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Dodgers hit three HRs off Ortiz to complete Nats sweep

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers needed a visit from
the Washington Nationals to get them out of their second-half
doldrums.

The Dodgers completed a three-game sweep in this matchup of
last-place teams with a 4-3 victory on Sunday. They did it without
first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who hasn't played since July 24
because of a strained ligament in his right knee and was placed on
the 15-day DL before the game.

Cesar Izturis doubled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning
and the Dodgers hit three home runs against Ramon Ortiz.

James Loney doubled with one out in the eighth against Jon Rauch
(3-2) and scored when Izturis grounded a 2-0 pitch up the first
base line and off the glove of Nick Johnson on a backhanded
attempt.

"I have to take the blame for this one because I didn't do my
job in the eighth inning," manager Frank Robinson said. "If I'm
going to pitch to Izturis, I've got to move Nick over towards the
line a little bit -- or don't pitch to him."

The timely hits were a pleasant sight for manager Grady Little,
who watched his team waste leadoff doubles four times in the first
six innings.

"We got four doubled to lead innings off and didn't score, but
Loney finally got a double for us at the right time," Little said.
"We're proud of the way things have gone the past three days. That
was an exceptional game in all ways."

Jonathan Broxton (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the
victory. The right-hander retired pinch-hitter Daryle Ward on an
inning-ending double play grounder with runners at the corners in
the eighth.

Takashi Saito pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save in as
many attempts.

Andre Ethier and J.D. Drew homered for the Dodgers. Pinch-hitter Jose Cruz Jr. tied it in the seventh with
a leadoff homer while batting for reliever Brett Tomko.

Mark Hendrickson allowed three runs, six hits and a career-high
seven walks over six innings, remaining winless in six starts since
joining the Dodgers in a trade with Tampa Bay on June 27. The
left-hander, who was 4-8 in 13 starts with the Devil Rays, had
never walked more than four batters in any of his previous 113 big
league starts.

One of Hendrickson's three strikeouts came in the third, when he
caught Damian Jackson looking after walking three straight batters
with two out.

"That's not the way I pitch. That's totally uncharacteristic of
me, to walk that many guys," Hendrickson said. "It was just one
of those days where I was having trouble finding command of the
strike zone. But I can feel proud that I made pitches when I had to
and kept the team in it."

Third baseman Wilson Betemit made his Dodgers debut following
Friday's trade with Atlanta, becoming the eighth player to start at
third base for them this season and the 12th since Adrian Beltre
left for free agency after the 2004 season. Betemit doubled twice
and singles in his first three plate appearances.

"I know a lot of people here, I feel welcome here and I'm happy
to be here," Betemit said. I was surprised about the trade because
I never heard `Dodgers.' All I heard was the Yankees and the
Padres."

Washington took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Ortiz singled with
one out and scored all the way from first on Lopez's double to
left-center.

Ortiz allowed three runs, nine hits and three homers in 6 1/3
innings. On June 14, 2002, when he was with the Angels, the
right-hander beat the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine with complete-game
four-hitter -- all home runs.

The Nationals went ahead 2-0 in the second as Jackson singled
home a run and Ryan Church scored on an embarrassing balk by
Hendrickson. The 6-foot-9 former NBA player's back leg buckled as
he tried to make a pitch to Ortiz, and he fell with the ball still
in his hand.

"It was one of those things that happens," Hendrickson said.
"My spike caught in the middle of the mound when I tried to stride
out. It cost us a run, but what can you do? I just tried to regroup
and do the best job I could."

Ortiz retired his first two batters in the third before Drew
homered on the next pitch for his 11th of the season and second in
three days. His grand slam on Friday night ended a personal home
run drought of 168 at-bats spanning 42 games.

Ethier followed with his 10th homer, marking only the second
time this season that the Dodgers homered back-to-back. Garciaparra
and Drew did it on May 9 against Houston's Andy Pettitte in a 12-7
victory.

Game notes
Nationals rookie LHP Mike O'Connor, who allowed a
career-high seven runs and five walks over four-plus innings in
Saturday's 7-5 loss while pitching with a sore elbow, was optioned
to Triple-A New Orleans. The Nationals won't need a fifth starter
again until Aug. 12. ... Washington C Brian Schneider left the game
after three innings because of a mild strain in his lower back.