LOS ANGELES -- On the advice of his pitching coach, Derek Lowe went to a different approach than usual against the Los Angeles Angels.
The result was the 32-year-old right-hander's best outing of the season.
Throwing fewer sinkers and working both sides of the plate more than he normally does, Lowe allowed three hits in seven innings for his first win since April 13, and the Dodgers beat the Angels 7-0 Sunday to complete a sweep of the three-game interleague series.
Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer to cap a five-run first, and Nomar Garciaparra also drove in three runs for the Dodgers, who have won four consecutive games and 12 of their last 15 to move four games over .500 for the first time since last June.
They outscored the Angels 31-7 in the series after being outscored 29-11 while losing five of six to their local rivals last season.
"We put it all together the last three games -- our offense was fantastic, our starting pitching kept us in games, the bullpen was great," Lowe said.
Lowe (2-3) threw 118 pitches before being lifted for a pinch hitter. He walked three, struck out a season-high seven and didn't allow a hit after Garret Anderson's single in the third, retiring 13 of the last 15 batters he faced.
"This goes to Rick Honeycutt," Lowe said. "He studied a lot of videotape of these guys. He said, 'I think this is a game where you've got to change the way you pitch.' I've never thrown more four-seamers in a game. I give him a lot of credit."
Instead of getting most of his outs on ground balls, Lowe averaged one strikeout per inning, recorded two outs on popups and four more on fly balls. That left only seven grounders that were turned into outs including one double-play ball.
"Their guys were hitting the ball very well away," Honeycutt said of what he learned after studying tape of the Angels. "I like the four-seam fastball if he can get it in there. It's a pitch he was able to do."
It helped that Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero was given the day off -- his first of the season.
Lowe gave up two earned runs or less in seven of his previous nine starts, but had only one win to show for his efforts. He went six outings in a row without a victory -- two losses and four no-decisions.
Rookie Jonathan Broxton worked the final two innings to complete the shutout.
The Angels have lost five in a row and 17 of 22 to drop a season-worst 10 games below .500. Manager Mike Scioscia acknowledged his team is playing very poorly right now.
"Our challenge is getting our ship righted and going in the right direction," he said. "I mean, we could be playing the Wombats right now and it wouldn't matter. So whoever we're playing, whether it's the Dodgers or Texas or anyone the schedule's going to bring, you're going to get chewed up if you're not playing your game."
The Angels were chewed up by Ethier, who had played in 13 big league games before going 5-for-5 in a 16-3 victory over the Angels on Friday night. The rookie outfielder went 7-of-13 in the series with two homers, six runs scored and six RBI.
"Quite a weekend," Ethier said with a smile. "If guys are on base and I knock them in, that's my job."
The Dodgers scored all the runs they would need off Ervin Santana (4-2) in the first. Kenny Lofton hit a one-out single and scored on Garciaparra's double. Santana struck out J.D. Drew and walked Jeff Kent before Willy Aybar hit an RBI single. Ethier followed by driving a 2-2 pitch into the right-field pavilion for his third homer.
Santana was lifted for a pinch hitter after allowing five hits and five runs in four innings. He settled down after the Dodgers' five-run first, allowing only one baserunner after that, but it was too late.
Garciaparra hit a two-run double off J.C. Romero in the seventh to complete the scoring.
The Angels loaded the bases in the first before Robb Quinlan grounded to third on Lowe's 30th pitch of the inning. They also had runners at first and third with one out in the third before Dallas McPherson grounded into a double play.
- The game was played before a sellout crowd of 55,662. The series drew 166,904 -- the most ever to attend a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
- Anderson returned to the Angels' lineup after sitting out five games because of a strained left hamstring and went 2-for-4.
- Lofton had three hits and scored twice, giving him 1,384 runs scored in his career to rank him 82nd on baseball's career list -- one ahead of Tony Gwynn.
- Despite being swept in this series, the Angels are 28-25 against the Dodgers since interleague play began in 1997.
- The Dodgers have a 78-71 interleague record while the Angels are 83-78.
- Lowe singled in the second for his first hit of the season. He flied to right in his only other at-bat, leaving him 1-for-22 this year.