Giants Pitching Throttles Dodgers 9-4

It was Abner Doubleday, or Alexander Cartwright, that said "Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting," and the Dodgers and Giants proved that again in the final game of the three game series and the final game of a nine day road trip. S.F. ace Tim Lincecum did the thing he does so well and a late L.A. rally changed only the final score with the Giants winning both the game, 9-4, and the series, 2-1.

Los Angeles gambled that their offense was strong enough to offset a starting rotation and bullpen that was markedly less effective that in 2008 and, although the team is 14-7 and in first place, the staff hasn't played at the same level as the regular lineup.

However, another thing Doubleday and Cartwright would tell you, "You are never as good as you look winning, nor as bad as you look losing." And Lincecum made them look bad over the first seven innings, then the Giants cobbled up enough pitching to hold on to the win.

Lincecum, only 5-11 and 170 -- hello Pedro Martinez -- allowed six hits and struck out eight while working into the eighth inning with a 7-0 lead.

Starter Eric Stults was knocked out in the third inning, Scott Elbert and Guillermo Mota were battered in relief and all three of them may be in Albuquerque or Chattanooga by the weekend. Elbert got his walking papers after the game and another move will be announced today.

The thought is that Cory Wade is ready to return and veterans Eric Milton, Shawn Estes and Jeff Weaver are pitching well at Albuquerque so some combination of the above will be in The Show if enough 40-man roster spots can be cleared.

And on the same subject, James McDonald will start tonight and his immediate future in the starting lineup will hang in the balance.

Back to the Game.

On yet another freezing night in San Francisco, the Giants jumped on Stults for five runs in the first three innings. L.A. got strong relief from Ramon Troncoso for 1.1 innings and Hong-chih Kuo for an inning before Elbert allowed four hits (including a home run), four walks and a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh and Mota gave up two more runs while working only 2/3 of an inning.

Lincecum retired the first 10 Dodgers he faced before Orlando Hudson singled in the fourth. Loney walked and Blake DeWitt singled in the fifth and Rafael Furcal walked and Manny Ramirez singled in the sixth.

After a 1-2-3 seventh, Los Angeles finally got on the scoreboard.

Juan Pierre, playing in place of Matt Kemp, and Furcal singled and Hudson ripped a double down the left field line to knock in Pierre. Ramirez walked to load the bases and the Dodgers had finally rid themselves of Lincecum.

Jeremy Afeldt got Andre Ethier on a ground ball, Furcal scoring. Loney walked to again load the base but Brad Ausmus singled for the third run of the inning.

Pinch-hitter Mark Loretta banged a double and Pierre doubled him home but the final three Dodgers hitters went down in order and the long road swing was finally over.

San Francisco, after a stumbling 2-7 start, won their eighth game in the last ll. Lincecum has led the charge, allowing four runs and 16 hits over his last three starts and has struck out 33 in 23 innings.

Stults, now 2-1 with a 5.50 earned run average, was tagged for five runs and seven hits. "He just couldn't throw the ball where he wanted to throw it," said manager Joe Torre. "He's all about command. He's not overpowering. He just wasn't able to command his pitches tonight. He had a good curveball, but his other stuff wasn't there."

Torre used Tony La Russa's trick of using his pitcher in the eighth spot and, in this case, Juan Pierre batting ninth. It was the first time in Torre's three decades of managing that he used the special lineup. Torre thinks it will create more chances for Pierre to steal bases and more RBI chances for Ramirez.

Pierre had no problem batting ninth. When asked if Joe had explained to him why he was batting ninth he said, "I would be willing to bat 11th as long as I'm in that lineup. He doesn't have to explain anything to me."

Stults becomes the first Dodgers starting pitcher not to bat ninth since Don Drysdale batted seventh on Aug. 15, 1965 against Pittsburgh. That day, according to Elias Sports Bureau, catcher John Roseboro hit 8th (1-for-4) and shortstop John Kennedy hit 9th (0-for-2, BB, K). The Dodgers lost 4-2, and Drysdale went 0-for-2 with 2 strikeouts before being pulled after 6.0 innings of work.

The Dodgers lead San Diego by 2 1/2 games and open their 11-game home-stand against the Padres tonight with RHP James McDonald (1-1, 7.11 ERA) drawing an important start. With Jeff Weaver pitching well at Triple-A, McDonald's role could change from starting to relieving, just where Torre wanted him in the beginning.

Pitching Matchups for the entire San Diego Series:
Tonight, April 30 - RHP James McDonald (1-1) vs. RHP Josh Geer (0-0, 4.91)
Friday, May 1 - LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-2, 7.29) vs. RHP Jake Peavy (2-3, 5.74)
Saturday, May 2 - LHP Randy Wolf (1-1, 4.31) vs. RHP Chris Young (2-1, 5.74)
Sunday, May 3 - RHP Chad Billingsley (4-0, 2.14) vs. RHP Chad Gaudin (0-0, 0.00)

  Score by Innings

LA Dodgers	000 000 031-4
San Francisco	212 001 12x-9

  LA Dodgers 	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  1  0  .241
Hudson 2b	5  0  2  1  .330
Ramirez lf	4  1  1  0  .360
Ethier rf	4  0  0  0  .296
Loney 1b	2  0  0  0  .316
Martin c	3  0  0  0  .216
 Ausmus c	1  0  1  1  .462
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .229
Stults p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Dewitt ph	1  0  1  0  .176
 Kuo p         	0  0  0  0  .000
 Elbert p	1  0  0  0  .333
 Mota p        	0  0  0  0  .000
 Loretta ph	1  1  1  0  .444
Pierre cf	4  1  2  1  .400
-----------------------------
  Totals	35 4  9 3
  San Francisco	38 9 15 9

  2B- Hudson (6), Loretta (1).
RBI- Hudson (10), Ausmus (3),
Pierre (2). LOB- Dodgers 8,
San Francisco 11.

  LA Dodgers 	in  h r-er bb so  era
Stults (2-1)	2.2  7  5-5  2  1  5.50
Troncoso	1.1  1  0-0  0  1  1.38
Kuo        	1.0  0  0-0  0  1  6.75
Elbert	        2.1  4  2-2  1  4  7.11
Mota        	0.2  3  2-2  1  1  7.71
  WP- Mota. HBP- by Mota.
T- 2:58. Att- 37,717.
Own a Piece of History
  On April 15, all Dodger players and coaches wore  No. 42 in honor of former Dodger great Jackie Robinson. All of the game-worn jerseys from the Dodger victory that night (including Manny Ramirez, Russell Martin, and Matt Kemp) are now available to bid on at Dodgers.com/ddfauction. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Dodgers Dream Foundation's Dodgers Scholars Program. The Dodgers Scholars Program, in partnership with the Jackie Robinson Foundation, annually awards 42 scholarships to minority students attending a four-year college or university. The online auction ends on May 12

Dodger Blue Notes-- Torre said Kuo eventually will be the eighth-inning setup guy again after the lefthander worked a perfect inning in relief. "Kuo was good," Torre said. "He ideally can pitch the eighth inning, and I wouldn't be afraid to have him close if Broxton is unavailable. But I think we're probably a few outings away from putting him back in that spot." ...The second pitching move is expected to be the promotion of Jeff Weaver from Albuquerque to replace Stults. Eric Milton, who has a 12-inning scoreless streak going for him, may not be far behind. ...McDonald believes a flaw in his delivery has been detected. "My body is pulling off on the left side and my arm is out here on the right side," he said. "I made a correction and made about 25 throws and it felt a lot better." ...Ramirez went 1-for-3 with a walk and is hitting .417 over his last six games. ... With Blake DeWitt's pinch-single and Mark Loretta's pinch-double Wednesday, Dodgers pinch-hitters are 12-for-26, a remarkable .462 average. ... Juan Pierre, in limited duty, is hitting .400. ...The Dodgers are 6-0 at home while batting .367 (77-for-210) with 11 home runs and 50 runs scored, an average of 8.3 runs per game and hope that surge continues. Dodger pitchers have a 2.83 ERA and a .207 opponents' average against at Dodger Stadium. ... The amazingly funky schedule now has Los Angeles playing 17 of their next 23 games at Dodger Stadium, a stretch that ends on May 24. So far in 2009, the Dodgers are tied with the Yankees for the fewest home games played in baseball. ...Ramirez, who claims to be a "doubles maniac", has 513 two-baggers and ranks 39th in baseball history, one behind Edgar Martinez for 38th place. Among active big leaguers, Ramirez ranks second in doubles, trailing only Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, who has 527. ...Reliever Will Ohman recently recording his first save as a Dodger and the first three-out save of his Major League career. Ohman has previously recorded one-out saves on June 26, 2007 vs. Colorado and May 22, 2008 vs. the Mets.  On the season, the left-hander has a 2.35 ERA in eight appearances. ...First baseman James Loney has been on fire over his last five games, going 8-for-13 (.615) with four doubles and five RBI. After going 2-for-13 during the three-game series in his hometown of Houston, Loney's average has risen from a season-low .262 to .324. ...The Dodgers as a team have hit 20 home runs through 21 games this season, which is tied for ninth in the National League. Los Angeles is led by Casey Blake and Andre Ethier, who have five homers apiece, tying them for seventh in the NL. ...The club also leads the Majors in on-base percentage (.382) and walks (108).     

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