That Wolf at the Door Looks Familiar

The Dodgers didn't re-sign Randy Wolf because he wasn't a good pitcher. After all in 2007 he won nine games for them in the first half. They did think, however, he was a bit too fragile after he missed the second half of the season with shoulder surgery. But like Greg Maddux before him, he handled his old team with little problem, holding them to four hits over seven innings in a 4-1 win.

The Wolf at the Door Looks Familiar It's sort of like the country-western song that goes, "How do You Like Me Now?

The Dodgers' in-again, out-again offense was out this night and they went hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Wolf, who graduated from El Camino Real High School and attended Pepperdine, grew up a Dodgers fan and after eight sometimes-injury marred seasons with Philadelphia, wanted to come home and made the Dodgers an offer they couldn't refuse -- a bargain rate.

Wolf, who is now 5-4, didn't realize when he went on the 15-day disabled list last July 4 with soreness in his left shoulder that he would never pitch in a Dodgers uniform again. He was 9-6 at the time with a 4.73 ERA, and the Dodgers had won in 11 of his 18 starts.

After a minor-league rehabilitation start with Inland Empire on July 25, the pain returned, and his season as well as his Dodgers' career, was over.

After his season-ending surgery he apparently disappeared off the Dodgers radar, later signing a one-year, $4.75 million contract (about half his previous Dodgers contract) with the Padres last December.

Ironically, he signed the same day the Dodgers dumped $36 million on Andruw Jones and just days before they coughed up another $35 million for Hiroki Kuroda.

"I was coming off surgery, and they had their eyes on some other guys," Wolf said. "I think the decision was made, and that was understandable considering the shoulder injury. I'm just happy the Padres showed some interest."

So two seasons in succession Los Angeles let a pair of starting pitchers walk (Maddux and Wolf, who back-to-back them have allowed two runs in 13 innings, for a 1.38 ERA) to one of their main competitors while attempting to make due with names such as Hendrickson and Tomko and Loaiza and ... well, you get the picture.

With the skill of a neurosurgeon, Wolf pitched like he was double parked, and the game lasted just seven minutes over two hours.

In his first game, Andy LaRoche (who started at first base) demonstrated why the Dodgers thought so much of him in the spring by slammed a home run to straightaway left that smacked off a railing on the left side of the second deck before dropping into the seats below.

That was the only run Wolf would allow. He struck out nine batters, including Matt Kemp three times, putting him on a pace to fan 172 times this season, and gave up just four hits.

With Kent scheduled for an off day today, Manager Joe Torre said he might start LaRoche at second base. Torre had said he did not envision starting LaRoche at second base. "That was off the top of my head," Torre said, sounding like a man grasping for offensive straws. "I may take the chance. I don't know."

Juan Pierre singled in the first, LaRoche walked and Angel Berroa singled in the second, LaRoche homered in the fourth, Delwyn Young doubled in the sixth and then Russell Martin doubled off Trevor Hoffman in the ninth.

Chad Billingsley gave up all four San Diego runs on eight hits during his seven inning start. Hong-Chih Kuo worked a scoreless eighth.

Kemp helped Billingsley with a nice diving catch in the first and an even better running catch in the second. DeWitt also helped in the second, diving to knock down a ground ball and throwing from his knees for the out.

Wolf retired the final six batters he faced, striking out the final two, before leaving the game. Heath Bell and Hoffman finished L.A. off.

The best and last chance came in the sixth, when Delwyn Young slugged a ground-rule double into deep right-center, moved to third on Jeff Kent's grounder and died there when Martin bounced to third and Kemp struck out.

"I think any win is a win, regardless of who it's against," Wolf said. "But anytime you pitch against your old team, even if you only pitched for them for half a season, you always want to do well."

The Dodgers dropped to 31-34 and stay 3 1/2 behind the Snakes after the Mets beat Arizona. Colorado nipped the Giants and they remain three behind Los Angeles but closer to L.A. than the Dodgers are to the DBacks.

Hiroki Kuroda (3-5, 3.49) faces Cy Young winner Jake Peavey (4-3, 3.91), who is just coming off the disabled list, today in a 3:35 (ET) contest.
 Score by innings'
Los Angeles	000 100 000-1
San Diego	111 000 10x-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	4  0  1  0  .283
Young rf	4  0  1  0  .292
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .286
Kent 2b	        4  0  0  0  .245
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .320
Kemp cf	        4  0  0  0  .294
LaRoche 1b	2  1  1  1  .500	
 Loney ph	1  0  0  0  .286
DeWitt 3b	3  0  0  0  .286
Berroa ss	3  0  1  0  .222
Billingsley p	2  0  0  0  .083
 Ethier ph-rf	1  0  0  0  .294
  Totals	32 1 5 1
  San Diego	30 4 8 4 

 2b hits- Young (6), Martin (10). HR- LaRoche
(1).RBI- LaRoche (1). LOB- Los angeles 5, 
San Diego 4. DP- DeWitt, Kent and LaRoche.

 Los Angeles	  in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (4-7) 7.0  8  4-4  1  3  3.71
Kuo	          1.0  0  0-0  0  2  1.88
 T- 2:07. Att- 29,218.
Dodger Blue Notes --Pierre entered play Wednesday batting .429 off left-handers. ...Torre gave what he said was a day off to first baseman James Loney. ...Outfielder Andre Ethier, batting .178 off left-handers, has started against a left-hander once in the last six weeks. ...Danny Ardoin is scheduled to catch Hiroki Kuroda for the third time today; Torre said that pairing could become established and help ensure Russell Martin gets one day in five off. ...Catcher Gary Bennett, on a rehabilitation assignment with Las Vegas, did not play Tuesday because of what Torre said was a recurrence of soreness in his foot. ...The Dodgers reached preliminary agreements with several of last week's Draft picks: third-rounder Kyle Russell, OF, University of Texas (in excess of $400,000); fourth-rounder Devaris-Strange Gordon (son of Major Leaguer Tom), SS, Southeastern University (in excess of $225,000) and eighth-rounder Nick Buss, OF, USC. First-rounder Ethan Martin is on a high school tour and not signed, but the club is expected to reach an agreement with him for a bonus around $1.7 million.

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