08/22/07 11:55 PM ET
Lowe wins 10th as Dodgers roll
Ethier, Loney each drive in three runs against Phillies
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
They got pitching from Derek Lowe and season-high production from the offense for a 15-3 victory over the Phillies, a reminder of just how good they can be.
The problem is, it happens only once in a while.
But it happened in this game, the Dodgers taking advantage of another's misfortune as they battered Phillies starter J.D. Durbin, who was moved up to fill in for injured ace Cole Hamels.
Andre Ethier and James Loney drove in three runs each. Matt Kemp had four hits, Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre three each. Jeff Kent added a pair of doubles as the top five hitters went a combined 14-for-24 with 13 runs scored. The 15 runs were a season high and five more than the club scored during the entire six-game trip through Cincinnati and St. Louis earlier this month.
"It illustrates what this club is capable of doing," said manager Grady Little. "People were waiting to get pitches they could hit and making something happen. We know we've got the talent and ability to blow people out. We've got to continue to execute."
The win by Lowe was his second in as many starts after an eight-start, seven-week drought. Over the past month, the only Dodgers starters with victories are Brad Penny (two), Lowe (two) and Eric Stults (one).
"We need all five guys to be effective game in and game out, that's the only way we can get back into our division and the Wild Card, and it starts with starting pitching one through five," said Lowe. "Hopefully, the next six weeks, we'll be able to do that. Having been part of playoff teams in the past, I realize how important the last six weeks are."
Lowe raised his record to 10-11, reaching double figures in victories for the sixth consecutive season. He allowed a two-run homer to Chris Coste in the seventh inning, but retired the first nine batters he faced and continued to effectively deal with the hip injury that has pestered him the past month. He finished with seven innings, his sinker inducing 15 ground-ball outs. He made his third consecutive start without a walk and has issued only one in his last 30 innings.
Since he began experiencing twinges of pain warming up for a July 22 relief appearance, Lowe's assignments have been spaced to allow for recovery. He came out of a July 25 start in Houston hurting and missed a start for the first time in his career, returning to action Aug. 4 on nine days' rest, followed that with six days off, then five days off and worked Wednesday night on five days' rest.
"We're still cautious with it," said Little. "But he seemed to be fine. It's a pain tolerance kind of injury. We don't want him to get into too many positions where it could come back. But after the last two starts, he'll be back out there every five days regardless of off-days."
In support of Lowe, the Dodgers offense scored in six different innings, batting around in a five-run seventh. Oddly enough, the Dodgers lost to Durbin in Los Angeles on July 17 by the same 15-3 score. That was Durbin's first Major League victory.
"An issue we've faced this season is letting guys off the hook that we shouldn't," said Ethier. "We get up for the big pitchers, but at this time of year, you should be up for everybody. Facing patchwork pitching shouldn't matter, our intensity or focus has to be there tomorrow and every day. Today's over. We've got to come out and win another game and a series and add on victories to get us where we want to be."
Ethier went 2-for-4 with two intentional walks, raising his average to .298. Kemp went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, raising his average to .335. Pierre raised his average to .291, as the starting outfield went 9-for-16. Luis Gonzalez did not play, which doesn't mean he won't play in Thursday's day game, when the Phillies start rookie left-hander Fabio Castro.
In Little's outfield arrangement, the only constant is Pierre in center. Ethier, Kemp and Gonzalez are shuffled in and out of the corner outfield spots.
"Sometimes, you swallow your pride and just be ready to play every day," said Ethier. "I've heard no one complain or develop resentment to it. It's just a case of who they think is best to win that day. That's how it's been all year."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.