for this game

Lowe dominant as Dodgers silence Braves

Jul 10, 2008 - 6:15 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- With runs coming few and far between, the Los Angeles Dodgers continue to survive on stellar pitching.

Derek Lowe allowed two hits in 7 2/3 innings and Matt Kemp homered to lead the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

Los Angeles, which has won three of its last five despite not scoring more than three runs in any contest, once again let its starting pitching lead the team to a victory, getting its second dominating performance in three days.

"Our pitching staff has really been what's carrying us all year, it's been keeping us in ballgames," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. "Derek Lowe was just doing his thing out there, keeping the ball down, staying aggressive and keeping the hitters off-balance."

Lowe's stellar pitching line came just two days after rookie Hiroki Kuroda threw a one-hitter against the Braves. The Japanese import took his perfect-game bid in the series opener into the eighth inning.

"You have to tip your hat to these guys," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "They've got maybe the best total pitching staff we've seen."

Lowe (7-8) retired the first 18 batters he faced before rookie Gregor Blanco opened the seventh with a line-drive single up the middle. The sinkerballer allowed just one more hit - a solo homer by Jeff Francoeur in the eighth - and walked one while striking out four.

"I felt like this was the type of game that was going to be low-scoring," Lowe said. "I did the same thing I do every start, just try to prepare."

After a shaky start to the campaign, Lowe has been sharp of late, maintaining an ERA of 2.65 over his last 10 outings.

Braves starter Tim Hudson (9-7) was nearly as good as his counterpart despite getting tagged with the loss. The righthander went seven innings, allowing two runs and four hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Lowe and Hudson each held the opposition hitless until James Loney doubled to open the fifth. As a result of Lowe's mastery in this contest, Atlanta went a combined 0-for-36 over the first four innings of this three-game series.

"When (Lowe) goes once through the lineup and breezes through it, you know he is going to be good for at least seven (innings)," Martin said. "And he's been like that for a long time. Today was just one of those days where he was executing pitch after pitch."

One inning after Loney recorded the first hit of the game, Kemp made Hudson pay for falling behind in the count early in the sixth. After fouling away a pitch with a 3-0 count, Kemp drilled a fastball over the wall in left-center field for a 1-0 advantage.

Following a leadoff single by Nomar Garciaparra and an intentional walk to Martin two batters later in the seventh, the beleaguered Andruw Jones - who was booed by the home crowd prior to each at-bat - drove in his second run since being activated from the disabled list on July 4 with a hard-hit single up the middle.

Jones said after the game that he was still "a week away" from having his surgically repaired right knee back to normal.

"I decided to come early because of the injury to Juan Pierre and the team (being) in a situation where we can take over first place," Jones said. "I wanted to come back and see more major league at-bats, not minor league."

Francoeur cut the deficit to 2-1 with his ninth homer. Lowe exited two batters later in favor of Jonathan Broxton after issuing a two-out walk to Mark Kotsay, but the Braves were kept off the board when Martin threw out the runner trying to steal second.

Takashi Saito picked up his 17th save by working a perfect ninth inning, sending the Braves to their 24th straight one-run loss on the road in the process.

With the win, which took exactly two hours to play, the Dodgers (45-46) moved back into a tie atop the National League West Division with the Arizona Diamondbacks. It also gave Los Angeles its fourth straight series win.






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    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0
    LA DODGERS 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 x 2 5 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ATL - TIM HUDSON, BLAINE BOYER (8TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN
    LOS - DEREK LOWE, JONATHAN BROXTON (8TH), TAKASHI SAITO
    (9TH) AND RUSSELL MARTIN

    HOME RUNS: ATL - JEFF FRANC

    Jul 10 12:10 AM


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    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JEFF FRANCOEUR (9) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF DEREK LOWE.
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 1, LA DODGERS 2
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.274, 0-FOR-2)

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    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ANDRUW JONES SCORED ANGEL BERROA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A JONES ON FIRST, R MARTIN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0
    LA DODGERS 2 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: B DEWITT (.265, 0-FOR-2)

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    AT LA DODGERS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY MATT KEMP (8) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN THE
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    CURRENT SCORE: ATLANTA 0, LA DODGERS 1
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: A ETHIER (.284, 0-FOR-2)

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