Good Penny Reurns and Dodgers Love It

The new guy hit a home run -- no, not Manny, Casey Blake. Jeff Kent slammed a three-run double and Brad Penny put a positive charge into the Dodgers by working five innings and allowing the Giants one hit in a 6-2 win. With the win and a Arizona loss the Dodgers move back to within a half game of the N.L. West lead.

The major participants in the win dramatically indicated the changes that the Dodgers' lineup has undergone in the past weeks. Angel Berroa doubled and knocked in a run and Danny Ardoin homered as did Casey Blake.

Manager Joe Torre put an all-righthanded team on the field to face San Francisco's Barry Zito and it worked out well with one exception. Andruw Jones was 0-for-3, but he didn't strike out, which must be a victory of sorts for batting coach Don Mattingly.

Penny, working on a strict pitch count (he threw 76 pitches), allowed only a double in the first inning, a drive that scored Randy Winn who had walked, and gave the Giants a 1-0 lead.

Penny (6-9), who was activated before the game, won for the first time since May 2 and ended a personal seven-game losing streak. He said his problem right shoulder felt fine, although he walked three and did not strike out a batter.

Torre said Penny wasn't as sharp as normal but thought he was a little rusty. "It seemed like he was having an easy time throwing the ball. His velocity varied somewhat but he knows its there."

The big right-hander had missed nearly two months because of a right shoulder injury. It was his first start since allowing seven runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings at Detroit on June 14.

Cory Wade allowed a solo homer, old reliable Chan Ho Park went into the ninth and came within a out of recording a three-inning save, before walking two and giving way to Jonathan Broxton who loaded the bases with a four-pitch walk before he struck out Randy Winn to clinch the win and his seventh save in a dozen opportunities.

Torre used Casey Blake at first, Russell Martin at third and Danny Ardoin behind the plate to pack as many right-handed bats into the lineup as possible against lefty Barry Zito. Blake responded with his second homer and Ardoin banged his first round-tripper in nearly three years.

But the big bat belonged to Jeff Kent, who smacked a bases-loaded double in the Dodgers five-run fifth inning. The three RBIs put him one behind Mickey Mantle (1,509) 47th on the career list.

Ardoin, a former teammate of Zito's, tied the game with his home run before Penny and Matt Kemp singled. Martin walked to load the bases and Kent promptly unloaded them.

With two out, Angel Berroa doubled to score Kent and the Dodgers led 5-1. Blake hit his second Dodger homer in the sixth to end the scoring.

"It seems like it's been a long time since I've been out there," Penny said. "It was good to be able to throw strikes again."

Penny was in the 88-90 range with his fastball after hitting 98 on the gun in a rehab start in 106 degree temperature in Oklahoma. He pointed out that the cold conditions (59 degrees and windy) contributed to the diminished speed.

"It was cold, especially after the long inning, and I was just throwing strikes. I didn't want to overdo it," said Penny. "My command was OK, but I wasn't trying to throw that hard. Yeah, I was a little rusty. My shoulder was a little more stiff than I'd like it to be.

"I was a little uncomfortable. I haven't been out there in a while. I felt like I was a little out of whack. You can't go out there with a five-run lead and walk people, so I made sure I was throwing strikes. I was hoping for quick outs."

Manny Ramirez, who had homered in four of his first six games with the Dodgers, was 0-for-5 but Torre pointed out that his presence in the lineup contributes even if he doesn't get a hit.

"When the other club has its meeting before the series starts and they tell the pitchers they can't let this guy beat you, well, Jeff Kent has also been that kind of hitter his whole life. They have to pitch to somebody."

The Dodgers have won 17 of their last 22 games in San Francisco and moved to 58-57 on the season and back to within a half-game of the DBacks.

Matchups for the second game of the series tonight will see RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-8, 4.21 ERA) taking the mound for the Dodgers.?Kuroda had three ugly starts after the All-Star break before he beat the Diamondbacks, allowing only one run on four hits in 7.1 innings with six strikeouts and no walks.

RHP Kevin Correia (2-6, 5.53 ERA) gets the call for the Giants after holding the Padres to a pair of runs and three hits over 6.1 innings in his last start.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	005 001 000-6	
San Francisco	100 001 000-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Kemp rf	        5  1  2  0  .294
Martin c	4  1  0  0  .290
Kent 2b	        3  1  1  3  .262
 Ozuna pr-2b	1  0  0  0  .154
Ramirez lf	5  0  0  0  .464
Blake 1b	4  1  1  1  .333
Jones cf	3  0  0  0  .162
Berroa ss	4  0  1  1  .218
Ardoin c	2  1  1  1  .233
Penny p	        1  1  1  0  .200
 Sweeney ph	0  0  0  0  .144
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Park p	        1  0  1  0  .111
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	33 6 8 6
  San Francisco	29 2 3 2

 Error- Kent (10). 2b hits- Kent (20), 
Berroa (6). HR- Ardoin (1). RBI- 
Ardoin (4), Kent 3 (49), Berroa (6), 
Blake (2). S- Penny. LOB- Los Angeles 7, 
San Francisco 8. DP- Berroa, Kent 
and Blake.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Penny (6-9)	5.0  1  1-1  3  0  5.66
Wade	        1.0  2  1-1  0  1  2.56
Park	        2.2  0  0-0  2  2  2.61
Broxton (sv 7)	0.1  0  0-0  1  1  3.02
 HBP- Ardoin. T- 2:53. Att- 40,141,
Falkenborg Designated for Assignment
To make room for Brad Penny on the 25-man roster, Brian Falkenborg was designated for assignment. He told Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily New that if he clears waivers, he'll accept an assignment to Las Vegas. He said that if no team claims him off waivers, no team is going to then sign him as a free agent to pitch in the majors. The Dodgers didn't promised him a September callup but told him "there is a good chance."

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?
Torre is still fussing about Manny Ramirez long hair, He asked him when he was going to get it cut and was told next week. Manny wondered how short it had to be and Torre said he would get back to him.

Torre jokingly said it might be a Sampson and Delilah thing if he insisted on the haircut and Ramirez lost his power.

. "We'll have to see the results. If that happens, I'm out of town," Torre said with a smile. "It's a long homestand; I could be taking a beating. I never imagined when I started managing 25 years ago I'd be talking about this. Some old-timers would be spinning in their graves over this."

But then again, the Dodgers will soon be selling licensed Manny bandanas with attached dreadlocks and if Manny does cut his long locks, that would impact on the sales.

Sour Grapes in Boston
"And the wolf, who jumped and jumped but couldn't reach the grapes hanging high on the vine, walked away saying, "I'll bet they are sour anyway," goes the old children's story.

In what seems like a modern sour grapes story, the Boston Globe reported last week that Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras, his agent, went back to the Red Sox after the trade had been finalized and tried to back out of the deal, promising that Manny would play hard if the Red Sox would eliminate his two option years.

Ramirez and Boras said the report was inaccurate but the commissioner's office is looking into whether Manny deliberately dogged it in his final days in Boston.

?Of course, the source for that report has never been identified, that the report has never been corroborated by any additional source and the fact that Manny exploded into a home run/RBI machine when he reached Los Angeles probably had much to do with the accuisation. And you can bet, if Manny was 0-for-35, the Sox would be doing nothing but smileing right now.

Dodger Blue Notes --Torre needs one win to tie Joe McCarthy (2,126) for seventh on the all-time list. ...The Dodgers have hit a home run in a season-high six straight games. ...Area scout Lon Joyce was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. Joyce was one of 12 scouts inducted into the inaugural PBSHOF, which is sponsored by the Topps Company Inc. ...Scott Proctor will test his elbow off a mound Monday. Disabled closer Takashi Saito, with a seriously injured elbow, has begun throwing. Disabled starter Jason Schmidt will throw off a mound Sunday in a last-ditch attempt to return this season. Disabled catcher Gary Bennett (foot injury) has resumed running with a goal of being activated when rosters expand Sept. 1. ...Inland Empire's Jason Miller took a no-hitter into the ninth inning last night and after allowing a one-out single and a walk, was removed and a three run homer beat the Loons 3-2. See the complete story in our Minor League report.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories