Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Dodgers leads 1-0 (as of 8/4)

Game 1: Friday, August 4
LA Dodgers6Final
Game 2: Saturday, August 5
LA Dodgers10Final
Game 3: Sunday, August 6
LA Dodgers7Final

Dodgers 6

(54-55, 23-31 away)

Marlins 2

(51-58, 27-26 home)

    7:35 PM ET, August 4, 2006

    Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida 

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    W: D. Lowe (9-7)

    L: A. Sanchez (4-2)

    Lowe pitches Dodgers past Marlins for seventh straight win

    MIAMI (AP) -- July was bad for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Derek Lowe. Both have gotten off to a great start in August.

    Lowe pitched seven strong innings and Kenny Lofton homered and drove in two runs to lead the Dodgers to their seventh straight victory, 6-2 over the Florida Marlins on Friday night.

    The winning streak tied a season high for the Dodgers, who won seven straight from May 17-25.

    Lowe (9-7) won his second straight start, allowing five hits and one run. He struck out five and walked none. It was his longest outing since a complete game win against Seattle on June 22.

    The Dodgers struggled in July, dropping 13 of 14 games after the All-Star break, and nobody was happier to put the month behind them than Lowe. He lost three straight starts to go along with two wins and a no-decision.

    "If you look at my numbers in July, they were as bad as anybody's in baseball," Lowe said. "I was glad to get seven good innings in tonight. The defense was tremendous. They made three or four outstanding plays.

    "There were a few ghosts in the back of my mind. It seemed it had been a long time since I pitched a good game."

    The Dodgers scored two runs in the second, one unearned. James Loney tripled to center and scored on Rafael Furcal's single. Furcal went to third on Lofton's single, then scored on an error charged to Mike Jacobs on Anibal Sanchez pickoff throw to first.

    Lofton's solo homer, his second of the year, came in the sixth and gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. Lofton finished 3-for-5, including an RBI single in the seventh.

    Wilson Betemit hit a solo homer, his first as a Dodger, off reliever Matt Herges in the seventh. Betemit was acquired on July 28 in a trade with the Atlanta Braves.

    Sanchez lost his second straight start after winning four of his first five. Sanchez (4-2) pitched six innings, allowing six hits and three runs, two earned.

    "This is two starts in a row that I struggled," Sanchez said. "I felt very good the first two innings, but then I lost the command that I am used to having. This is a learning experience, I guess. You're not going to have your 'A' game every time out there."

    The Marlins had runners on second and third with no outs in the sixth but got just one run. Lowe struck out Dan Uggla. Jacobs scored pinch-hitter Joe Borchard with a sacrifice fly, then Lowe retired Miguel Cabrera on a groundout.

    Lowe was more like the pitcher who ran off four straight wins in May and June, mixing his pitches and getting hitters out with his sinker.

    "He was on top of his game," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "His sinker was working, and he was spotting all of his pitches. We made some good defensive plays, but mostly he stayed strong and pitched a great game."

    The Marlins had just taken two of three against the NL East-leading New York Mets to fuel wild card talk, but Lowe cooled them off.

    "Baseball is a grind," Florida manager Joe Girardi said. "It's August, and we're fighting for our lives. This is a good experience for our ballclub because we're going to go through this again."

    Mostly, it was Lowe who the Marlins couldn't handle.

    "He had us swinging over the top of his sinker, and that's why he had good counts against us," Girardi said. "He kept us off stride, and that's what good sinkerballers do."

    The Dodgers added a run in the eighth on Andre Ethier's RBI double. Uggla drove in a run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly.

    "Things are going well for us now," Lofton said. "We knew we were going to turn it around sooner or later. We're winning, and that's that."

    Game notes

    Furcal's single in the second extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Lofton's home run was his second since Aug. 30, 2005. ... Lofton continued his hot hand against the Marlins. He hit .421 (16-for-38) with seven RBI in 12 games against the Marlins last season with the Phillies. ... Sanchez was 4-0 in his first five starts before giving up eight runs in 4 1-3 innings in an 11-5 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press