Perseverance has payoff for Penny

Times Staff Writer

Because of how the Dodgers responded to an early deficit, the way Brad Penny pitched at the end far outweighed the way he pitched at the start.

Penny gave up two runs in the second inning and two more in the third, but the Dodgers stormed back to score eight unanswered runs and claimed an 8-6 victory over the New York Mets Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Penny responded by no-hitting the Mets in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. His final line wasn’t pretty -- six hits and four runs allowed in 6 1/3 innings -- but he became the first Dodgers pitcher to start a season 12-1 since Phil Regan went 14-1 in 1966.


“He’s a strong man,” Dodgers Manager Grady Little said. “When we got those runs, I think we gave him a boost.”

Said catcher Russell Martin: “He’s the kind of guy that if he gets banged up, it’s not going to affect him. He keeps his composure all the time.”

Penny was pulled from the game in the seventh when the Mets put runners on the corners, but reliever Joe Beimel induced Paul Lo Duca to hit into a double play to end the threat.

The Mets had gone ahead, 4-0, on a two-run home run by David Wright in the third.

“You just have to go out there and keep going,” Penny said.

He started with his bat, doubling to left-center in the third and scoring on a single by Juan Pierre. Penny is batting .263 and has an earned-run average of 2.42.

Pierre, who was two for four with a double and two RBIs, extended his hitting streak to 14 games. The center fielder has hit .381 (24 for 53) and scored 13 runs in that stretch.

The Dodgers put together six hits and scored five runs in a fourth inning that was highlighted by Matt Kemp’s sixth home run, a three-run shot to left-center.


The inning was the last pitched by Mets starter Jorge Sosa (7-5), whose ERA rose from 3.84 to 4.36. Sosa was charged with six runs and eight hits.

A fielding error helped the Dodgers increase their lead to 8-4 in the sixth. Kemp scored when Martin grounded into a force out with the bases loaded, but Mets second baseman Ruben Gotay’s attempt to turn a double play resulted in a poor throw that let Rafael Furcal go home.

Jonathan Broxton, who earned the save in place of an unavailable Takashi Saito, has not allowed a run in the 16 1/3 innings he’s pitched in day games.


Eric Stults will start today in place of the overworked Mark Hendrickson in the series finale against the Mets. Chad Billingsley, Hendrickson and Derek Lowe will start the next three games in Houston.

Stults made his first career start and earned his first win against the Mets last September, pitching six innings of one-run ball at Shea Stadium.

“Best outing of my career,” he said.

Stults has pitched four times out of the bullpen since being called up from triple-A Las Vegas on July 4 and is 0-1 with a 5.06 earned-run average.


Stults said moving into a starting role shouldn’t be a problem. He started 14 games for Las Vegas and was 5-5 with a 7.11 ERA. “That’s what I’ve been doing for the last two years,” he said.

Stults estimated he should be able to throw 90-100 pitches if necessary.