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Roberts steals four bases

4/10/2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dave Roberts put Maury Wills' advice to good
use Friday night.

Roberts stole a career-high four bases, singled and walked three
times in four plate appearances to help the Los Angeles Dodgers
beat the Colorado Rockies 5-1 Friday night for their third straight
victory.

"Stealing bases obviously has something to do with speed, but
it also has a lot to do with confidence and realizing that you can
steal a base at any point in time," Roberts said. "And that's
what Maury really tries to instill in me."

Kazuhisa Ishii (1-0) allowed a run and four hits over six
innings and stranded two baserunners in three consecutive innings
before giving up a sixth-inning home run by Charles Johnson, who
has homered in each of his first three games.

Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer, Alex Cora had a two-run
triple and Paul Lo Duca singled home a run for the Dodgers, who
beat the Rockies for the eighth consecutive time in the opener of a
three-game series.

Wills, whose 104 stolen bases in 1962 were a major league record
for 12 years, has been mentoring Roberts ever since the
fleet-footed outfielder came to the Dodgers in a trade from the
Cleveland Indians in December 2001. They spent some time together
before the game.

"He's just in my ear, talking about baseball in general. But we
talk about stealing bases more so than anything else," Roberts
said. "He just continues to tell me to keep believing in myself
and what I can do. And if I do my job, it makes everyone else's job
easier."

Roberts is the first Dodger with four steals in one game since
Rudy Law did it on May 12, 1980, against the Cubs. And he did it
against Johnson, who won four consecutive Gold Gloves behind the
plate, the last in 1998.

"Obviously, C.J.'s a great catcher," Roberts said. "But when
I get on base, I just want to be aggressive and I have confidence
in what I can do. I just want to put pressure on the pitcher and
the catcher to make plays."

All four of Roberts' steals came on the first pitch. Colorado
starter Scott Elarton (0-1) threw over to first base twice before
Roberts' third steal, and Javier Lopez made two tosses before the
fourth one.

"That's as quick as I can get it to the plate. I can't get it
there any quicker," Elarton said. "I did a decent job holding the
ball on him, too. But if he's getting that good a jump and that
good a read on guys, then it's going to be next-to-impossible to
throw him out. I mean, everything's going to have to be perfect."

Wilson Alvarez allowed one hit over three innings with six
strikeouts for his fourth career save and the first this season by
a Dodgers staff that got 55 last year from NL Cy Young winner Eric
Gagne.

"I didn't really think about a save. That's Gagne's department,
not mine," said Alvarez, who struck out his first four batters.
"But I was just trying to finish it and get some innings. Besides,
I know that if I give up a run, Gagne's coming in."

Elarton, who pitched just 51 2-3 innings last year for the
Rockies after missing all of 2002 because of shoulder surgery,
allowed five runs, five hits and five walks over 5 2-3 innings to
lose in his season debut. He struck out three.

One day after getting an MRI to determine the severity of the
bursitis in his right shoulder, Beltre drove a 2-0 pitch to center
field for his second home run after a leadoff single by Lo Duca to
give Los Angeles a 3-0 lead.

Cora chased Elarton in the sixth with a triple to center after
one-out walks to Juan Encarnacion and Beltre, increasing the margin
to 5-1.

Lo Duca, whose run-scoring single in the 11th inning Wednesday
night gave the Dodgers a 5-4 victory over San Diego, opened the
scoring with an opposite-field RBI single in the first after a
two-out walk to Shawn Green. The hit scored Roberts, who walked and
stole his 100th career base.

Game notes
Roberts is one of only four Dodgers to steal at least 40
bases in consecutive seasons, along with Eric Young, Steve Sax and
Davey Lopes. ... Johnson threw out 15 of 51 potential base stealers
last season. ... Lo Duca's passed ball in the third inning was his
third in the Dodgers' first four games. He had only six all last
season. ... Green, playing first base on a regular basis for the
first time after nine full big league seasons as an outfielder, was
charged with his first error when he dropped Cora's perfect relay
throw on a potential double-play grounder to third by Johnson.