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Backups back up Chris Capuano well in Dodgers' 6-1 victory

Reserve catcher Matt Treanor leads the charge with a two-run home run to help the left-hander win for the sixth time in seven decisions.

May 21, 2012|By Bill Shaikin

PHOENIX — If this were spring training, the Dodgers would have been fined for that lineup.

But, in this magical regular season, the Dodgers won with that lineup.

No Matt Kemp? No one named Ellis? No matter.

The Dodgers dumped the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, 6-1, dropping the defending National League West champions a staggering 101/2 games back barely six weeks into the season.

In spring training, the commissioner's office can fine teams that field a lineup with fewer than four significant players. The Dodgers' depleted starting lineup on Monday included one player from the opening-day lineup, Andre Ethier.

None of the infielders were with the team on opening day — first baseman Scott Van Slyke, second baseman Ivan De Jesus Jr., third baseman Elian Herrera and shortstop Justin Sellers.

Naturally, every player in the lineup had at least one hit. That included pitcher Chris Capuano, who gave up one run in six innings to earn his sixth victory, tied for the major league lead.

"It's great," he said. "I couldn't be having more fun."

The Dodgers signed Capuano after they determined they could not afford to retain Hiroki Kuroda, who signed with the New York Yankees. Kuroda took his sixth loss Monday; the Dodgers' starters have seven losses combined.

Capuano lowered his earned-run average to 2.25, third-best among the Dodgers starters, behind Ted Lilly (1.79) and Clayton Kershaw (1.90).

"I think we're all trying to keep the pedal down and win as many games as we can," Capuano said, "and then take off some more when we get the guys back."

Sellers hit his first major league triple.

Matt Treanor, the backup catcher, hit his first home run in 11 months. James Loney came off the bench to hit a home run.

Ethier, carrying the torch for the regulars, hit his ninth home run. His 38 runs batted in lead the NL.

"I'm overwhelmed with joy," Kemp said. "I'm really proud of the way we've been playing."

Kemp, who was the dominant player in the league before going on the disabled list last week, said he enjoyed watching the understudies keep the Dodgers rolling.

"Everybody is doing something ... to help this team win," Kemp said. "Everything is going perfect at this moment.

"I'm excited to see it. I'm excited to watch it. I would be more excited if I were out there playing."

Mattingly is not so superstitious as to keep running Monday's lineup out there until the Dodgers lose.

He said Dee Gordon, the starting shortstop, would be back in the lineup Tuesday. Loney and Bobby Abreu got the day off against a left-handed starter. Mattingly timed a day off for A.J. Ellis, the starting catcher, so Treanor could work with Capuano and bat against a left-handed starter too.

And, with victory in hand, Mattingly need not hear more about how the Dodgers could have been fined this year for fielding a spring-training lineup that would not have counted as a major league lineup.

"Next year, it will," Mattingly said.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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