Los Angeles at New York

L.A. Dodgers «0041130009140
N.Y. Mets000001000130

Lefty Stults makes splash in debut as Dodgers dump Mets

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

NEW YORK -- Maybe the Los Angeles Dodgers should try some more first-time starters.

Eric Stults became the second Dodgers rookie pitcher to shut down the Mets, limiting New York to two hits over six innings in a 9-1 rout Sunday.

Stults, a 26-year-old left-hander making his first major league start, combined with three relievers on a three-hitter. On Friday, Hong-Chih Kuo and three relievers teamed on a four-hitter in a 5-0 win.

"There's no way we could ask for any better," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "We had two kids that we knew we could put out there with decent stuff, that we knew they would compete."

Kenny Lofton gave Stults the lead with a three-run triple in the third off a shaky Steve Trachsel, and Nomar Garciaparra added a three-run homer and four RBI for the Dodgers, who remained 1½ games ahead of second-place San Diego in the NL West. The Padres beat the Giants 10-2 Sunday night.

The Mets, who beat Brad Penny and Greg Maddux in the other two games of the series, saw the magic number for clinching their first NL East title since 1988 trimmed to four when Philadelphia lost to Florida.

Pitching in place of Mark Hendrickson, who is working on his mechanics while pitching in relief, Stults gave up a single up the middle to his second batter, Endy Chavez, and didn't allow another hit until Jose Reyes homered to left-center with two outs in the sixth.

After Chavez's hit, Stults got Paul Lo Duca to hit into an inning-ending double play.

"I had to kind of regain my composure and, fortunately, after that I kind of settled in and felt really comfortable," Stults said. "You get through that first inning and nothing was hurt, put up a zero, it's always easier to go out there the next inning. It takes a little pressure off."

Stults (1-0) struck out three and walked two, throwing 86 pitches, and he also got his first major league hit. He was 10-11 with a 4.23 ERA this season at Triple-A Las Vegas, then allowed three runs and five hits over three innings in his major league debut Tuesday at Milwaukee.

"That helped a lot. That took a lot of the nervousness away," he said.

Stults' wife, 7½-month-old daughter, parents and in-laws all were on hand to watch. He had spoken to his wife about the start Saturday night.

"She was asking, `Are you nervous?' I decided to kind of tell her and tell myself that it's still baseball. You still have to go out and execute pitches," he said.

Stults and Kuo spent much of the last few years together as they both came back from elbow ligament replacement surgery.

"It was special watching Kuo go out and do what he did," Stults said. "That helped a little bit. He kept cheering me on today."

There was a solemn ceremony before the game marking Monday's fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but by the sixth inning it resembled a spring training contest at Vero Beach or Port St. Lucie, with both teams liberally substituting.

Trachsel (14-7) lost his second straight start after going 12-1 in an 18-start stretch from May 23 through Aug. 29.

After Trachsel retired his first six batters, Los Angeles loaded the bases on three second-inning singles. Lofton, who had been 0-for-6 with the bases full this year, batted with one out and worked the count to 3-2, then pulled a high fastball down the right-field line.

His helmet flipped off as he rounded second and he easily made it to third with a triple, then scored when Garciaparra singled over third baseman David Wright with the infield in.

"It's something mechanical I'm doing, something that's causing me to miss pitches or miss location," Trachsel said.

Perhaps putting his postseason starting spot in jeopardy, he allowed four runs, five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings, with his ERA rising to a season-high 5.17. Trachsel couldn't throw his curveball for strikes.

"Every once in a while, he's going to have a bad one," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "I'm not concerned. He'll turn it around."

Fans booed as Trachsel walked off the mound.

"I don't know how I looked, but I'm definitely not happy," he said.

Rafael Furcal singled in a run in the fourth against Brian Bannister, Wilson Betemit hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth and Garciaparra made it 9-0 in the sixth with his 17th homer.

"At this point," Lofton said, "we have to just win."


  • With a crowd of 48,760, New York raised its season home attendance to 3,040,920, only its third time over 3 million and first since drawing a record 3,047,724 in 1988.
  • The Mets wore caps honoring New York City policemen, firefighters, medical workers and court officers, and Port Authority police. They planned to wear the caps again Monday at Florida.
  • Mets RHP Pedro Martinez, sidelined since Aug. 14 because of a strained calf, will start during the weekend series at Pittsburgh, possibly on Friday, Randolph said.
  • Julio Franco entered in the ninth and made his first appearance at third base since Oct. 2, 1982, for Philadelphia against the Mets. He became the 134th third baseman in Mets history.
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Eric Stults pitches with poise against the Mets, giving up just one earned run in six innings of work.  (AP)
Eric Stults pitches with poise against the Mets, giving up just one earned run in six innings of work. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Reyes
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
Los Angeles

N. Garciaparra
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Furcal, SS4231000
   a- Ramon Martinez, PH-2B1000011
Kenny Lofton, CF4113003
    Matt Kemp, CF1000000
Nomar Garciaparra, 1B3124100
    James Loney, 1B1010000
J.D. Drew, RF3010102
    Jason Repko, RF1000001
Jeff Kent, 2B4110012
    Julio Lugo, 2B-SS1000001
Marlon Anderson, LF3000102
    Delwyn Young, LF1000010
Wilson Betemit, 3B4111013
Russell Martin, C2210100
   b- Toby Hall, PH-C2010000
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   c- Olmedo Saenz, PH1010000
    Elmer Dessens, P0000000
    Mark Hendrickson, P0000000
   d- Oscar Robles, PH1000001
    Aaron Sele, P0000000
a-struck out for Furcal in the 7th
b-popped out for Martin in the 7th
c-singled for Stults in the 7th
d-grounded out for Hendrickson in the 9th
3B - Kenny Lofton (, Trachsel), Jeff Kent (, Bannister)
HR - Nomar Garciaparra (, Bannister)
SF - Wilson Betemit ()
SH - Eric Stults ()
RBI - Rafael Furcal (), Kenny Lofton 3 (), Nomar Garciaparra 4 (), Wilson Betemit ()
SB - Rafael Furcal (, 2nd base off Bannister/Lo Duca), Russell Martin (, 2nd base off Bannister/Lo Duca)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Betemit-Kent-Garciaparra, Betemit-Kent-Garciaparra
Los Angeles Dodgers
Eric Stults (W,-) 6211231
Elmer Dessens 1100220
Mark Hendrickson 1000000
Aaron Sele 1000010
Pitches-Strikes - Eric Stults 86-54, Elmer Dessens 26-15, Mark Hendrickson 13-9, Aaron Sele 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Stults 5-8, Mark Hendrickson 1-2, Aaron Sele 1-1
Batters Faced - Eric Stults 20, Elmer Dessens 6, Mark Hendrickson 3, Aaron Sele 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS3111001
    Darren Oliver, P0000000
   a- Ricky Ledee, PH1000000
    Chad Bradford, P0000000
Endy Chavez, CF4010000
Paul Lo Duca, C3000011
    Julio Franco, 3B1000010
Carlos Delgado, 1B3000000
    Shawn Green, 1B1000000
David Wright, 3B1000200
    Mike DiFelice, C1000000
Jose Valentin, 2B3010011
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Lastings Milledge, LF3000023
Steve Trachsel, P0000000
    Royce Ring, P0000000
   b- Chris Woodward, PH0000100
    Brian Bannister, P0000000
   c- Anderson Hernandez, PH-SS2000010
a-lined out for Oliver in the 8th
b-walked for Ring in the 3rd
c-struck out for Bannister in the 6th
HR - Jose Reyes (, Stults)
RBI - Jose Reyes ()
2-OUT RBI - Jose Reyes ()
Team LOB - 4
New York Mets
Steve Trachsel (L,-) 2.2544210
Royce Ring 0.1000000
Brian Bannister 3655211
Darren Oliver 2200020
Chad Bradford 1100010
Pitches-Strikes - Steve Trachsel 67-36, Royce Ring 5-2, Brian Bannister 72-42, Darren Oliver 30-21, Chad Bradford 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Steve Trachsel 2-5, Royce Ring 1-0, Brian Bannister 2-6, Darren Oliver 3-1, Chad Bradford 1-1
Batters Faced - Steve Trachsel 15, Royce Ring 1, Brian Bannister 17, Darren Oliver 8, Chad Bradford 4
Game Information
Attendance - 48760
Game Time - 2:50
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Gerry Davis