Lowe Goes Eight, Allows One Hit in Win

Derek Lowe did a perfect Greg Maddux imitation, after sweating so profusely he pitched without an undershirt. He also, like Maddux, dominated his opponent, holding the Nationals hardly to a single hit over eight innings in a 6-0 victory, and the Dodgers have won each of his past four starts.

"Anytime you get runs, it allows you to settle down," Lowe said after the game. "First pitch strikes were important tonight. That's a team that is very aggressive, so you can't just throw any first-pitch in there and get lazy. You have to make it a quality pitch. The defense made a lot of really good plays behind me and kept the momentum on our side."

The Dodgers beat former teammate Odalis Perez (3-8), his fourth loss in his last five decisions, and he allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings. The Nationals have been shut out in three of his last four starts.

On the other side of the field, Lowe (8-8) struck out four, walked one and retired his last 13 batters. He also had a pair of singles and an RBI.

Lowe gave up his only hit when Ron Belliard doubled off the center field fence with one out in the fourth.

Lowe threw 107 pitches and could have finished the game but the 12-year veteran left the last three outs to the bullpen. Joe Beimel and Cory Wade worked around a hit and a walk in the ninth to close out the shutout.

After starting slow with a 2-4 record after his first 10 starts, he is 6-4 since with a 2.64 ERA over his past 12 starts.

Perez faced the Dodgers for the first time since they traded him to Kansas City in July 2006, and after 16 pitches the left-hander quickly fell behind 3-0. Juan Pierre singled to leadoff and Matt Kemp extending his hitting streak to a career-best 13 games with his 12th home run.

Russell Martin followed with a double and after Jeff Kent struck out, he scored on Garciaparra's sacrifice fly to give Lowe an early 3-0 lead. Newly-arrived Casey Blake struck out in his first Dodger at-bat.

The Dodgers made it 6-0 in the fourth when Garciaparra led off with his fifth home run, Angel Berroa doubled home a run and Lowe followed with an RBI single.

Garciaparra has been the Dodgers' catalyst since returing to the lineup July 4, hitting .315 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games. He started at first base for the first time this season when manager Joe Torre wanted to give James Loney a night off. He later put Loney in for defense for the final two innings.

Perez was 45-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 120 starts for Los Angeles between 2002 and 2006. In his first season, he threw a pair of one-hit shutouts and finished 15-10 with a 3.00 ERA and 155 strikeouts—all career highs. Since leaving them, he is 13-23 with a 5.20 ERA in 57 starts.

Blake, acquired by the Dodgers from Cleveland for a pair of minor leaguers (see related story), started at third base and was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Blake, who was batting .234 through the end of May, is hitting .352 in 45 games since then with 29 RBIs. He is the fifth player to start at third base this season for Los Angeles.

After the game, Blake told writers that when the Indians visited Los Angeles, something didn't seem right and he wondered why the Dodgers were below .500.

"When we left town, we were asking ourselves that question," Blake said. "There's just a wealth of talent on this team and the pitching staff's incredible. There is no reason that this team can't win the division."

Andruw Jones continues to disappoint, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a double-play grounder and may find himself the odd-man out because Torre wants to use a regular lineup for the remainder of the season.

Blake struck out in his first at-bat as a Dodger but doubled and scored a run in the fourth inning and singled in the sixth.

"What a nice way to break in," Torre said. "We're pitching now like we were in the first half."

Clayton Kershaw, will draws the start today in the final game of the series, is hoping to earn his first Major League victory today in his 10th career start.

Kershaw has held the opposition to three runs or fewer in six of his starts, but only once has he completed six innings. The Dodgers are 4-5 when he takes the mound.

He will be making his second start since being recalled from Jacksonville, and he wants to put his previous outing at Colorado out of his mind when he allowed five runs on 10 hits in three innings.

Kershaw was 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings over three starts at Jacksonville. He finished his stint with 16 straight scoreless innings.

"I definitely made some progress when I was down there, went deeper into games, first pitch contact a lot, first pitch strikes a lot, so just trying to get ahead of the hitters," Kershaw said. "It's kind of just trying to get all three pitches every time out the way they want it to be. It's getting better, is still a work in progress but it's getting more comfortable."

He will face RHP Jason Bergmann (1-7, 4.21 ERA). Bergmann gave up three home runs that accounted for four of the Giants' five runs in his last start. Bergmann went five innings, striking out one batter and walking none. The Nationals have won just two of the 16 games he's appeared in this season.

 Score by innings
Washington	000 000 000-0	
Los Angeles	300 300 00x-6

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	4  1  1  0  .277
Kemp rf        	4  1  1  2  .290
Martin c	4  1  1  0  .294
Kent 2b        	3  0  0  0  .255
 Loney 1b	1  0  1  0  .302
Garciaparra 1b	2  1  1  2  .282
 Ozuna 2b	1  0  0  0  .333
Blake 3b	3  1  2  0  .667
Jones cf	3  0  0  0  .166
Berroa ss	3  1  1  1  .210
Lowe p	        3  0  2  1  .195
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	31 6 10 6
  Washington	29 0  2 0

 Two base hits- Martin (19), Blake (1),
Berroa (4). HR- Kemp (12). RBI- Kemp 2
(57), Garciaparra 2 (19), Berroa (3),
Lowe (5). SF- Garciaparra. LOB- Los Angeles
2, Washington 4.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-r bb so  era
Lowe (8-8)	8.0  1  0-0  1  4  3.74
Beimel        	0.1  1  0-0  0  0  1.76
Wade        	0.2  0  0-0  1  1  2.91
 TD- 2:17. Att- 42,122.
Blake DeWitt Optioned to Vegas
The Dodgers optioned third baseman Blake DeWitt to Triple-A Las Vegas. The move was made to create a 25-man roster spot Blake.  

DeWitt, the Dodgers' Opening Day third baseman, batted .257 with five homers and 35 RBI in 88 games.  He won National League Rookie of the Month honors for May, when he hit .322 (28-for-87) with five homers and 18 RBI in 26 games.  The 22-year-old has batted only .200 (25-for-125) with six RBI in 40 games since.   

Blake, who will wear No. 30, Maury Wills old number, started at third base and hitting sixth in the second game of a three-game series against the Nationals at Dodger Stadium.  

Dodger Blue Notes-- When former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley is inducted posthumously into the Baseball Hall of Fame today, he will join two other former team executives enshrined at Cooperstown—Branch Rickey (1967) and Larry MacPhail (1978). Among the contingent representing the organization at O'Malley's induction will be Tommy Lasorda, longtime traveling secretary Bill DeLury and Spanish language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin. O'Malley's son, former Dodgers president and owner Peter O'Malley, will speak on his father's behalf. Walter O'Malley died in 1979. ...Dodgers bullpen coach Ken Howell has returned to work after being hospitalized with a staph infection that caused him to have the middle toe on his right foot amputated. ...Loney is the only player to appear in all 103 games for the Dodgers. ...The Dodgers have won five straight and 10 of 11 against the Nationals, including eight in a row at Dodger Stadium. Saturday's 6-0 victory was their first victory of more than a run against Washington in the teams' past five meetings. ... Los Angeles has been no more than one game out of first place in the National League West for 10 straight days, excluding the All-Star break, and has been more than one out just once since July 4. ... With a victory on Sunday, the Dodgers can reach the .500 mark for the first time since being 27-27 on May 30. ... Andy LaRoche said the 12 at-bats he got while starting four consecutive games before Saturday could help get him on track for the pinch-hitting role he will assume after the Casey Blake trade. ...Saturday's shutout lowered the Dodgers' National League-leading home ERA to 2.99. Only the Rays' 2.93 home ERA is better in the Majors.

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