Loney is hitting .367 (11-for-30) during the streak with eight singles and has only collected two multi-hit game over this stretch. This streak is his second-longest streak overall, as the Houston, TX native hit in a Dodger season-high 15 straight games to start the season. ...On this date in 1975, Dodger second baseman Davey Lopes stole second base against Montreal to begin his Major League-record string of 38 consecutive stolen bases.  Outfielder Juan Pierre leads the current club with 24 stolen bases and last year swiped a career-best 18 straight without getting caught from July 4 to August 17.