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ATL@LAD: Garland goes the distance, notches the win

LOS ANGELES -- Unfazed by Major League Baseball's seizure of club front-office operations earlier in the day, the Dodgers seized a victory on the field Wednesday night.

Jon Garland unveiled a new splitter and threw a four-hit complete game with it in his second start off the disabled list, while Juan Uribe drove in four runs as the Dodgers beat the Braves, 6-1.

Andre Ethier slugged his 100th career home run and doubled while extending his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games on manager Don Mattingly's 50th birthday. Uribe and Ethier had three hits each.

Mattingly told his club and the media before the game that the latest chapter of front-office drama would not carry over to the field, and he wasn't buying the suggestion that his team had to overcome any greater obstacle than usual.

"I'm not sure what it says about our team," he said. "I know it sounds good, but this is what we're capable of. It really is. I know I've said it and I don't know if anybody believes it, but our starting pitchers have a chance to go deep into games. We can shorten it after that with our bullpen and we're capable of scoring runs. We got a good club.

"There was a lot going on today, a lot for our guys to deal with, to answer all those questions. But I think I said earlier, I really feel like this shouldn't have an effect on us as a club. We've still got to do the things we always do and go about our business. We want our fans to come out and see us. To do that, we got to go out and put up wins."

The Dodgers chased former teammate Derek Lowe after scoring five runs in three innings. Lowe was pitching on three days' rest because a Friday rainout jumbled the Braves' rotation.

By contrast, Garland was exactly the innings-eater the Dodgers signed him to be as the fifth starter. He missed the first two weeks of the season because of a strained left oblique muscle and made it only four innings in his debut last week, but he knew how to pitch efficiently with the 5-0 lead he was given after two innings.

"It surprised everybody [media] in front of me, but I've done it before," Garland said of the complete game, the 11th of his career. "It doesn't matter when it is."

Catcher Rod Barajas said he was amazed during pregame warmups in the bullpen when Garland unveiled a splitter had had never used before in a game.

"He was a phenomenon," said Barajas. "He told me yesterday about the splitter and it looked good in the bullpen and when we were walking in and he said he'd try using it. He got Jason Heyward with it three times. It's a pitch that can make a hitter very uncomfortable."

Garland said he's been messing with the splitter for years, but not until his last bullpen session did he consider deploying it. Barajas said it was used instead of the normal changeup, and Garland said it acts like a sinker, only drops straight down instead of inside on right-handed hitters, at a slower speed.

Garland used 108 pitches for his first complete game since Aug. 2, 2009, and the Dodgers' first this year. Because he rested the bullpen, the Dodgers will probably wait until Friday in Chicago to activate Vicente Padilla.

"His command impressed me the most and that he threw his breaking pitches for a strike," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He kept his pitch count low, so he was very efficient."

Uribe got the Dodgers on the board in the first inning, cashing in a single by Casey Blake and a ground-rule double by Ethier with a two-run single that just got between third baseman Chipper Jones and shortstop Alex Gonzalez.

Uribe did it again in the second inning. Lowe issued a one-out walk to Garland and paid a heavy price. Blake singled Garland to third, Ethier singled to score Garland, Matt Kemp legged out an infield single to Gonzalez at short and Uribe singled in Blake and Ethier.

The Braves came back with a run in the second inning. Nate McLouth doubled, was bunted to third by Lowe and scored on Martin Prado's sacrifice fly.

Cristhian Martinez, who took over for Lowe, allowed Ethier's second homer of the year and 100th of his career in the fourth inning. Comments