Vargas' ML firsts: Complete game, RBI

MIAMI (AP) -- Jason Vargas is boosting the Florida Marlins on the mound and at the plate.

Vargas pitched a six-hitter for his first major-league complete game and hit a two-run single for his first major-league RBI to lead Florida over the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1 on Sunday.

"It has been awesome to feed off the other starters on the staff," Vargas said. "It's unexplainable. I don't think I was ever as happy at the end of a game since I've been pitching as I was today."

Vargas (4-1) struck out seven, tying his season high, and walked one in his fifth major-league start. He threw 117 pitches, the last striking out Antonio Perez to end the game.

He gave up his only run in the eighth, when he walked Jason Phillips leading off, and then gave up a single to pinch-hitter Hee-Seop Choi and an RBI grounder to Cesar Izturis.

"I was hoping the kid would get the shutout, but I'm glad he finished," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "Now he knows he can go out there and complete a game."

The 22-year-old rookie left-hander, coming off a 5-2 loss to San Diego on Tuesday, has won three of his four starts since moving into the rotation.

"That was the first time we were seeing him, and he threw a lot of strikes," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.

Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca spent parts of seven seasons with the Dodgers before being traded to the Marlins last year and remains one of Tracy's favorite players.

"Lo Duca is really good with young pitchers, because I saw him do that when he was here," Tracy said.

Lo Duca likes the enthusiasm and mental toughness that Vargas brings to the mound.

"He's very polished," Lo Duca said. "He had command today of the inside corner against the righties. He painted the corners all day. He knows what he's doing. He's going to be around for a long time."

Derek Lowe (8-12) allowed six runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings and is 0-2 in three starts since beating Pittsburgh on Aug. 5. Lowe, whose ERA rose to 4.20, had his second-shortest stint of the season, ahead of only a three-inning outing against Arizona on July 2.

Florida has won four of its last five games and six of eight.

Milton Bradley had three hits for Los Angeles.

The Marlins took a 4-0 lead in the second on Alex Gonzalez's two-run double and Juan Pierre's two-run, two-out single. Vargas singled to make it 6-0 in the fourth, and Carlos Delgado singled in a run in the seventh off Steve Schmoll.

"It allowed their young kid to settle in," Tracy said of the early lead. "We did not force him into any stressful situations, and we weren't able to get to him."

Game notes
Marlins outfielder Juan Encarnacion, who has a sore left wrist, didn't play. Encarnacion, who got his 1,000th career hit on Friday, left Saturday's game in the third inning after aggravating the wrist while swinging a bat in the on-deck circle. ... The Marlins have scored first in 12 of their past 14 games and 26 of their last 31. ... Choi and Jeff Kent, who combined for six runs and three RBI in Saturday's 11-6 Dodgers win, were out of the Dodgers' starting lineup.