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Dodgers catch their breath in win

Gwynn's outfield grab bails out Broxton, Ethier extends hitting streak, and Kemp and Uribe hit homers.

April 30, 2011|Baxter Holmes

A dark, low-hanging cloud of off-the-field distraction has parked itself over the Dodgers in recent weeks.

But that hasn't slowed what has become the club's brightest and most consistent ray of sunshine: Andre Ethier and his blazing bat.

The star right fielder socked a double to right field in the fifth inning of the Dodgers' 3-2 win against San Diego on Friday before 36,870 at Dodger Stadium, extending his hitting streak to 25 games, which ties him for the second-longest streak in L.A. Dodgers' history with three others.

Only the Dodgers late center fielder Willie Davis had a longer streak, when he hit in 31 straight from Aug. 1 to Sept. 3, 1969. Ethier was one for four Friday and is hitting .396 (38 for 96) during the streak.

Solo home runs from Matt Kemp and Juan Uribe, a strong start from left-hander Tim Lilly and a spectacular game-saving, diving catch from Tony Gwynn Jr. with two outs in the ninth inning and a runner on third base helped the Dodgers (14-13) open up their six-game home stand with a win over the Padres (9-17), whom they've beaten in three of four matchups so far this season.

The win may also provide some momentum for the Dodgers, considering that entering Friday, none of their opponents for their next 26 games has a winning record.

Lilly (2-2) threw six innings, giving up one run and five hits and striking out four. San Diego left hander Clayton Richard (1-2) gave up eight hits and two runs in 52/3 innings.

Vicente Padilla pitched a scoreless eighth inning, setting it up for Jonathan Broxton, the Dodgers' one-and-only closer, Manager Don Mattingly confirmed before the game.

Broxton, who was one strike from a win Monday when he gave up two runs in the ninth inning in a loss to Florida, had some breathing room after Kemp's solo home run in the seventh inning, his sixth homer of the season, put the Dodgers up, 3-1.

And Broxton needed it after giving up a two-out single to Orlando Hudson that scored Will Venable from second base, cutting the Dodgers' lead to one. Broxton then gave up a single to right field to Chase Headley, moving Hudson to third base and putting Dodgers fans on edge for another possible Broxton implosion.

But the next batter, Nick Hundley, swung on a first-pitch slider from Broxton that sailed to left field. Gwynn took off on a dead sprint and made a fantastic diving catch that saved the Dodgers' win and gave Broxton his sixth save.

Uribe returned to the lineup after missing five consecutive games with tightness in his thigh and went two for four, hitting his homer in the fourth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

Uribe played third base in place of Casey Blake, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will miss at least six weeks after undergoing surgery Thursday for a staph infection on his left elbow, Dodgers trainer Stan Conte said.

Infielder Russ Mitchell was called up from triple-A Albuquerque to take Blake's place on the roster. Mitchell walked in his only plate appearance.

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