07/06/2003 6:19 PM ET
Battery sparks All-Stars
Brown, Gagne and Lo Duca named to squad
Cast your ballot in the etopps All-Star Final Vote
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
AL All-Star roster
NL All-Star roster
LOS ANGELES -- Starting pitcher Kevin Brown, closer Eric Gagne and catcher Paul Lo Duca were named to the 2003 National League All-Star team Sunday, the second consecutive year the Dodgers will have three player representatives.
The three players were named to the team as a result of votes by league players, coaches and managers. Lo Duca also was the top Dodger vote-getter with 281,528 online votes and 171,048 offline votes. The next highest Dodger vote-getter was Shawn Green, who finished 15th in the voting with 204,231 online votes and 171,217 offline votes.
Gagne is making his second consecutive All-Star appearance. The 2001 runner-up for Rolaids Relief Man pitched one inning last year and allowed a solo home run to Alfonso Soriano. Gagne is the third different Dodger closer to make an All-Star team in the last seven years (joining Todd Worrell and Jeff Shaw).
Gagne, who shattered the Dodger franchise save record last year with 52, has converted all 30 of his save opportunities this year, the fourth-longest streak to start a season, and 38 dating back to last year, the longest current streak in the Major Leagues and tied for fifth-longest all-time. In one stretch he saved six consecutive Dodger games, matching Rod Beck's five-year-old Major League record.
The right-hander also leads all relievers in strikeouts, having fanned 74 in 43 innings, averaging 15.5 per nine innings. He has struck out two or more batters in 28 of his 41 outings. At one point he retired 24 consecutive batters, with a string of 10 consecutive strikeouts included. In addition to 30 saves, Gagne is 1-3 with a 2.09 ERA.
Kevin Brown is making his sixth All-Star appearance, and first since 2000. In 4 2/3 innings of All-Star work, Brown has allowed only two hits and one earned run. He was the winning pitcher in the 1992 game at San Diego while playing for Texas. He also appeared twice as a Florida Marlin, once as a San Diego Padre and once as a Dodger.
Brown has made a remarkable return from two seasons of elbow and back operations. From the start of the season until mid-June, he might have been the best starting pitcher in the league. In his first 15 starts, the only two times he allowed more than two earned runs came when he was weakened by an upper respiratory infection.
He won nine consecutive decisions, but came out of his June 17 start with a strained groin muscle. Healed from that ailment, he suffered a strained lower abdominal muscle in his July 3 start that might keep him out of the All-Star Game. He currently is 10-4 with a 2.30 ERA (tied for first in the league).
Lo Duca is making his All-Star debut, another noteworthy achievement for a player who spent eight seasons in the minor leagues, but he has played in the Florida State League All-Star Game, the Texas League All-Star Game and the Triple-A All-Star Game. He is the first Dodger catcher to make an All-Star team since Mike Piazza in 1997.
Lo Duca has been the one dependable bat in a Dodger offense that has struggled all season, and his career-high 25-game hitting streak is the second longest in the Major Leagues this season and second longest in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
His versatility also has provided manager Jim Tracy with lineup flexibility. Lo Duca has started most of his 79 games behind the plate, but he has also started at first base and left field, where regulars Brian Jordan and Fred McGriff have missed considerable time with disabling injuries. And Lo Duca has batted in the second, third, fourth and fifth spots in the batting order. He is hitting .303 with five home runs and 30 RBIs.
Last year's Dodger representatives were Gagne, Green and Odalis Perez .
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This article was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.