Dodgers 4, Marlins 2
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The last time the Dodgers enjoyed a 16-1 stretch, the year was 1953 and the names above the clubhouse lockers belonged to the likes of Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Roy Campanella.
The NL West leaders have won five straight and have their first 16-1 stretch since the franchise relocated from Brooklyn in 1958. They came out of the All-Star break 1-13 before going on this current streak.
“It’s pretty amazing, especially having lost 12 out of 13,” Lowe said. “I’m not really a history buff, but I wouldn’t imagine there had been too many teams that had lost 12 out of 13 and won as many as we have.”
Lowe (10-8) allowed a run and four hits over seven innings, striking out two and walking two.
“We had two weeks that were horrific, but we never lost faith in the club and the club never lost faith in themselves,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “The end of July was not the time to say `When does ’07 start?’ I believed and (manager) Grady (Little) believed that there were good players in this room who were all competitive and who all care.”
Watching the Dodgers’ latest triumph from the other dugout with a great deal of envy was Marlins reliever Matt Herges. The right-hander spent his first three big league seasons with Los Angeles and was on San Francisco when Colletti was the assistant GM there.
“The fact that they brought in Ned Colletti was the best move they’ve ever made,” Herges said. “He really knows what he’s doing. He’s worked under one of the best general managers in Brian Sabean, and he’s a quality individual. I’m a huge fan of Ned’s, and I’m sure L.A. believes in him now.”
Willis (7-10) gave up four runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out nine and walking five. The two-time All-Star also drove in a run with his second career triple.
“We have nothing to hold our heads down about tonight. We left it on the field,” Willis said. “They’ve been very successful, they’re playing hot right now, and they’re at home. It’s just about momentum and doing the right things at the right time.”
Willis took a two-hit shutout and a 1-0 lead into the sixth before Julio Lugo beat out an infield hit with one out. Garciaparra drove the next pitch into the pavilion seats in left-center for his 13th home run and a 2-1 lead.
“When a guy is pitching that well, you’re not going to get too many opportunities to capitalize on things,” Garciaparra said. “I was trying to make contact and keep that inning alive. I was looking for a pitch I could drive. I think what really got us going was Lugo hustling and getting to first.”
Willis, who led the majors last season with 22 wins and five shutouts, walked the next two batters, and both advanced on a groundout by Wilson Betemit. The left-hander intentionally walked Martin, then struck out pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz.
But the Dodgers tacked on two more runs in the seventh with RBI singles by Garciaparra and J.D. Drew, whose hit ended Willis’ second career start at Chavez Ravine.
Willis’ RBI was his sixth this season and the 24th by Florida pitchers, tying the club record set in 2005. Last season, he led all major league pitchers with 11 hits.
Lugo, acquired from Tampa Bay on July 31, made his first start in left field since June 13, 2001 with Houston, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It’s the fourth different position he’s started at in the Dodgers’ last four games, including RF, 3B and 2B. Lugo began the season as the Devil Rays’ shortstop. … LHP Scott Olson needs one more win to make the Marlins the first team to have three rookies with 10 or more wins since the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers, who had Joe Black, Billy Loes and Ben Wade combine for 39 victories.