LOS ANGELES -- When Derek Lowe made it to spring training with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he found boxes of new blue spikes with his old No. 32 from his days with the Boston Red Sox.
Then he was reminded that jersey was retired by the Dodgers in honor of Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who autographed one of the shoes for him with the salutation: "To Derek, sorry you can't have the number."
Lowe certainly pitched like Koufax on Friday night, beating the San Diego Padres 4-0 with a three-hitter for his second career shutout. The other was a no-hitter for Boston against Tampa Bay on April 27, 2002.
"I felt strong," Lowe said after his third complete game in 123 career starts. "It was one of those nights where you felt like you were in control of the game."
Lowe also drove in a pair of runs, and Jeff Kent and Milton Bradley hit consecutive homers for the Dodgers, who have won seven of their first nine games. It's their best start since 1983, when they opened 7-2 and won a division title. They haven't started a season better than this since 1981, when they were 8-1 after nine games and went on to win the World Series.
"I was just happy to get on the board, because we were 6-2 and the two games we lost were games I pitched. So I'm happy to contribute, finally," Lowe said.
Pitching for the first time since his trip to Boston to pick up his World Series ring, Lowe (1-1) struck out five and walked one while his pricey piece of jewelry rested on the top shelf of his locker. The game took just 2 hours, 8 minutes.
Lowe, who signed a $24 million, three-year contract with the Dodgers in January, showed no effects of Craig Counsell's line drive that hit him just above his pitching elbow and forced him out of Sunday's outing at Arizona in the fifth inning.
The right-hander withstood a hard ground single by Xavier Nady that ricocheted off his right leg for a hit in the fifth. The Padres' other two hits were singles by Sean Burroughs and Woody Williams (1-1).
It also was quite a night for Bradley, who celebrated his 27th birthday by escorting Jackie Robinson's widow, Rachel, to home plate for a pregame ceremony commemorating the 58th anniversary of her husband's first major-league game and the breaking of baseball's color barrier.
"To meet her and escort her out on the field today, it's one of those moments I'll always cherish," Bradley said. "I was thinking about all of the things she had to deal with all those years.
"Behind every strong man is a strong woman," Bradley said. "And she had to be instrumental in him coping with a lot of things -- because you know he must have come home frustrated and upset some nights. But she stuck by his side all along. She's an influence on myself and others."
Wearing jerseys that read "Brooklyn" in honor of Robinson and the Dodgers' 1955 World Series championship team, the defending NL West champs built a 3-0 lead through three innings.
"When we got down 3-0, we knew it was going to be an uphill fight with the way Lowe was pitching," Williams said. "It's a hard loss to take."
Lowe opened the scoring in the second with a line-drive single off the glove of first baseman Phil Nevin, scoring Bradley from second. Kent had the green light on a 3-0 pitch with two outs in the third and tucked it inside the left-field pole for his third homer. Bradley then drove a 1-1 pitch to center for his first of the season.
"I just left two balls up and out over the plate," Williams said. "Kent is such a good hitter that you can't make those mistakes against him. I missed my spot by four feet and he did a good job keeping the ball fair. That's why he is who he is."
Williams allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking three. The right-hander, facing the Dodgers for the first time since winning Game 1 of last year's NL Division Series for the St. Louis Cardinals, entered with a career record of 4-1 at Dodger Stadium.
Bradley led off the sixth with a single and scored the fourth run on a bases-loaded grounder by Lowe.
Lowe won the clinching game for the Red Sox in all three of their postseason series last year. Williams started Game 1 in all three series for the NL champion Cardinals. ... Dodgers RF J.D. Drew has no RBI this season in 35 at-bats after driving in a career-high 93 runs last year for Atlanta.