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Penny shaky in first start vs. Marlins since trade

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Having lost a season-high three straight games, the Florida Marlins might have preferred having one of their young guns on the mound.

But it wasn't Dontrelle Willis, A.J. Burnett or Josh Beckett who got the ball Monday night.

It was Brian Moehler, and he did just fine.

Moehler pitched 6 2/3 effective innings and the Marlins roughed up five pitchers for 16 hits in beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2.

"About time we won one," manager Jack McKeon said.

Alex Gonzalez had two doubles and a single and five teammates had two hits each, including Miguel Cabrera and Juan Encarnacion, who both homered into the left field pavilion off Brad Penny.

"If we can generate any kind of offense, if we can score four or five runs, we have a chance to win every game," said McKeon, noting his team's outstanding pitching staff, which has a 2.79 ERA.

Moehler (2-1) gave up two runs and nine hits. The 33-year-old right-hander hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his five starts and four relief appearances this year.

"You never want to get into a losing streak," Moehler said. "I look at the standings every day. We all know the Braves are the Braves."

By winning, the Marlins moved within 1½ games of NL East-leading Atlanta.

Moehler underwent surgery on his pitching shoulder in 2001 and elbow ligament replacement surgery nearly two years ago. He entered this season without a big-league victory since 2002.

"I've never given up," he said. "I knew it was going to be a long road back, and it has been."

Jeff Kent, for one, was impressed.

"His ball was cutting very smooth, it was late, very subtle -- just enough to throw us off and confuse us," said Kent, who has just one hit in 16 at-bats in the last four games. "He had his sinkerball and cutter working, and it's difficult to face a guy who's throwing strikes and has movement on his ball, when you've never seen him before.

"He had his game working, and we didn't. We're not in a good rhythm right now, and hopefully it won't last too long," Kent said.

The loss was the fifth in six games for the Dodgers, who have been outscored 35-11 in those five losses.

Penny (2-2), facing the Marlins for the first time since they traded him to the Dodgers last July, allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. It was his second straight shaky outing after he pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings in his previous two starts.

"A lot of my friends are over there, and it's tough facing friends," he said. "But you can't be friends when you go out on the field, and they got me tonight."

Cabrera hit a two-out, two-run homer in the first, and the Marlins made it 3-0 in the second on back-to-back doubles by Damion Easley and Gonzalez.

The Dodgers got four hits but only one run in their half of the second. Milton Bradley singled, took third on a single by Ricky Ledee and scored while Jason Phillips was grounding into a double play. Mike Edwards and Penny followed with singles before Cesar Izturis fouled out to end the inning.

Encarnacion homered to open the fourth, making it 4-1.

Moehler settled down after Penny's second-inning single, allowing only one hit until the seventh, when the Dodgers scored their second run on singles by Phillips, pinch-hitter Oscar Robles and Izturis. Matt Perisho relieved with runners at first and second and two outs and retired pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz on a fly to deep center.

Florida scored twice against Giovanni Carrara in the eighth to complete the scoring on a one-out triple by Encarnacion, an RBI double by Easley and a run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Lenny Harris, who has four pinch-hits this season and a big league-record 197 in his career.

Game notes
Dodgers left-hander Odalis Perez will miss at least one start because of tightness in the front of his pitching shoulder. An MRI exam taken Monday showed no structural damage. Manager Jim Tracy said Scott Erickson will start in Perez's spot Friday night against the Angels, with Perez tentatively set to go May 25 at San Francisco. ... Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell, in a 1-for-23 slump, didn't start for the second straight game. Cabrera, who usually plays left field, played third base and Jeff Conine started in left field. ... Dodgers infielder Antonio Perez, sidelined since April 9 because of a strained left hamstring, is to finish a rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday and then rejoin the Dodgers. ... McKeon said closer Guillermo Mota, sidelined with inflammation in his pitching elbow, will throw batting practice Tuesday and will probably be activated early next week. ... Pierre grounded into his
first double play of the season in the eighth inning, his 144th at-bat.