Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 4

Preview | Box Score | Recap

PHOENIX (AP)—The Los Angeles Dodgers came to town in second place in the NL West.

They left in first place after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 Tuesday night, completing a two-game sweep.

Juan Pierre doubled and tripled and scored three runs to lead the Dodgers, who won for the 10th time in 12 games and have a 1 1/2 game lead over the second-place Diamondbacks.

“It’s still early in the season,” Pierre said. “I think it’s going to be a dogfight.

“We still haven’t faced their top three (starting pitchers) with Randy (Johnson), Livan (Hernandez) and (Brandon) Webb,” Pierre said. “But our pitching’s been doing an excellent job by keeping us in the game, and we’ve been getting big hits at the end.”

The speedy Pierre supplied the biggest hit. With the game tied at 4-4 in the seventh, Pierre tripled off Tony Pena (0-1) to drive in a run, then raced home on shortstop Alberto Callaspo’s throwing error.

Pierre, who signed a $44-million, five-year contract last winter, went 4-for-9 with five runs and an RBI in the series.

“This is the most relaxed I’ve been all year,” Pierre said.

For the second time in as many games, Pierre scored to give the Dodgers a 1-0 first inning lead. He reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on Jeff Kent’s double off the top of the wall near the 413-foot marker in left-center field. Kent went 3-for-4.

“He’s finding out where he is, it looks like, and we’re glad he’s here,” manager Grady Little said of Pierre.

A two-run lead was plenty for the Dodgers’ efficient bullpen. The Dodgers no longer have Eric Gagne piling up saves, but they feel like it’s game over when they take a late lead.

Chad Billingsley (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings to earn the victory, Jonathan Broxton shut out the Diamondbacks for an inning and Takashi Saito pitched the ninth for his sixth save and 16th straight dating to last season.

“You’re never going to see them go out and self-destruct, and that’s what makes them so valuable,” Little said. “They’ve been doing an awfully good job, and it’s all because of their aggressiveness in the strike zone.”

The bullpen bailed out starter Brett Tomko, who gave up four runs, two of them earned, in five innings.

It took Tomko three batters to surrender a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Chris Young, then threw Chris Snyder’s bouncer down the right field line, allowing Young to score all the way from first and Snyder to take second.

Arizona rookie starting pitcher Micah Owings then lined a single to center— his first big-league hit and RBI—to tie the game at 3-3. Owings came up limping on Callaspo’s single. Owings reached third base and was removed for pinch-runner Robby Hammock, who scored the go-ahead run on Orlando Hudson’s sacrifice fly.

Diamondback manager Bob Melvin said Owings had a mild strain of his right hamstring.

“I think it was shortly after I rounded second it just locked up on me,” Owings said. “I didn’t really feel a pop, hear a pop. It just cramped up on me. I was hoping to stay in. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to.”

Owings allowed three runs and four hits in four innings. He walked two and struck out three.

Manager Bob Melvin said there was a “fairly decent chance” Owings will make his next start.

Melvin had said the series was an early test for his young team. The Diamondbacks flunked but have 16 more meetings with Los Angeles.

“We feel like we can play with those guys,” he said.

Notes

Kent’s double was the 506th of his career, tying Babe Ruth for 39th place on the all-time doubles list. … Martin’s fourth inning single stretched his hit streak to nine games, most by a Dodger this year. … Arizona 2B Orlando Hudson doubled and walked twice. He’s reached base via hit or walk in all 15 games.

Related Articles

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Apr 17