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Dodgers' role players are worthy of attention in 8-3 victory over the Nationals

Jamey Carroll has three hits and drives in two runs, Reed Johnson has a two-run single and newcomer Jay Gibbons has a run-scoring single to back Ted Lilly, who wins his second game as a Dodger.

August 08, 2010|By Jim Peltz

Jamey Carroll, Reed Johnson, A.J. Ellis, Ronnie Belliard and Jay Gibbons weren't the headline grabbers the Dodgers had in mind when the club opened the 2010 season.

But for one Sunday afternoon, those reserves combined to give Ted Lilly all the support he needed to win his second consecutive game since being traded to the Dodgers on July 31.

Led by Carroll's three hits, including a two-run single, and a two-run single by the pinch-hitting Johnson, the Dodgers defeated the Nationals, 8-3, at Dodger Stadium to win their second game against Washington in less than 24 hours.

Lilly (5-8), meanwhile, held the Nationals to the three runs along with five hits in his six innings of work.

The Dodgers remained seven games behind the first-place San Diego Padres, who also won, but the Dodgers' victory did give them a smidge of momentum ahead of a seven-game trip that opens Tuesday in Philadelphia against the Phillies.

But Manager Joe Torre was quick to note that although he applauded the strong play by his bench Sunday, "you can't count on that for a steady diet, because we need the 3-4-5 guys" in the lineup "to play and produce like we know they're capable of."

Indeed, the 3-4-5 hitters Sunday — Andre Ethier, James Loney and Matt Kemp, respectively — batted one for 11 against Jason Marquis and the Nationals' bullpen, that one being Loney's run-scoring single. Kemp struck out four times.

"I know he's trying, but he's frustrated right now," Torre said of Kemp. "He's struggling. Hopefully, the day off will get him back on track."

Marquis made his first start since April 18 after having surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow, and the Dodgers tagged him for four runs in the first inning — with help from some Washington blunders — in front of an announced 43,639.

After Scott Podsednik led off with a walk and stole second base, Ryan Theriot laid down a sacrifice bunt that Marquis bobbled, leaving both runners safe. As Theriot stole second base, the throw from catcher Wil Nieves went into center field and Podsednik scored.

Ethier walked and Loney singled to score Theriot. Two outs later, with Ethier and Belliard on base, Carroll singled to score both.

Washington came back in the second inning when Michael Morse and Justin Maxwell hit consecutive solo homers to left field.

The Dodgers added one run in the fourth inning when Carroll doubled and scored on Ellis' double, and another run in the sixth when Gibbons — in his first at-bat since replacing veteran Garret Anderson earlier in the day — singled home Belliard.

Johnson then delivered his pinch-hit single in the eighth inning to drive in Belliard and Carroll.

Asked about his productive day, Carroll — playing shortstop for the injured Rafael Furcal, who's expected to rejoin the lineup Tuesday — said "the most important thing is for us to come away with the win."

"I'm just holding the fort down" until Furcal gets back, Carroll said. "You just work hard and try to make the most of it."

james.peltz@latimes.com

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