Ashby pitched eight sharp innings and Brian Jordan hit a two-run
homer as the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-0
Saturday. "Coming off spring training, I felt pretty good about my elbow.
Thank God I haven't had any problems," the two-time all-star said.
"I'm doing the things in between starts to keep it strong, and I
go out every five days and just try to give our club a chance to
win.'' The Dodgers won despite getting only two hits, including
Jordan's homer in the fourth. The crisply played game took exactly
two hours. "I wanted to come up and in on him, but I missed it by a couple
of inches,'' Arizona starter Brian Anderson said. "It was out over
the plate a little bit. He's a big, strong guy and he got enough of
the bat on it. That's a pitch that you don't have a whole lot of
margin for error.'' Ashby (5-4) gave up five hits, struck out two and walked one
while beating the Diamondbacks for the fourth straight time. Ashby, who had season-ending surgery last June, pitched eight
scoreless innings for the second time this season. "He had a great spring,'' teammate Marquis Grissom said. "He's
been throwing the ball well his whole career. It was just a matter
of being healthy. When he's healthy, he can hit his spots and stay
ahead of the hitters. That's what he did the whole game today.'' Ashby gave up a single to Craig Counsell to open the game, then
retired 12 in a row before Steve Finley led off the fifth with a
single. But Finley was quickly erased on a double-play grounder by
Damian Miller. No Arizona runner advanced past second base until the sixth,
when the Diamondbacks loaded the bases on a leadoff bunt single by
Tony Womack, a one-out single by Counsell, and a two-out walk to
Luis Gonzalez. Ashby got out of trouble by retiring Erubiel Durazo
on a grounder. Durazo, hampered by soreness in his right hand and limited to
one at-bat in the past four games, was 0-for-4. He is hitless in
his last 20 at-bats after hitting five home runs in a three-game
span. Durazo missed the season's first 6 1-2 weeks after breaking a
bone in his hand while batting in an exhibition game. "I think we were lulled into a false sense of security with
that big game he had his second game back, hitting three home
runs,'' Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "I think everybody --
myself included -- thought he was back at 100 percent and ready to
go, but everyone struggled today against Ashby. It wasn't just
Ruby.'' Eric Gagne got three outs for his major league-leading 19th save
in 20 attempts, ending Arizona's three-game winning streak. The Dodgers' shutout was their seventh this season while Arizona
was blanked for the fourth time. Anderson (0-5) failed to win as a starter for the 16th time in a
row, dating back to a 12-4 win at San Francisco last July 22. The
left-hander, who has dropped his last four starts to the Dodgers,
gave up just two hits over seven innings. He walked none and struck
out four. "He's a pretty good pitcher. I played with him in Cleveland and
I know he can pitch,'' Grissom said. "He has three good pitches, a
fastball, curveball and changeup.'' Anderson, a first round pick by the Angels in 1993, has a career
record of 55-52. He insists he is not getting discouraged. "It was a good start, but it wasn't enough. That seems to be my
company line the last half a year,'' Anderson said. "I don't have an option, other than to keep my chin up. That's
all you do, I'm not a quitter. You just keep believing in yourself
and your teammates, keep getting after it, and believe it will
turn.'' Cesar Izturis singled to start the fourth and Jordan connected
with two outs for his 10th home run. The homer was Jordan's fifth
hit in nine career at-bats against Anderson to that point.
Anderson is 0-7 during his 16-game drought as a starter.
His last regular-season victory was Oct. 4 against Colorado, when
he pitched 2 1-3 innings of relief in a 5-4 victory. ... The
Diamondbacks tied a franchise record with 18 victories in May. ...
Ashby evened his career record at 91-91 ... The Dodgers are a major
league-leading 11-3 when opponents start a left-hander. ...
Counsell, who tied a club record with five hits last Sunday against
the Dodgers in a 10-inning victory, is 12-for-23 against them this season.