LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With J.D. Drew leading the way, the Dodgers
are beginning to find their offense.
Drew homered and drove in three runs, Odalis Perez pitched six
innings of four-hit ball for his third consecutive victory and Los
Angeles defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 Friday night.Perez struck out four and walked one in equaling his 3-0 start
of last season. The left-hander also got off to a quick start last
year, winning four games in April for the first time in his career.
Danys Baez worked the ninth for his fourth save in five chances."I mixed my pitches and threw my fastball with more
consistency," Perez said. "Everything is working."Five of the Dodgers' six runs came with two outs."It's a big pickup," Drew said.The Dodgers had 11 hits, including four extra-base hits. That
equaled their highest output since they had 15 hits April 13 at
Pittsburgh. They had scored just 11 runs in their previous six
games, including four losses.Drew has been especially productive, reaching base safely in
each of the 14 games he's played so far. He's hitting .340, with an
on-base percentage of .444.He missed more than half of last season because of injuries,
including a broken left wrist."When you get confident and you're feeling good hits come," he
said. "Hopefully, I'll stay away from broken bones and I'll be all
right."Perez worked the corners and kept the ball away from the middle
of the plate."He probably threw a few more fastballs at times than we
expected," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "He threw a lot of
sliders to the lefties and a lot of changeups to the righties. But
when he was ahead, he'd mix in his fastball just enough to keep you
off the other stuff."James Loney's two-out RBI double bounced on the warning track in
right field, snapping a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning. Loney likely
was playing his last game for the Dodgers before being sent down to
Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Nomar Garciaparra, expected to
come off the disabled list Saturday."Nomar seemed to be fine," Dodgers manager Grady Little said.
"Everything looks good for tomorrow."Los Angeles led 1-0 on Jeff Kent's two-out sinking line drive
that Luis Gonzalez couldn't catch in left field in the first.The Diamondbacks tied the game on Orlando Hudson's groundout
that scored Shawn Green, who tripled in the second.Arizona's Orlando Hernandez (1-3) allowed three runs and seven
hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked
none in losing his third straight in his first career appearance
against the Dodgers.Hernandez gave up a leadoff homer to Drew in the sixth,
extending the Dodgers' lead to 3-1."He was attacking the hitters, had better command of the strike
zone early on, kept some balls down and used all his pitches,"
Melvin said. "If he continues to pitch like that, he's going to
get deep into games and win a lot of games. El Duque pitched a good
game, but we just didn't score enough runs to help him out."Tim Hamulack replaced Perez and allowed a double on his first
pitch to Hudson in the seventh. Eric Byrnes drove in Hudson with a
two-out single, leaving Arizona trailing 3-2.The Dodgers added three runs with two outs in the seventh off
Greg Aquino. Rafael Furcal had an RBI double and Drew had a two-run
single to make it 6-2.
Garciaparra went 2-for-5, with two runs scored and an RBI
in his second and final rehab start for Triple-A Las Vegas. ... The
Dodgers stole three bases, bringing their season total to an
NL-leading 17, which is tied with Seattle for the major league
lead. ... Hernandez singled in the fifth and took third on an error
by CF Kenny Lofton, who fielded the ball but tried to flip it
behind him to Drew. The Diamondbacks stranded Hernandez. ... Perez
also had a balk in the first and hit a batter in the third.