Penny held Pittsburgh to a pair of infield singles over eight
scoreless innings in his first game since being traded to Los
Angeles, and the new-look Dodgers held on to beat the Pirates 3-2
on Tuesday night.
"I think the front office here showed a lot of confidence in
me," Penny said. "They didn't get Randy Johnson, and I'm sure
that's who they probably wanted. So I've got to prove to them that
the trade they made is going to work out for them.
"I was nervous tonight, but I knew that if I could make pitches
I'd be successful. I had a great defense behind me and it worked
Penny, who won two games in last year's World Series, joined the
Dodgers last Friday in a trade that sent catcher Paul Lo Duca,
reliever Guillermo Mota and right fielder Juan Encarnacion to the
champion Florida Marlins.
"Penny walked in here tonight and pretty much lived up to his
billing," manager Jim Tracy said. "He's everything I used to see
from the other side of the field -- a power arm and a guy who's
capable of dominating when he's in the zone and on his game."
Penny (9-8) got past the seventh inning for the first time in 12
starts since May 27, striking out four and walking one in the
Dodgers' 16th win in 21 games.
Jason Bay got Pittsburgh's first hit when he beat the throw from
shortstop Cesar Izturis on a grounder up the middle with one out in
the second. Tike Redman got the other one against Penny on a
dribbler to shortstop.
"He definitely had his good stuff going tonight," said Ty
Wigginton, who faced Penny a number of times while with the New
York Mets. "He was keeping his fastball down at the knees and was
backing it up with that slow breaking ball of his. He's an
aggressive pitcher, and he was lights out tonight."
Penny, who allowed 10 homers in his 21 starts this season with
the Marlins, found Dodger Stadium's generous dimensions to his
liking. Two of his 99 pitches were driven to the warning track by
Jack Wilson and caught by left fielder Jayson Werth.
"I knew the first one was going to stay in -- but the second one
I thought he hit out of the park," Penny said. "If I was in
Florida, I probably would have given up three runs tonight. I think
I'm going to like pitching here."
Penny, 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA in his four previous career starts at
Dodger Stadium, was serenaded with a few choruses of "Pennies From
Heaven" by organist Nancy Bea Hefley when he took the mound for
the second inning. He received a standing ovation from the crowd of
34,581 as he returned to the dugout after the eighth.
"I loved it out there," he said. "I can't remember being
tired one time tonight. In Florida, it's so hot I was always
huffing and puffing."
The NL West-leading Dodgers played their first home game since
dealing away one-fifth of their 25-man roster just before the trade
Steve Finley, one of the new Dodgers, helped set up their first
run with a sacrifice bunt and scored another run after getting a
lukewarm reception by the fans. He didn't have an official at-bat
in four plate appearances in his home debut, but he walked twice
and had two sacrifice bunts in his four plate appearances.
"This guy is a professional," Tracy said. "I didn't ask him
to bunt tonight because I know how well he can pull the ball,
especially with a runner at second base and nobody out. But he was
facing a lefty and in one case, he was hell-bent on getting the
runner to third in whatever manner he felt necessary. That says a
lot about him."
Oliver Perez (6-6) allowed three runs on five hits over five
innings, and struck out 10 in his first road loss of the season in
Izturis singled in the first inning and advanced on Finley's
sacrifice before Adrian Beltre drove him in with a double. The
Dodgers extended the lead to 3-0 in the third with two-out RBI
singles by Shawn Green and Werth.
Pittsburgh's Jason Kendall set a franchise record by catching
his 1,155th game, eclipsing the mark held for 88 years by George
Hal Sutton, the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, stood
in front of the mound with an iron in his hand and chipped the ball
to the plate. ... Finley, who wore Lo Duca's No. 16 in his first
two games with the Dodgers, is wearing his familiar No. 12 again.
Tracy gave it up and switched to No. 16 in Lo Duca's honor. "The
number I have on now means a lot to me, too. There's a guy who left
here who also means an awful lot to me. So I put this shirt on as
proudly as the one that had No. 12 on it."