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06/07/06 3:09 AM ET
Dodgers capitalize on Mets' mistakes
LA takes advantage of two New York errors in six-run sixth
By Amanda Branam / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers and Mets managed to show a little bit of everything on Tuesday night. Good pitching, bad pitching; good defense, bad defense; an injury, and of course, the long ball. Dodgers starter Derek Lowe, who got the win against former Red Sox teammate Pedro Martinez on Tuesday, may have said it best. "Neither one of us were very sharp tonight. It wasn't the smoothest game ever," Lowe said. In the end, it all added up to an 8-5 win for the Dodgers, with Eric Gagne getting his first save since June 12, 2005. The Dodgers took advantage of two errors by Jose Valentin in the sixth inning, where Valentin made a catching error on a possible double-play ball, and then made a throwing error to first on another possible double play. The sixth inning didn't start well for Martinez, who allowed a leadoff single to J.D. Drew, and then gave up a home run to Matt Kemp. It was Kemp's fourth home run of the season, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead after being stuck in a 2-2 tie with the Mets since the top of the second inning. Tuesday's game was Kemp's 10th since being called up from Double-A Jacksonville. It had been two games since Kemp hit a home run, after going deep in three straight games from June 1-3. "This kid is fun to watch," said manager Grady Little. "He's meant a lot to us." To further the disastrous sixth inning for the Mets, when Heath Bell came on for Martinez, Bell threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded to score the Dodgers' sixth and final run of the inning. Kemp, coming to the plate for the second time in the inning and the 11th Dodgers player to bat in the frame, struck out swinging to end the inning. Martinez took his second loss of the season after giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits. "Pedro's going to compete," said Little, who managed Martinez with the Red Sox. "Tonight, it kind of fell apart on him in that last inning." Things almost fell apart for the Dodgers in the top of the seventh inning, when Jonathan Broxton relieved Lowe after two runs on five hits in six innings. Broxton gave up two hits and two walks as the Mets made it 8-3. Takashi Saito replaced Broxton with the bases loaded and no outs. Saito allowed two runs to score (both were charged to Broxton) on a walk and a groundout, but settled in to pitch two innings, striking out four and allowing just one hit. Saito, playing in his first season of Major League Baseball from the Japan leagues, said he had almost no knowledge of the hitters he faced on Tuesday. "I don't know any of them. [The coaches] tell me about them in the pitchers meeting; they tell me their name and what they like to hit," Saito said. "I don't worry about what the hitters can do. I concentrate on what I can do." Nomar Garciaparra has shown what he can do from the moment he returned from the disabled list on April 22. On Tuesday, he gave the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, hitting his seventh home run of the season. Garciaparra hit the first pitch he saw from Martinez to center field, also scoring Kenny Lofton, who singled earlier in the inning. The Mets came back in the top of the second to score two runs, but it proved to be a costly inning for New York. They led off the inning with three straight hits, the last a double by Valentin to score David Wright from second base. Just before Cliff Floyd got to third base on the play, Floyd twisted his ankle and left the game immediately. The left ankle is sprained, and he is listed as day-to-day. The Mets tied the score at 2 on a sacrifice fly by Lastings Milledge.
Amanda Branam is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.