Lowe breezes through eight innings in 96 pitches

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The only thing that could force Derek Lowe
from the mound was a large, hideous-looking blister -- not the
Cincinnati Reds' offense.

The Los Angeles Dodgers' right-hander allowed only one hit in
eight innings and Jason Repko hit a three-run double Monday night
in a 4-0 victory over Cincinnati.

Lowe (7-10) struck out five and got 16 groundball outs before
the blister on his thumb that he had been pitching with since the
fourth inning chased him after 97 pitches.

"This is something I've had for four years, unfortunately, and
that's why I didn't go out for the ninth inning," Lowe said.
"Three more outs wasn't worth ripping it up even more, so you just
take care of it for the next four days and look forward to
Saturday. If I had a no-hitter, I could go back out there in the

Lowe allowed just two flyouts, both by rookie Edwin Encarnacion.
Cincinnati got its only hit when Rich Aurilia singled sharply
through the left side on a sinker with two outs in the fifth. Steve
Schmoll worked a perfect ninth to finish it.

"The way Lowe pitched, I wouldn't say he was nasty, but he
pitched a great game," Aurilia said. "He pretty much hit his
spots most of the night, kept the ball down and got a lot of
groundball outs like he usually does. He got a lot of guys out on
the first couple of pitches, which was probably key for him because
it kept his momentum going."

Lowe, who signed a $36 million, four-year contract with the
Dodgers after winning the clincher in Boston's first World Series
title since 1918, has won consecutive starts for only the second
time this season. He was 0-5 in his previous seven outings with a
5.77 ERA.

"You can't bury your head in the sand and think it's going to
turn around on its own," said Lowe, who made an adjustment with
the help of pitching coach Jim Colborn. "There were some things
that we definitely noticed, and I'm to blame because I didn't try
to work on it earlier."

The Reds, who lead the NL in runs and homers, got their only
other baserunner in the first when Adam Dunn drew a one-out walk.
It was the first base on balls Lowe allowed in a span of three

"I've always said that at this level, hitters will tell you how
good your stuff is," said Lowe, who threw a no-hitter for the Red
Sox against Tampa Bay in April 2002.

"When you can have a lineup like this consistently hit the ball
on the ground, you feel like you've pitched a good game. Even
though I felt like I was in a pretty good groove, I could never
relax because that offense could score some serious runs."

It was the second time this season that the Reds were held to
one hit. On June 14 at Boston, Ryan Freel singled in the sixth
inning against David Wells, who combined with Mike Timlin and Keith
Foulke on a 7-0 victory. The last one-hitter by the Dodgers came on
July 7, 2004, when Kazuhisa Ishii beat Arizona 11-0.

Aaron Harang (6-9) lost for the seventh time in nine decisions,
allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander
beat the Rockies and Cubs in his first two starts following the
All-Star break.

The Dodgers loaded the bases with none out in the second on
singles by Olmedo Saenz and Ricky Ledee and a walk to Jason
Phillips. Repko drove an 0-2 pitch to the alley in right-center,
scoring all three. Phillips would have been an easy out at home,
but rookie shortstop Felipe Lopez hesitated after getting the relay
from Ken Griffey Jr., and Phillips got his hand across the plate
just before Jason LaRue's tag.

"With the bases loaded, I needed to do something to try to
contribute -- at least drive the ball deep so we could get a
sacrifice fly," said Repko, who was 1-for-15 during the Dodgers'
3-3 road trip. "I had two strikes on me and I was looking away.
Luckily, Griffey wasn't playing on that side and it just kept
carrying. I was surprised to see it one-hop the wall."

Phillips, who went 3-for-17 on the road trip, made it 4-0 in the
third with a run-scoring single.

Game notes
Harang went to 0-2 on Repko again in the fourth before
hitting him on the left arm with a pitch. Repko was stranded at
third when Cesar Izturis lined out. ... Cincinnati 1B Sean Casey
grounded into his major league-high 24th double play in the first
inning. Last season, he grounded into 16 double plays in 571
at-bats. ... Only 16 of Phillips' 44 RBI have come at Dodger
Stadium. He and Saenz each had three hits. ... The Reds are 11-32
on the road. Only Colorado and Tampa Bay have worse winning
percentages away from home. ... Dodgers leadoff batter Oscar Robles
was 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 20 at-bats. ... The Reds
moved RHP Ben Weber's rehab assignment from Class-A Dayton to
Double-A Chattanooga.