Heavy -Hitting Dodgers Win Eighth Straight
Despite injuries to their top starting pitcher and one of their key relievers, the Dodgers continued to roll at home Sunday against Western Division competition. Colorado was the Dodgers’ latest victim as LA scored seven runs in the fifth inning and amassed 19 hits en route to a 14-2 victory and a sweep of the teams’ three-game weekend series. The Dodgers won 4-3 Friday and 9-5 on Saturday. Combined with victories in their last two road games in Arizona and a three-game sweep of the Giants in the opening Dodger Stadium series, the first-place Dodgers have won eight straight. This surge has occurred despite the loss of top starter Hiroki Kuroda (strained oblique). Valuable setup man Cory Wade (right shoulder bursitis) joined Kuroda on the disabled list prior to the Colorado series. Both are expected to rejoin the club early next month.
Shawn Kemp paced the Dodgers’ assault on five Rockies’ hurlers Sunday with a grand slam, solo homer, double and five RBI. His slam, off reliever Matt Belisle, was the key blow in the winners’ seven-run inning. Orlando Hudson (two runs, three hits) and Andre Ethier (double, single) each drove in three runs. Other multiple-hit performers were Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal (double and single) and Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin, who each singled twice. Lefthander Scott Elbert, retrieved from Albuqurque to replace Wade, earned his first major league victory despite allowing solo homers to Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Elbert replaced starter James McDonald, who went 4 1/3 innings because he pitched an inning of relief Thursday against the Giants. Elbert entered with two runners on and emerged unscathed.
“I just like his make up, of course, his stuff is certainly quality,” Dodger Manager Joe Torre said of McDonald on the Dodgers’ website. “He has the ability to throw strikes. The curveball and changeup are important to him.” Torre plans to use McDonald as a starter and in relief. He was brought up to replace Kuroda.
On Saturday, Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier each homered twice in support of Chad Billingsley, who allowed three runs and four hits in six innings to improve to 3-0. Guillermo Mota, Will Ohman, Ramon Troncoso, and Ronald Belisario finished up. Friday’s heroes were Jonathan Broxton and Mark Loretta. Broxton, who entered the game in the eighth with the bases loaded and one out, struck out four of the five batters he faced to gain his fourth save. Loretta hit an RBI single in his first Dodger start to cap a four-run outburst in the seventh. The Rockies scored all three of their runs in the first.
Dodger Chatter: The Dodgers’ seven-run fifth Sunday was their highest scoring inning of the season, topping a six-run fourth in the home opener against the Giants. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, with his first homer on Saturday, Manny Ramirez became the 11 th active player to homer against all 30 major league teams. The others are Adrian Beltre, Russell Branyan, Mike Cameron, Tony Clark, Brian Giles, Troy Glaus, Jose Guillen, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso Soriano and Dimitri Young. Using Ramirez’ bat, Reliever Will Ohman drove in first major league run Saturday with an eighth-inning, two out single. He batted because Torre wanted him to finish up the 9-5 triumph in the ninth. “I trying not to pull an oblique and not fall down,” a laughing Olman said on the Dodgers.com. “I was 2-for-2 actually if you consider it that way. I didn’t get hurt and I got a hit.” The Dodgers and Padres are dominating the West Division race. Each has won eight of its last 10 games, with LA 10-3 and San Diego 9-4. The Dodgers now take to the road for three games each against Houston, Colorado and San Francisco. The first game is scheduled for Tuesday (Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 1.50) against the Astros’ Russ Ortiz (0-0, 6.23). This will be Kershaw’s first outing since his 13-strikeout, seven-inning performance last Wednesday against the Giants.
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