Dodgers 2, Marlins 1

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—David Ross took full advantage of catcher Paul Lo Duca’s day off.

Ross, who will back up Lo Duca indefinitely while Todd Hundley is on the disabled list, caught Hideo Nomo and Eric Gagne at their best Sunday as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Florida Marlins 2-1.

He also threw out a runner on the back end of a double steal and scored the go-ahead run, helping complete the Dodgers’ three-game sweep.

Nomo (5-4) won for the fourth time in his last five decisions. He allowed a run and five hits, struck out five and walked four. The right-hander has won his last two starts against the Marlins after going 0-8 in his first nine starts against them.

“I don’t know how many times the leadoff guy got on with either a walk of a base hit (five times). And as much as they run, that can cause trouble for you,” Ross said. “But Hideo did a good job holding runners, sticking to his plan and executing his pitches.”

Guillermo Mota relieved Nomo to start the eighth, and the Marlins put two runners on with one out. Tom Martin took over and threw one pitch, getting pinch-hitter Ivan Rodriguez to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Gagne struck out the side in the ninth for his 15th save of the season, and his 23rd in a row. He saved all three games in a series for the first time since becoming the closer early last season.

“The guy’s amazing. He’s getting better and better, and he wants to be the man,” said Alex Cora, who drove in both Dodgers runs. “He knows he’s one of the top closers in the game, but his goal is to be the best one. And he’s proving it to everybody now.”

Including Marlins manager Jack McKeon, who is 4-4 since replacing Jeff Torborg as Marlins manager.

“I’ve seen enough of him for a while,” McKeon said. “But he’s still beatable and he’s still hittable. I mean, we weren’t throwing any (Gary) Sheffields of Chipper Joneses out there, either.”

The Marlins were swept in a series of three or more games for the third time this month. Last year, it happened to them only four times.

Six of their last seven losses have been by one run, and McKeon is fed up— even though he’s only been in the job for a week. The 72-year-old skipper read his team the riot act in a very loud closed-door meeting after the game.

“We’re better than this,” McKeon said. “We’ve got to battle our way out of this thing. It’s embarrassing when you go out there and score three runs in three days, and I ain’t going to stand for it.”

Brad Penny (2-3) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first by striking out Daryle Ward, but gave up a run in the second on a two-out single by Nomo and a triple to by Cora that tied it at 1.

Ross doubled with one out in the fourth and scored the go-ahead run on Cora’s single. Ross made a headfirst slide, just getting his hand in under the tag of catcher Mike Redmond.

Cora was in the leadoff spot for the ninth time this season, and the first time since Dave Roberts was placed on the disabled list on Saturday with a sore right hamstring.

Mike Lowell led off the Florida second inning with a double and scored on a single by Todd Hollandsworth, who stranded the tying run at third when he flied out to the warning track in the sixth.

Ross helped Nomo escape the third inning unscathed by throwing out Luis Castillo, who led the majors in stolen bases last season. Juan Pierre ended up at third on the play, but Nomo struck out Marlins RBI leader Mike Lowell.

“We’ve been right there in every ballgame, but we just haven’t gotten over the top,” Hollandsworth said. “We’ve got to dig deep and try to find a way to win some of these games. We’ve got to make our opportunities count. We’ve beenknocking on the door all season long, but we just haven’t pushed through.”

Notes

Bill Buhler, who treated every Dodgers player from Gil Hodges and Pee Wee Reese to Mike Piazza and Eric Karros during a 39-year career, died Sunday at age 75. Buhler, who retired after the 1995 season, joined the organization in 1952 as a minor league trainer. He was promoted to assistant trainer in 1957 at Brooklyn, then became head trainer in 1960 during the team’s third year in Los Angeles. … The Marlins placed RHP Toby Borland on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 15, because of appendicitis. He will be hospitalized for at least the next few days. OF Chad Allen was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque and OF Abraham Nunez was transferred to the 60-day DL. … Penny is 0-2 in his last six starts, but he has allowed no more than two earned runs in five of hislast seven outings.

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