06/21/09 2:13 AM ET
Martin might have unlocked key to swing
LA Dodgers (45-24) at LA Angels (36-30), 5:05 p.m. PT
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"And that's when it hit me," Martin said Saturday night. "That's it. That's what I wasn't doing. This is it."
Martin stopped cold. He started talking to Mientkiewicz, mimicked his leg lift, took it into batting practice, then that night's game.
On Saturday night, the leg lift launched Martin on his first home run trot of the year, first three-hit game in nearly a month and first RBI in three weeks.
The Weaver Brothers Show, for all the hype and headlines, was a one-day novelty. Martin's awakening could signal yet another weapon in the Dodgers' loaded toolbox with the anticipated return of You-Know-Who less than two weeks away.
Martin, a two-time All-Star, will serve as the Dodgers' designated hitter Sunday, with Brad Ausmus starting behind the plate.
"For me, it's just getting my body in a good position to hit," he said. "Before, even though I was lifting my leg, I still had my body leaning forward too soon, I wasn't really getting my weight back. Lifting it the way Doug does keeps my body weight back. So I'm not pulling off early, which was my problem.
"Knowing what's wrong is one thing. Doing it right is a different ballgame. I've done a lot of work with Donnie [hitting coach Don Mattingly]. Now, I've found something I'm comfortable with, whether the pitch is a fastball or off-speed, I'm in a good position to hit. It's not a miracle. It doesn't mean I'll go 3-for-4 every day. But it's comforting to know I'm doing something right."
With Martin leading a 12-hit attack, the Dodgers avenged a loss to Jered Weaver of a month ago at Dodger Stadium.
"Give them credit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They're in first place for a reason. If you're missing your spots, they're going to let you know."
With Jeff Weaver pitching into the sixth inning and James McDonald not used, disabled pitcher Eric Milton will be sent to make a final injury rehab start Sunday for Class A Inland Empire before returning to the Dodgers' rotation as the fifth starter at the end of next week.
Milton was held back just in case the Dodgers used up both Weaver and McDonald on Saturday, in which case Milton would have been activated Sunday to be the long man in the bullpen.Pitching matchup
LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-5, 4.13 ERA)
Kershaw bounced back from his worst start of the season by blanking the A's for 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday. It wasn't pretty as he walked three and needed 105 pitches to get through those 5 2/3 innings, but he did strike out eight batters. It was a marked improvement from his previous start when he lasted just 2 2/3 innings against the Padres. Kershaw is 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in one career start against the Angels but has never pitched in Anaheim. LAA: RHP John Lackey (2-2, 6.10 ERA)
Ending a four-start victory drought, Lackey had a lively fastball and crackling curveball in striking out 10 Giants and walking none in a strong seven-inning effort at AT&T Park on Monday night. Lackey scattered 10 hits and carried a shutout into the sixth, finishing with three earned runs charged to him after throwing 106 pitches, 74 for strikes. One of the most successful pitchers in Interleague history, Lackey has been brilliant against the Dodgers. He's 5-1 in eight starts with a 1.50 ERA in 54 innings against the Angels' turf rivals. He had a no-decision on May 23 at Dodger Stadium, yielding three earned runs in seven innings. Tidbits
Weaver became the only Dodgers starting pitcher other than Chad Billingsley to win a game in June this year. ... The win was only the Dodgers' second in their past 10 games in Anaheim. ... Second baseman Orlando Hudson has an eight-game hitting streak. Tickets
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Tuesday: Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 1-3, 3.86) at White Sox (John Danks, 5-5, 4.48), 5:11 p.m. PT
Wednesday: Dodgers (Randy Wolf, 3-2, 3.29) at White Sox (Gavin Floyd, 4-5, 4.65), 5:11 p.m. PT
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.