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Martin takes point for Dodgers in second straight win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers rookie Russell Martin has drawn praise this season for his work behind the plate. His offense has been a bonus.

Martin homered and drove in four runs to help Los Angeles beat the Washington Nationals 7-5 Saturday. He is batting .298 with five homers and 44 RBI since May 5, when he was promoted from Triple-A to replace the injured Dioner Navarro.

"I'm happy with my consistency," Russell said. "I just saw the ball well today and I put good swings on it. And good things happen when you do that. It's a long season, and I'm aware of that. But I just care about winning."

The Canadian-born catcher has performed so well that Navarro became expendable and was traded to Tampa Bay on June 27.

"He's been tremendous all year long," winning pitcher Derek Lowe said of Martin. "We have a lot of confidence in him and I know he's got a lot of confidence in what he's doing -- catching and hitting. It's like that with most catchers. Defense is always first and offense is second."

Rafael Furcal also homered for the Dodgers, who have won two straight after losing 13 of their previous 14 games. Lowe (8-7) won for the first time since July 3 after going 0-3 in his previous four starts. The right-hander allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings and had a season-high eight strikeouts.

"Obviously you'd like to pitch a little deeper into a game and be more effective," Lowe said. "Over the course of a season, you're going to lose games you didn't deserve to lose and probably win games you maybe didn't deserve to win. And today was one of those games."

Lowe, a two-time All-Star, has an 8.27 ERA over his last seven outings since his complete-game victory over Seattle on June 22.

"A lot of baseball is mental," Martin said. "If you get a couple of tough breaks, sometimes it's hard to keep that positive attitude and stay confident. It doesn't matter who you are. Derek's had some tough breaks lately and he had a couple more today, but he got the win. Hopefully that will carry over and he'll have a few good starts in a row."

Washington closed to 7-5 in the sixth when Joe Beimel walked Felipe Lopez with the bases loaded. Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless ninth for his first career save, one year to the day of his major league debut. Closer Takashi Saito was unavailable because he threw 37 pitches Wednesday while facing nine San Diego batters and, according to manager Grady Little, "overloaded his circuits a little bit."

Rookie Mike O'Connor (3-7) was charged with a career-high seven runs over four-plus innings, along with six hits and five walks in his first career appearance against the Dodgers. The left-hander, who was the Nationals' minor league pitcher of the year last season, is 0-4 with an 8.21 ERA over his last seven starts since beating Philadelphia on June 8 at RFK Stadium.

"It's the same pattern. He was behind the batters and missing the spots. He was all over the place," manager Frank Robinson said. "I don't know if he has an idea if how to throw the ball where he needs to throw it."

O'Connor walked his first two batters in the fifth and gave up a single by Andre Ethier that loaded the bases with none out. Travis Hughes, promoted Friday from Triple-A New Orleans after Mike Stanton was traded to San Francisco, came in and gave up a two-run double to Martin that put the Dodgers ahead 6-4.

Cesar Izturis was then hit by a pitch, and Ethier scored on a double-play grounder by Ramon Martinez.

The Dodgers shrugged off Nick Johnson's two-run homer in the first inning and came back with four runs in the bottom half. Furcal ignited the rally with his 14th career leadoff homer, Ethier drove in Jason Repko with a sacrifice fly, and Martin hit a two-run drive for his fifth homer.

"It's very deflating to give it right back -- and we've been doing a lot of that over the year," Robinson said. "The idea is that when you score runs, go out there and shut them down and give us a chance to get back in the dugout and ride that little wave of momentum."

Church and Alfonso Soriano also had run-scoring singles for the Nationals, who have lost two straight after a six-game winning streak.

Notes

  • Reliever Luis Ayala, who has been rehabbing in Phoenix following reconstructive surgery on his right elbow March 30, stopped by Dodger Stadium to visit his Washington teammates and was examined by the training staff. The Nationals' 28-year-old setup man said he hoped to be ready to start next season on time.
  • Johnson's homer was his 15th, tying the career high he set in 2002 with the Yankees and equaled last season.
  • The Dodgers recalled 1B James Loney as roster insurance for a day because recently-acquired 3B Wilson Betemit hadn't arrived from Atlanta.
 
Copyright 2015 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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Russ Martin is hitting .364 against the Nationals this season and .333 at Dodger Stadium.  (AP)
Russ Martin is hitting .364 against the Nationals this season and .333 at Dodger Stadium. (AP)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

R. Martin
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Washington

N. Johnson
AB 5
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF4011110 .289
Felipe Lopez, SS4121110 .266
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5010035 .288
Nick Johnson, 1B5112011 .303
Austin Kearns, RF4000010 .269
Marlon Anderson, 2B4120010 .271
Ryan Church, CF3111110 .244
Brian Schneider, C4110023 .227
Mike O'Connor, P2000011 .077
    Travis Hughes, P0000000 .000
   a- Luis Matos, PH1010000 .212
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
   b- Daryle Ward, PH1000000 .310
    Micah Bowie, P0000000 .000
Totals37510531210 
a-singled for Hughes in the 6th
b-flied out for Rauch in the 8th
Batting
2B - Marlon Anderson (10, Lowe)
HR - Nick Johnson (15, Lowe)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (64), Felipe Lopez (35), Nick Johnson 2 (52), Ryan Church (17)
2-OUT RBI - Alfonso Soriano (22), Felipe Lopez (9), Nick Johnson 2 (15)
SB - Alfonso Soriano (26, 3rd base off Lowe/Martin), Felipe Lopez 2 (29, 2nd base off Lowe/Martin, 2nd base off Lowe/Martin), Marlon Anderson (1, 2nd base off Lowe/Martin), Ryan Church (4, 2nd base off Lowe/Martin)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - N. Johnson-F. Lopez, Anderson-F. Lopez-N. Johnson
Washington Nationals
Mike O'Connor (L,3-7) 4677502 5.12
Travis Hughes 1100000 0.00
Jon Rauch 2100020 3.12
Micah Bowie 1000010 1.26
IBB - Martin by Mike O'Connor
HBP - Saenz (by Mike O'Connor), Izturis (by Travis Hughes)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike O'Connor 81-42, Travis Hughes 15-9, Jon Rauch 25-18, Micah Bowie 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike O'Connor 4-7, Travis Hughes 1-1, Jon Rauch 1-2
Batters Faced - Mike O'Connor 23, Travis Hughes 4, Jon Rauch 6, Micah Bowie 3
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS3121100 .278
Jason Repko, CF4120002 .295
J.D. Drew, RF3100111 .276
Olmedo Saenz, 1B1200211 .293
    James Loney, 1B0000000 .225
Andre Ethier, LF3111000 .347
Russell Martin, C3124100 .298
Cesar Izturis, 3B3000002 .243
Ramon Martinez, 2B4010010 .303
Derek Lowe, P2000001 .071
   a- Ricky Ledee, PH1000001 .271
    Joe Beimel, P0000000 .000
    Elmer Dessens, P0000000 .000
   b- Jose Cruz Jr., PH1000000 .230
    Jonathan Broxton, P0000000 .000
Totals28786538 
a-flied out for Lowe in the 5th
b-popped out for Dessens in the 8th
Batting
2B - Russell Martin (18, Hughes)
HR - Rafael Furcal (6, O'Connor), Russell Martin (5, O'Connor)
SF - Andre Ethier (6)
RBI - Rafael Furcal (33), Andre Ethier (39), Russell Martin 4 (44)
2-OUT RBI - Russell Martin 2 (16)
SB - Jason Repko (9, 3rd base off O'Connor/Schneider)
CS - Jason Repko (2, 2nd base by Rauch/Schneider)
Team LOB - 5
Los Angeles Dodgers
Derek Lowe (W,8-7) 5744181 4.29
Joe Beimel (H,4) 0.2211220 3.74
Elmer Dessens (H,13) 2.1000000 4.10
Jonathan Broxton (S,1) 1100020 3.33
WP - Joe Beimel (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 103-71, Joe Beimel 30-18, Elmer Dessens 24-15, Jonathan Broxton 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 5-2, Elmer Dessens 1-6
Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 23, Joe Beimel 6, Elmer Dessens 7, Jonathan Broxton 4
Game Information
Attendance - 41540
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Jerry Crawford, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Chuck Meriwether