Lo Duca had a key hit for the Florida Marlins during a two-run
eighth inning, scored on a wild pitch and also threw out a runner
at third on a double play, helping the defending World Series
champions beat Los Angeles 4-2 on Monday night.
"They're still my friends, but I'm happy that we won," Lo Duca
said. "When I scored that run, I was really emotional and my heart
was beating about 150 miles an hour."
Encarnacion scored the tying run after leading off the fifth
inning with a single and stealing second. Mota retired Milton
Bradley on an inning-ending double play in the eighth. And all
three of the former Dodgers were treated like long-lost relatives
by an appreciative sellout crowd of 53,121.
Lo Duca received a long standing ovation his first time up in
his 600th major league game, and he acknowledged it by stepping out
of the batter's box and taking off his helmet. Umpire Bill Miller
let him soak in the adoration a little while longer by wiping off
A few teenage girls in the stands holding "Welcome Back Paul"
placards were still wiping away tears in the first inning when Lo
Duca lined into an inning-ending double play started by third
baseman Adrian Beltre. Lo Duca finished 1-for-4.
"It was unbelievable," Lo Duca said. "You don't realize it
until you get to home plate. I couldn't step in the box. I had to
step out again. It was something I'll never forget. It was pretty
Miguel Cabrera homered and Mike Lowell singled home the go-ahead
run for the Marlins, who are still ecstatic about the July 30 trade
in which they swapped Brad Penny, Hee Seop Choi and minor league
pitcher Bill Murphy for Lo Duca, Encarnacion and Mota.
Carl Pavano (13-5) allowed two runs and six hits in 7 1-3
innings, and set a career high for victories. He struck out three
and walked two while improving to 5-1 against the Dodgers. This was
the third start in which Lo Duca caught him.
"It was a bittersweet game for him, but we're here to win
ballgames," Pavano said. "He's a professional and he understands
the business, and he's our teammate now.
"He watched those guys over there day in and day out and he
obviously knows their tendencies and weaknesses a little better
than I do. So I took a lot of comfort in that and we were on the
The Marlins snapped a 2-2 tie in the eighth against Darren
Dreifort (1-4). Lefty reliever Mike Venefro, acquired from Kansas
City on Aug. 10, faced only one batter in his NL debut and plunked
Juan Pierre just above the right elbow leading off the inning.
Pierre was thrown out by Brent Mayne trying to steal second
after Dreifort came in, but the Marlins loaded the bases with a
single by Lo Duca and two walks. Lowell got his 500th career RBI
with a single that drove in Luis Castillo, and Lo Duca scored on
Dreifort's wild pitch.
Mota received a loud ovation when he came in to relieve Pavano
in the eighth after a leadoff single by Steve Finley. The
right-hander, whose role as Dodgers setup man for Eric Gagne was
taken over by Dreifort after the trade, then got Bradley to hit
into a double play.
Manager Jim Tracy remained noncommittal when pressed about
Dreifort's status as his setup man.
"We'll reassess the situation tomorrow," Tracy said. "The key
for Darren is throwing strikes, just like it is for anyone else.
The worst thing in the world you can do is quit on a guy, but the
eighth inning is so critical for us because of the guy we've got
going in the ninth."
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second with the help of
consecutive two-out throwing errors by shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who
had only eight in the previous 109 games he started this season.
The first error came on a grounder by Choi, who came around to
score when Gonzalez made a diving stop of Alex Cora's hard smash in
the hole and missed Castillo entirely while trying for the force at
Cabrera tied it in the fourth against Jeff Weaver with his 25th
The Dodgers regained the lead in the bottom half when Beltre led
off with a double and scored from third on Choi's groundout. But
the Marlins pulled even again in the fifth.
Encarnacion led off with a single and stole second with two
outs. He was held up at third on Pierre's single to right, but
continued home with Florida's second run when the ball broke off
Shawn Green's glove for an error.
Weaver, trying to win his fourth straight start allowed two runs
and five hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and two walks.
Gonzalez, whose 12th-inning homer off Weaver in Game 4 of
the World Series gave the Marlins a 4-3 win over the New York
Yankees, was 0-for-4. ... Dodgers RHP Hideo Nomo pitched three
innings in his first rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake, allowing
one earned run, four hits and no walks while striking out five at