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L.A. Dodgers «30000000x351

Lowe, Aybar help Dodgers cut Padres' NL West lead

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Derek Lowe is showing the consistency the Los Angeles Dodgers were hoping for when they signed him to a $36 million, four-year contract last winter.

Lowe excelled in his fourth straight start Saturday, pitching the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres in a game Los Angeles had to have to keep its slim playoff hopes alive.

"This is my 31st start -- I finally got to double-digit wins," said Lowe, a postseason hero for the Boston Red Sox last October. "I love this time of year. I love the fact that every game matters."

Oscar Robles hit an RBI double for the key blow in a three-run first inning, and Willy Aybar had two hits and scored a run in his first major-league start as the Dodgers moved within seven games of the NL West-leading Padres with 21 remaining.

"There's no question that we have to go on a winning streak like we did at the beginning of the year," Lowe said, referring to the Dodgers' 12-2 start.

Even that might not be enough. If the Padres go 10-11 to finish the season at .500, the Dodgers would have to go 17-4 just to earn a first-place tie.

Lowe (10-13) allowed seven hits and one run in 7 2/3 innings. He was working on a four-hitter before Dave Roberts, Mark Loretta and Robert Fick singled with two outs in the eighth.

Duaner Sanchez relieved with runners at first and third, then loaded the bases with a walk to Brian Giles. But Sanchez retired Joe Randa on a flyout before working a perfect ninth for his sixth save in 10 chances.

"We had our guys up there in the eighth, and you can't ask for more than that," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "What you're hoping for there is to get the tying or winning run on, and we did both, but they got a very big out. Randa took a pretty good swing, but just got it up in the air."

The win was just Lowe's second since Aug. 5, but the 32-year-old right-hander has been outstanding in his last four starts, giving up three earned runs and 19 hits in 31 2/3 innings, dropping his ERA to 3.67. He hadn't allowed an earned run in 23 straight innings before Fick's hit drove in Roberts.

"Right now, my confidence is as high as it's ever been," he said.

Lowe, who threw 122 pitches, is 2-1 with a no-decision in four appearances against the Padres this season, giving up three earned runs in 30 2/3 innings.

"Today was a do-or-die for them, and he pitched a great game," said Roberts, another member of the championship team in Boston. "It's obvious that he is a big-game pitcher. So when you spot him some runs early and he has that cushion, then it makes him that much better."

Aybar, a 22-year-old switch hitter, singled in the third and doubled in the fifth for his first big-league hits. He also walked and scored in the first.

Clay Hensley (0-1), a 26-year-old right-hander making his first big league start after 16 relief appearances, fell behind 2-0 before recording an out. Aybar walked, took second on a single by Hee-Seop Choi and scored on Robles' double. Choi also scored on the play when second baseman Loretta mishandled the relay from right fielder Giles.

The Dodgers made it 3-0 with two outs in the opening inning when Robles scored on a passed ball by Miguel Olivo.

Hensley was lifted for a pinch hitter after allowing four hits and three runs, one earned, in five innings. He retired 15 of his last 18 batters.

San Diego got leadoff singles in the second, third and fourth innings, but Lowe worked out of trouble each time thanks in part to double-play grounders in the second and fourth. The Padres threatened in the seventh, putting runners at first and third with two outs before Khalil Greene grounded into a forceout.

Notes

  • Padres RHP Chan Ho Park will pitch against RHP Brad Penny in Sunday's series finale. Park, who played for the Dodgers from 1994-2001, will be facing his former team for the first time.
  • It appears more unlikely every day that Dodgers OF J.D. Drew will play again this season. "It just goes downhill when I swing the bat a few days in a row," he said of his left wrist, broken July 3 when hit by a pitch from Arizona's Brad Halsey. Drew signed a $55 million, five-year contract with the Dodgers last winter.
  • Padres OF Ryan Klesko missed his fourth start due to shoulder and neck problems.
  • Aybar, who played third base, was one of four Los Angeles rookies to start the game, joining Robles, C Dioner Navarro and OF Jason Repko.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Derek Lowe allows one run and seven hits over 7 2/3. He has an 0.87 ERA in his last four starts.  (AP)
Derek Lowe allows one run and seven hits over 7 2/3. He has an 0.87 ERA in his last four starts. (AP)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

D. Lowe
IP 7.2
H 7
ER 1
BB 2
K 4
Los Angeles

O. Robles
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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San Diego Padres
Dave Roberts, CF3110101 .268
Mark Loretta, 2B4020001 .293
Robert Fick, 1B4011001 .291
    Damian Jackson, PR0000000 .246
    Chris Hammond, P0000000 .000
Brian Giles, RF2010200 .302
Joe Randa, 3B4000005 .278
Paul McAnulty, LF4010010 .188
Khalil Greene, SS4010002 .254
Miguel Olivo, C2000011 .211
   a- Mark Sweeney, PH-1B2000020 .313
Clay Hensley, P1000000 .000
   b- Sean Burroughs, PH1000000 .255
    Chris Oxspring, P0000000 .000
   c- Eric Young, PH1000010 .274
    David Ross, C0000000 .236
Totals321713511 
a-struck out for Olivo in the 8th
b-grounded out for Hensley in the 6th
c-struck out for Oxspring in the 8th
Batting
RBI - Robert Fick (26)
2-OUT RBI - Robert Fick (8)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
PB - Miguel Olivo (7)
E - Mark Loretta (6, Missed catch)
San Diego Padres
Clay Hensley (L,0-1) 5431200 2.18
Chris Oxspring 2100010 4.82
Chris Hammond 1000000 3.38
Pitches-Strikes - Clay Hensley 69-43, Chris Oxspring 29-18, Chris Hammond 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clay Hensley 10-5, Chris Oxspring 2-3, Chris Hammond 2-1
Batters Faced - Clay Hensley 21, Chris Oxspring 7, Chris Hammond 3
Los Angeles Dodgers
Willy Aybar, 3B3120101 .333
Hee Seop Choi, 1B4110002 .251
Oscar Robles, SS4111002 .289
Jeff Kent, 2B4000002 .297
Jose Jr. Cruz, RF2000101 .242
Dioner Navarro, C3000001 .252
Jose Valentin, LF3000011 .175
    Jayson Werth, LF0000000 .243
Jason Repko, CF3010001 .217
Derek Lowe, P2000000 .155
    Duaner Sanchez, P0000000 .000
Totals283512111 
Batting
2B - Willy Aybar (1, Hensley), Oscar Robles (17, Hensley)
SH - Derek Lowe (9)
RBI - Oscar Robles (28)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Robles-Kent-Choi, Robles-Choi
E - Derek Lowe (1, Bunt, wild throw)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Derek Lowe (W,10-13) 7.2711240 3.67
Duaner Sanchez (S,6) 1.1000110 3.43
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 122-78, Duaner Sanchez 23-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 13-4, Duaner Sanchez 1-2
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 30, Duaner Sanchez 5
Game Information
Attendance - 43836
Game Time - 2:23
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Lazaro Diaz, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Marty Foster