Penny cruises after Dodgers' surge
Four first-inning runs help right-hander earn sixth victory
LOS ANGELES -- When Russell Martin goes, so do the Dodgers.
On Wednesday night, the catcher got it going again for the Dodgers by supplying the offense, and Brad Penny pitched seven scoreless innings as the Dodgers beat the Brewers, 5-1, in front of 35,609 fans at Dodger Stadium.
Martin drilled a Chris Capuano fastball into the gap in right-center field for a bases-clearing double in the first inning, giving the Dodgers the offensive spark they needed to beat the Brewers.
The Dodgers never relinquished the lead, and Penny was solid after being roughed up in his last outing against the Angels. Penny allowed six hits while striking out four in seven scoreless innings to earn his sixth win of the season.
Penny threw quality starts in each of his first eight outings this season, going 5-0 in the process. He allowed eight runs in the loss to the Angels, but showed no ill effects on Wednesday.
"I wasn't thinking about the last start," Penny said. "To me, personally, as long as we win, I don't care about myself rebounding. I'm going to get beat -- that's the game. You can't be perfect."
The victory tied Penny for the National League lead with eight other pitchers, including teammate Randy Wolf. His ERA of 2.26 ranks second in the league and third in the Majors.
The Dodgers scored four runs in the first inning after Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre hit back- to-back singles to open up the game. Nomar Garciaparra flied to center and Jeff Kent followed with a walk to load the bases for Martin.
After Martin's double, Luis Gonzalez followed with a single to center to give the Dodgers the early 4-0 lead.
The Dodgers added a run in the seventh after Pierre, who had two hits and two runs scored, walked, stole second and advanced to third on a balk by reliever Matt Wise. Martin came through again by hitting a sacrifice fly to left to score Pierre.
"Russell's going to be OK in about five or six years," Dodgers manager Grady Little joked. "This guy is some kind of special player and were glad he's on our team."
Martin improved his career numbers against Capuano to 6-for-9 (.667) with three doubles, a homer and four RBIs.
"Some guys, you just see the ball well against," said Martin. "He's just one of those guys I feel comfortable at the plate against. I'm sure he doesn't want to hear that."
Martin also seemed to see the ball well against reliever Carlos Villanueva in the fifth inning, when he hit a ball down the left-field line that was initially ruled a home run, but then overruled by third-base umpire Sam Holbrook. Villanueva's next pitch was a high fastball near the head of Martin, barely missing him.
Martin took exception to the pitch, and after drawing a base on balls, he stared the pitcher down on his way to first. First-base coach Mariano Duncan and Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder exchanged words and the two benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.
"There's a difference between a guy throwing at you and making a statement. I know he has better control than that," Martin said. "[Fielder] was talking more to Duncan. I was just trying to stay between them."
Fielder had a different take on the situation.
"We were discussing what inning it was," Fielder bluffed. "[Duncan] said it was the sixth inning. I said it was the fifth. So we talked about it."
Duncan, who exchange words with the Brewers bench while Martin was walking to first, said he wasn't trying to cause any trouble, but he felt he needed to protect his player.
"Russ is one of the best players on our team and I was just trying to protect him," Duncan said. "This guy has good control. I know it was intentional."
Yhency Brazoban pitched for the first time in more than a year for the Dodgers. The hard-throwing reliever, who was the closer for the Dodgers in 2005, struck out the side in the ninth to seal the victory for the Dodgers.
"Well, you see a guy come back from the surgery he had, rehab the way he has and come in and get and opportunity to get the first one under his belt. It was a good thing to see," Little said. "His stuff was live out there and I'm sure we'll find some spots for him to pitch."
Jayson Addcox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.