Kuroda-San Brilliant in 5-2 Victory

Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda became the first Dodgers pitcher of the season to work into the ninth inning and he came within one out of recording a complete game before tiring. Jonathan Broxton recorded the final out in a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. Kuroda's 8 .2 innings followed Clayton Kershaw's seven-inning start, the first-back-to back seven 7 innings+ starts in nearly a month.

The veteran, who won the opening game of the season and then spent nearly two months on the disabled list with a oblique injury, retired 16 in a row and struck out a career-high nine while taking a two-hitter into the ninth inning. The results were pleasing Especially after back-to-back starts in which Kuroda allowed nine runs combined in 11.1 innings.

He came into this game 0-3 in his previous four starts without having pitched more than six innings in any of his five starts. Kuroda said he changed the grip on his two-seam fastball which worked to perfection against the hard-hitting White Sox lineup.

"It was a huge decision on my part," Kuroda said of the grip change he worked on during a bullpen session in Anaheim. "You have to be really courageous to do this during the season, but I had felt I had to make a change after my last start and that was it."

He was touched for a pair of two-out singles before Broxton close out his second win against three losses. Kuroda allowed only four hits and didn't walk a man. He forced a dozen ground balls to go with his nine strikeouts.

He allowed a home to to former Dodger Paul Konerko in the second inning and a soft single to Jermaine Dye in the fourth before the wheels fell off in the ninth.

"He was terrific as far as his command," manager Joe Torre said. "He's not going to beat you with his velocity. He's going to beat you with his location and movement. He was throwing a lot of strikes. It was nice to watch."

Kuroda received instant support by his teammates. Rafael Furcal and Orlando Hudson doubled for a run in the first inning and James Loney followed a walk to Matt Kemp with a shot into the right field seats in the second for a quick, 3-0 lead.

Loney, who hit two home runs in his first 67 games, has three in his past four.

After Konerko's homer, the game rolled 3-1 into the eighth inning before Los Angeles added another pair of runs and nearly broke the game completely open.

Designated hitter Mitch Jones ripped his first Major League extra-base hit, a double inside the third base bag and into the left field corner. Juan Pierre launched the highest bunt of the season, on which Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham had to make a diving, over-the-shoulder catch, and Rafael Furcal bounced out, moving Jones to third.

Hudson walked and stole second, then both he and Jones scored when Casey Blake lined a single to right field. Andre Ethier and Russell Martin walked to load the bases and Kemp apparently saw a potential grand slam in the making and struck out on three of the most vicious swings imaginable.

Loney and Jones opened the ninth with singles but nothing came of it, Loney being thrown out at the plate.

In the ninth, Kuroda easily retired the first two White Sox, then allowed a single to left field by Alexi Ramirez on his 103rd pitch of the game. He was allowed to take second without a throw and scored on Dye's second hit of the game.

Manager Joe Torre called for Broxton and he disposed of Jim Thome, fanning him on three pitches, the finalé a 99-mph fastball.

Los Angeles improved to a season-high 23 games over .500 and a 47-24 record.

Tonight LHP Randy Wolf (3-2, 3.29 ERA) has 10 no decisions, eight short of the Los Angeles record set by Odalis Perez in 2004. Against Oakland, Wolf allowed one run in six innings, while stranding five runners in scoring position. The Dodgers have won seven of his past eight starts.

Chicago will counter with RHP Gavin Floyd (4-5, 4.65 ERA) who had his sixth consecutive quality start on against the Cubs. He has allowed one earned run in each of his past three starts and carries a 1.58 ERA in his past six. In three starts against the Dodgers, he has a 10.50 ERA over 12 innings during which he has allowed 19 hits, 14 earned runs with seven strikeouts and 10 walks.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	120 000 020-5
Chicago WS	010 000 001-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf	5  0  0  0  .329
Furcal ss	5  1  1  0  .248
Hudson 2b	4  1  1  1  .309
Blake 3b	4  0  1  2  .300
Ethier rf	1  0  0  0  .267
Martin c	3  0  0  0  .244
Kemp cf	        3  1  0  0  .314
Loney 1b	4  1  2  2  .282
Jones dh	4  1  2  0  .375
-----------------------------------
 Los Angeles	33 5 7 5
 White Sox	31 2 4 2

 Two-base hits- Furcal (13), Hudson (22), Jones
(1). HR- Loney (5). RBI- Hudson (38), Loney 2
(49), Blake 2 (46). SB- Hudson (6). CS- Ethier
(3). LOB- Los Angeles 7. Chicago 2.

 Los Angeles	in  h r-er bb so  era
Kuroda (2-3)	8.2  4  2-2  0  9  3.44
Broxton (sv 18)	0.1  0  0-0  0  1  2.27
 HBP- Ethier. T- 2:28. Att- 22,251.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers snapped a 50-year losing streak against the White Sox. They suffered a three-game sweep in 2005 -- the teams' only other meeting here after L.A. beat the White Sox in the 1959 World Series. It was only the ninth time the Dodgers and White Sox have met during the regular season, not including the 1959 World Series won by Los Angeles in six games, and only the third Dodgers win during that span. ...White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected by home plate umpire Cowboy Joe West for attempting to help West call pitches from the Chicago dugout. ...The Dodgers are 7-2 in their past nine games. ...Orlando Hudson scored his team-high 47th run. ...Casey Blake is second on the club with 46 RBI, trailing only Loney who has 49. ...Los Angeles is 16-8 against left handed starters. ...The game marked the first time Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey started together in 1973. The infield quartette went on to play a major league record 8 1/2 seasons together. It also marked the final game Tom Lasorda managed in 1996. ...A record crowd of 15,321 watched as Manny Ramirez went 0-for-2 at Albuquerque in his first rehab start. He struck out and grounded out to shortstop. He batted leadoff to get the maximum times at bat and is scheduled to play five innings tonight and seven innings tomorrow night...









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