Dodgers Put it Together in 6-2 Win

Things fell into place for the Dodgers as they returned to Los Angeles on the final lap of a long exhibition season. The pitching was solid. Randy Wolf allowed one unearned run on four hits over three innings in his final start before the games start to really count. He struck three and walked two as the Western Division defending winners met in the abbreviated Freeway "Series".

Ramon Troncoso worked a perfect fourth inning. Newcomer Ronald Belisario continued to impress, pitching two scoreless innings and fanning three. Guillermo Mota added a scoreless seventh. Will Ohman struck out the one Angel he faced before Cory Wade finished the eighth inning and Jonathan Broxton gave up the final Angeles run in the ninth.

The Dodgers lined out 10 hits, three by James Loney plus home runs from Casey Blake and Andre Ethier homered and tripled. There were also doubles by Rafael Furcal and Matt Kemp.

Manager Joe Torre was lavish with his praise of Ethier.

"Ethier is a pure hitter," Torre said. "Last year, he had some transitional things going on with being a regular and then not being a regular. Now he's come into spring training as regular again. He's still going to fight himself probably more than you want him to, but this kid is a pure hitter and I'm very pleased with how he's progressed."

But there were plenty of kudos to go around.

"We expect more from everybody, really," Torre continued. "I know Russell can do a better job than he did last year and become more of the player he was in the year previous to that -- which I didn't know about because I wasn't here.

"I think Loney is poised to have a huge year offensively. Matt Kemp, there's so much in there. He's very coachable in this point in time. When he's going to reach that next level, I can't tell you. But hopefully, he'll take some steps this year."

All in all it was a feel-good night.

Wolf used 51 pitches, allowing four hits and an unearned run caused by Martin's passed ball. He won four games during the spring season in seven starts.

Blake banged his fourth home run of the spring a 3-2 pitch into the left-field seats in the second inning with Loney on base to put the Dodgers on top for good.

Martin's passed ball helped the Angels get on the board in the third but Manny Ramirez singled (in addition to walking twice) and Ethier tripled him home in the bottom of the inning. Kemp doubled for one run in the eighth and rode home of Ethier's home run.

Orlando Hudson demonstrated his prowess in the field by converting a bad-hop ground ball in the first inning into a double play, the first of three twin-killings the Dodgers pulled off.

"There's no question our defense should be much tighter than it's been— not only with Hudson, but having Rafael Furcal for the whole year and having Casey Blake at third base for the whole year," Torre said. "But we have to understand that in order for that to do us any good, we've got to get our pitchers to throw ground balls. That would be ideal."

The Dodgers begin a two-game series with the Brewers on Friday at 7:10 p.m PT. Chad Billingsley will start for the Dodgers against the Brewers. Billingsley is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA in five Spring Training starts.

 Score by innings
Angels	001 000 001-2
Dodgers	021 010 02x-6

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  2  0  .242
 Hu ss	        0  0  0  0  .264
Hudson 2b	4  0  0  0  .203
 Castro 2b	0  0  0  0  .415
Ramirez lf	1  1  1  1  .500
 Loretta ph	1  0  0  0  .242
 Repko lf	0  0  0  0  .237
Ethier rf	4  1  2  2  .291
Martin c	3  0  0  0  .333
 Ausmus c	1  0  0  0  .302
Loney 1b	4  1  3  0  .277
Kemp cf	        4  1  1  1  .259
Blake 3b	3  1  1  2  .255
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
Wolf p	        1  0  0  0  .400
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 M'kiewicz ph	1  0  0  0  .268
 Belisario p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Mota p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph	1  0  0  0  .266
 Ohman p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 DeWitt 3b	0  0  0  0  .296
 Totals	        32 6 10 6
 Angels	        32 2  8 2

 Two-base hits- Furcal (3), Loney (2), Kemp 
(5). 3b- Ethier (2), HR- Blake (4), Ether (2). 
RBI- Blake (2 (7), Ethier 2 (12), Ramirez 
(2), Kemp (16). LOB- Los Angeles 5, Angels 
8. DP- Hudson, Furcal and Loney; Blake and 
Hudson; Furcal, Hudson and Loney.

 Los Angeles	 in  h r-er bb so  era
Wolf (4-2)	3.0  4  1-0  2  3  4.24
Troncoso	1.0  0  0-0  0  0  5.40
Belisario	2.0  2  0-0  1  3  0.00
Mota	        1.0  0  0-0  0  1 13.50
Ohman	        0.2  1  0-0  0  0  4.50
Broxton	        1.0  1  1-1  1  2 11.57
 PB- Martin. t- 2:56. Att- 31,023.
Braves Interested in Repko
The Braves talked with the Dodgers about a trade for outfielder Jason Repko, but decided against trading a pitching prospect for a spare outfielder at a time when they appear ready to commit to Jordan Schafer in center field.

"Almost, but not quite," one major-league source said when asked about the discussions.

Repko, a right-handed hitter, could have platooned with Schafer or Gregor Blanco, both of whom are left-handed hitters.

The teams could reconsider the possible trade later.

Dodger Blue Notes --Notes When Hiroki Kuroda makes his season debut on Opening Day, he will become the third different Japanese-born pitcher to start for a major league team on opening day, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, and two of them were with the Dodgers. Hideo Nomo started for Detroit in 2000, and for the Dodgers in both 2003 and 2004. Daisuke Matsuzaka was Boston's opening day starter last season. ...This is the second time the Angels and Dodgers will go into a season as defending champions of their respective divisions. They both finished first in 2004 as well. ...Over the next three days, Torre will be faced with the unenviable choice of trimming his roster - now at 36 - down to 25. Mientkiewicz is one player that could make the cut. Pitchers Jeff Weaver, Tanyon Sturtze, Erick Threets are others. Infielder Juan Castro is also a candidate. Those decisions will be made by Saturday, Torre said. ...The Dodgers have done everything but name rookie James McDonald as the team's fifth starting pitcher. "We're going to hold off on that, not for any other reason than just let's get through spring training first and then go from there," Torre said. ...Heading into Thursday's game, infielder Juan Castro suprisingly led the Dodgers with 22 hits and a .415 batting average in 31 spring training games.

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