Penny's arm, bat propel Dodgers to fifth straight win

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Brad Penny has had a rough time since he
started the All-Star game for the National League. He took a big
step toward turning it around on Wednesday night.

Penny pitched six sharp innings and drove in a run to help the
Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 for their fifth
straight victory.

Penny (11-5) snapped his three-game losing streak and won for
the first time since July 5 against Arizona. He allowed two runs
and three hits, walked two and struck out six.

It was his first win since he allowed one run in two innings in
the All-Star game.

"I threw the ball well the last couple of times, but the ball
fell in," Penny said. "It was at people tonight."

Ken Griffey Jr., Royce Clayton and Scott Hatteberg homered for the Reds,
who have lost four straight. It's the Reds' longest losing streak
since they lost a season-high six straight from July 1 through July

Cincinnati's lead in the NL wild-card race has dwindled to a
half-game over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were rained out
against the Cubs at Chicago.

"He threw hard," Griffey said of Penny. "We couldn't get
anything together. We couldn't keep the train moving."

Takashi Saito got Griffey to fly out to the warning track in
left field with a runner on first to end the eighth and struck out
the side in the ninth for his 10th save in 10 chances.

The Dodgers pushed across four runs with one out in the third
against Elizardo Ramirez. James Loney walked and Penny followed
with the Dodgers' first hit of the game, a run-scoring double to

"I think that double took a lot out of him," manager Grady
Little said. "He ran out of gas in the fifth or sixth inning. He's
been handling the bat well for us."

Penny bunted the first pitch foul and fouled off the second
pitch when Little put on the hit-and-run.

"I got a little tired," Penny said. "It was hot out there. I
got lucky. I swung hard in case I hit it."

Rafael Furcal singled in Penny and moved to second on Griffey's
throw home. Kenny Lofton added an RBI triple to make it 3-0, and he
scored on J.D. Drew's single to right.

The inning was the third in the last two games in which the Reds
have allowed four or more runs.

"Right now, we just need to stay away from those crooked
numbers," manager Jerry Narron said. "The last two games, we got
beat by three innings, really."

Griffey led off the fourth with his 22nd homer of the season and
the 558th of his career. One out later, Hatteberg added his 10th

The Dodgers chased Ramirez (4-7) in the fifth when Andre Ethier
doubled in Julio Lugo to make it 5-2. Ramirez lasted 4 2/3 innings,
allowing five runs and five hits with a career-high four walks. He
also struck out five.

"When the pitcher got that hit, I think it got away from
(Ramirez) mentally," Narron said.

Clayton led off the eighth with a homer off former Red Elmer Dessens. It was his first home run since June 17, 2005, for Arizona
at Cleveland.

"You're not going to win a lot of games when you only get four
hits," Narron said. "We had a couple of chances, but we didn't

Game notes
The gametime temperature was 91 degrees. ... Griffey's home
run left him with 1,595 career RBI, tied with Hall of Famer Mike
Schmidt for 23rd on the career RBI list. George Brett, another Hall
of Famer, is 22nd with 1,596. ... Penny's double was his second of
the season, and the RBI was his third. ... Furcal extended his
hitting streak to nine games (16-for-37, .432), one short of
matching his season high. ... Penny picked Ryan Freel off first
base in the fifth, the seventh time Freel has been picked off this
season. ... Ethier, who went into the game leading NL rookies in
hitting, extended his hitting streak to six games (8-for-24, .333).
... The Dodgers' winning streak is their longest since they won a
season-high seven straight from May 17 through May 24.