Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Dodgers leads 1-0 (as of 4/9)

Game 1: Friday, April 9
LA Dodgers5
Game 2: Saturday, April 10
LA Dodgers7
Game 3: Sunday, April 11
LA Dodgers2

Rockies 1

(1-3, 1-3 away)

Dodgers 5

(3-1, 3-1 home)

10:10 PM ET, April 9, 2004

Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California 

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COL 000001000 1 5 0
LA 10020200 - 5 7 1

W: K. Ishii (1-0)

L: S. Elarton (0-1)

S: W. Alvarez (1)

Roberts steals four bases

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press