Furcal sets LA Dodgers record in win
Shortstop collects four hits in third consecutive game
LOS ANGELES - Tommy Davis won two batting titles and never did it.
Willie Davis had more hits than any Los Angeles Dodger and never did it.
Steve Garvey had six 200-hit seasons and never did it either.
Which is why Luis Gonzalez, after watching Rafael Furcal become the first Los Angeles Dodger to have three consecutive four-hit games, said there was only one thing for a teammate to do.
"I'm going home tonight and getting my kid's PlayStation and see if I can go 14-for-16," Gonzo said after watching Furcal make history and lead the Dodgers to a 9-7 win over St. Louis, in the process snapping the Cardinals' 10-game win streak over the Dodgers that dated to 2005.
Furcal shoots for Brooklyn Dodger Milt Stock's 82-year-old Major League record of four consecutive four-hit games Wednesday night, but even if he falls short, it's been an incredible run.
Since the third inning Saturday night, Furcal has raised his average from .214 to .297. Finally relatively healed from a badly sprained ankle suffered in Spring Training, Furcal not only sprayed hits Tuesday night, he delivered big ones.
The Dodgers batted around in the first and third innings, with Furcal starting off the first rally with a single and highlighting the second with a bases-loaded triple. He drove in three, scored two and the Dodgers' nine runs almost weren't enough.
Starter Derek Lowe wasted a 3-0 lead and was bailed out of a sixth-inning jam by Joe Beimel, who preserved a 9-4 advantage.
"It was an offensive game and, as you saw, I needed some help today," said Lowe. "The hitters picked me up."
Lowe turned over the five-run lead to Hong-Chih Kuo, promoted just before the game started, and he turned it into a nail-biter, allowing three runs in the seventh and was yanked with the tying runs on first and third.
Manager Grady Little brought on Jonathan Broxton earlier than his usual eighth-inning role, needing five outs to get to closer Takashi Saito.
"After last night [Brett Tomko's short start], we were running a little low of bullets out there," said Little. "That's why we brought up Kuo. What Broxton did just about brings tears to your eyes."
What Broxton did, with those tying runners on, was overpower Scott Spiezio and Aaron Miles with strikeouts to snuff out the seventh-inning rally and retire the Cardinals in order in the eighth. Saito picked up his 12th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
"That's just the way Broxton is. He's got ice water in his veins," said catcher Russell Martin, who went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to tie Nomar Garciaparra for the club lead with 25.
"No matter the situation, he just pounds the strike zone with fastballs," said Martin. "That's when you know you're good. When the other team knows what's coming and they can't beat you. He doesn't try to trick you. If you can hit it, hit it. He crushed their momentum."
Because Broxton restored order and Saito kept it, the Dodgers not only could savor this overdue win against the defending champions, they also could marvel at Furcal's hitting spree.
Furcal became only the fifth player in the past 55 years to pull off the three consecutive four-hit games, the most recent being his former Braves' teammate, Marcus Giles, in 2003.
"I remember, it was in Montreal," said Furcal. "It was unbelievable. When I see it on the board tonight, I feel happy, especially when you win it. I say, 'Thank you, God.' It's unbelievable. When you get healthy, anything can happen. I lose a lot of games in Spring Training, but now I feel the way I want to feel."
Furcal missed the early part of Spring Training with a recurrence of a sore shoulder, then the latter part of training camp and the first three weeks of the season with a badly sprained left ankle that still requires a lace-up stabilizer like the ones used by competitive skateboarders.
Furcal had two hits, a walk and an RBI in his final three plate appearances Saturday night. In Sunday's game against the Reds, he went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a sacrifice bunt, two stolen bass, and an RBI and two runs scored. In Monday night's game against the Cardinals, he went 4-for-5 with an RBI. Tuesday night he went 4-for-5 with the triple, three RBIs and two runs scored.
"I don't worry about the first month of the year," Furcal said. "You can't struggle 162 games. Now I feel more comfortable at the plate. I swing at good pitches with a lot of concentration and I see better pitches. But, you know, the game is crazy sometimes."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.