Lowe Earns Rare Road Victory

Sometimes when you offer to take one for the team good things happen. Derek Lowe might question that homily, but after volunteering to start out of turn, after he had already gone through an extensive workout and he had been winless on the road for the last 10 months, darned if the Dodgers didn't get him some runs and play some defense behind him and and the result was a 6-1 win over Cincinnati.

Hiroki Kuroda was scheduled to make the start, but told the team a day earlier that he had a sore pitching shoulder. By that point, Lowe had already done a strenuous off-day workout. He was moved up a day and took Kuroda's place, but told Torre not to expect much.

It isn't as if Lowe (5-6) hadn't pitched well on the road, rather he seemed to be snake-bitten while away from home. During his 12-year major league career he has been 28 games over .500 at home and 15 under on the road.

So in his 12th attempt to win away from home, on a night he felt awful, he surrendered a home run in the second inning and it seemed like deja vu all over again. But that was just a small glitch on the way to the Dodgers first back-to-back win since they took the middle two games of that four-game split with the Cubs to close out the last homestand.

However, Lowe gave up only three hits, including a solo homer in the second inning, and matched his season high with six strikeouts. Manager Joe Torre took him out after his 85th pitch in the sixth inning with Los Angeles ahead 4-1, much to the surprise of the Reds and their broadcast crew.

Hong-Chic Kuo made that decision look like George Donner and his party's decision to beat the winter over the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1846 and you know how that turned out. After Lowe had recorded the first out, Kuo gave up a single and a double and the L.A. 3-1 lead didn't seem big enough.

But from that point on, the lefthander pitched through the eighth inning, allowing only two more harmless hits and handed the then 6-1 lead to Cory Wade, who waisted no time buttoning up the win.

"I may be prouder of this game than any," Lowe said. "It was an absolute struggle from the first pitch. You go out there and go as far as you can."

James Loney had a solo homer and a run-scoring double, giving the Dodgers to their sixth victory in seven games against the Reds this season. Juan Pierre's two-run triple in the seventh put the game out of reach.

Loney has hit safely in 15 straight starts and 19 of the last 20. In the month of June, Loney is hitting .396 (21-for-53), has a .475 on-base percentage, with five doubles, a triple and a homer. He's boosted his average from .268 late in May to an even .300.

Loney is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with two of his six homers and seven RBI against the Reds this season and remains the only Dodger to appear all 71 of the team's games this season.

At the urging of manager Joe Torre as well as hitting coaches Mike Easler and Don Mattingly, Loney has become more selective and worked deeper into counts during his at-bats this month.

"When I see a good pitch come, I should swing," Loney said. "That's the way I like to think about it. I might only get one good pitch per at-bat. I don't want to miss it." Whatever his theory is, you can see it is working out quite well.

Andre Ethier was in a 2-for-20 slump coming into the game, counted a run-scoring single among his three hits. Pierre's two-run triple in the seventh off reliever made it 6-1.

"It's what managers like to see, when you score in one inning and another inning and another inning," Torre said. "It's something we haven't done in a while, sustain some offense.

"Hopefully, we can just stay there. That's the trick here -- to just try and stay there and get these good at-bats and making the pitchers work. I think we did a great job of that tonight."

Los Angeles scored runs in the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings and never trailed, giving Reds starter Bronson Arroyo trouble from the very beginning.

Pierre singled to lead off the first and advanced to second when Jeff Kent was hit by a pitch. Pierre moved to third on a fielder's choice before scoring on a wild pitch.

The Dodgers scored again in the second when Ethier's single to left plated Kemp for a 2-0 lead. The Reds to within one run before Loney's home run in the fourth made it 3-1.

Loney's RBI double in the seventh added another run and Pierre hit a one-out triple over the head of center fielder Corey Patterson to put the game out of reach. Patterson was playing shallow and could not recover in time to make the catch, allowing Ethier and Angel Berroa to score.

The win clinched for the Dodgers their first series win since they swept the Reds May 19-21.

"Right now, road, home, another country, I don't think it really matters -- we're looking for wins," Lowe said. "We haven't gotten on a consistent roll. We had a good stretch in the middle of May, but it's been hit-and-miss. Hopefully, we can end a successful trip here."

Dodgers move up to 33-38 but Arizona beat Oakland so they don't gain any ground. Colorado won but both San Diego and San Francisco lost.

Matchups for the final game in Cincinnati and the series against Cleveland in Los Angeles starting Friday.

Today LHP Eric Stults (first start) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (3-9, 4.10)
Friday LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-1, 3.75) vs LHP Cliff Lee (10-1, 2.55)
Saturday Chan Ho Park (2-2, 2.95) vs LHP C.C. Sabathia (5-8, 4.26)
Sunday Chad Billingsley (5-7, 3.54) vs. RHP Paul Byrd

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	110 101 200-6
Cincinnati	010 000 000-1

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	4  1  2  2  .281
DeWitt 3b	4  1  1  0  .278
Kent 2b        	3  0  0  0  .249
 Maza 2b	0  0  0  0  .245
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .306
Loney 1b	3  1  2  2  .300
Kemp cf	        4  1  1  0  .291
Ethier lf	4  1  3  1  .286
Berroa ss	3  1  0  0  .154
Lowe p	        2  0  0  0  .179
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .113
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	32 6 9 5
  Cincinnati	33 1 7 1

 2b hits- DeWitt (8), Loney (15), Ethier (16).
2b hit- Pierre (1). HR- Loney (6). RBI- Ethier
(27), Loney 3 (334), Pierre 2 (22). S- Kuo.
SB- Kemp (13), CS- Pierre (7). DP- Berroa and
Loney.

 Los Angeles	 in  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe (5-6)	5.1  3  1-1  2  6  3.90
Kuo	        2.2  4  0-0  0  4  1.88
Wade	        1.0  0  0-0  1  0  1.96
 HBP- Kent. TD- 2:36. Att- 20,044.
Finally, Some Good News
The diagnosis on Kuroda is good. He was diagnosed with inflammation in the shoulder, received a cortisone shot and will miss his next start. Chan Ho Park will take his place Saturday against Cleveland. Kuroda probably going on the DL so they can call up a reliever to replace Park. ...Yesterday was the seven-year anniversary of Dodger outfielder Juan Pierre's first Major League home run, an opposite field shot over the scoreboard at Minute Maid Park in Houston off former Dodger Jose Lima. Pierre has hit 12 career home runs and none since Sept. 18, 2006, when he took Philadelphia's Jon Lieber deep. Pierre has 895 at-bats as a Dodger without a home run, which ranks third all-time, behind Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton (1,235) and outfielder Johnny Cooney (1,004). ...Angel Berroa, who so far hasn't been an improvement at the plate over Chin-Lung Hu (.154 to Hu's .159), dove into the stands to catch a foul in the ninth inning. ...After his first game in Las Vegas, Nomar Garciaparra said something "didn't feel right," but felt confident he would be ready to play by Friday. ...Torre said he left a voice message on the phone of Willie Randolph, who was fired as the manager of the New York Mets. Randolph was a coach on Torre's staff with the New York Yankees. "Because you've been fired -- I guess I can say that three times -- it doesn't mean you don't know what you're doing," Torre said.

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