Los Angeles (14-13) at Miami (15-12)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL
Temp: 94° F
  • Game info: 12:10 pm EDT Thu May 1, 2008
  • TV: PRIME, SUN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Maybe Joe Torre has finally found a lineup he likes. At least he knows who should always be at the top of it.

Rafael Furcal and the Los Angeles Dodgers look to continue their hot hitting and win a sixth consecutive game when their series with the Florida Marlins comes to an end Thursday.

Furcal has been the leadoff batter in all but one of Los Angeles’ 27 games, though that has been one of the few constants in Torre’s lineup. The first-year Dodgers manager has used 25 different starting lineups, but this series has seen him finally use the same one in back-to-back games for the first time this season.

The result has been Los Angeles (14-13) totaling 20 runs and 29 hits to win both games. The Dodgers already have matched their longest winning streak from all of last season at five straight, batting .333 and scoring 42 runs.

“Everybody is having good at-bats,” Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said after homering in Wednesday’s 13-1 victory. “We’re being patient when we need to and putting good swings on the ball. It feels like we’re starting to come together.”

Los Angeles posted its highest run total of the season on Wednesday as Furcal had a career-high five hits. He finished April batting .381, second in the majors behind Chipper Jones (.410), and his 17 extra-base hits entering May are the most by a Dodger since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.

“He’s a motivator for everybody in the clubhouse, and then he goes out and puts his money where his mouth is,” Torre said.

Furcal also had his team-leading seventh stolen base and scored three runs to tie Houston’s Lance Berkman for the major league lead with 26.

Two Dodgers driving in a lot of runs lately are Matt Kemp and James Loney. Kemp had his third straight multihit game on Thursday and sixth in nine contests, a stretch during which he’s batting .368 (14-for-38) with 12 RBIs. Loney has 11 RBIs in his last nine games after driving in three on Wednesday.

Kemp also has three steals in this series for Los Angeles, which has not won six in a row since closing the 2006 season with seven straight victories.

Florida (15-12), meanwhile, is hoping to avoid losing three straight for the first time this season.

Poor starting pitching has hurt the Marlins in this series, with Andrew Miller and Scott Olsen having combined to allow 10 runs and 16 hits in eight innings. The bullpen was just as bad on Wednesday, letting the Dodgers bat around in the seventh and eighth innings to score nine runs.

“We haven’t played one of those in a long time,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “That’s the way it goes. This game is a beautiful game. You come back tomorrow—you don’t have to wait a week or three days to take it up again.”

Gonzalez should not expect things to get better Thursday with Burke Badenhop (0-2, 8.36 ERA) headed to the mound. Since joining Florida’s rotation 2 1/2 weeks ago, Badenhop has given up 13 runs and 19 hits in 13 innings.

The right-hander allowed six runs in five innings of a 7-4 defeat to Atlanta last Thursday.

While Badenhop faces the Dodgers for the first time, fellow rookie Hiroki Kuroda (1-2, 3.82) makes his first appearance against Florida.

Kuroda looks to bounce back from his least effective effort as a major leaguer, having allowed a season-high five runs and nine hits in six innings of an 8-7, 13-inning win over Colorado on Friday. The right-hander had not surrendered more than two earned runs in any of his first four big-league starts.

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Starting Pitchers

H. Kuroda NYY vs. B. Badenhop Cin
9-10 Record 2-3
3.73 ERA 6.08
116 K 35
42 BB 21
1.22 WHIP 1.61

Scoreboard

Thursday, May 1