Wolf does a bit of multi-tasking

After breathing a collective sigh of relief that pitcher Hiroki Kuroda had escaped serious injury, fellow starter Randy Wolf and the Dodgers set about doing major harm to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Wolf tossed seven scoreless innings and had three of the Dodgers' 14 hits Sunday -- he nearly hit for the cycle -- as the Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks, 9-3.

Wolf at one point retired 20 consecutive batters, giving the Dodgers' troubled pitching staff a badly needed day of stability.

The streak was broken when Rusty Ryal, whose line drive Saturday struck Kuroda in the head, hit his first big league home run on a 1-and-0 pitch in the eighth inning.

Wolf "certainly gave us the lift we needed after last night's game and to come off this trip on a good note," Manager Joe Torre said.

Indeed, the win in front of 34,012 enabled the Dodgers to end a losing streak at three games, salvage the final game of a three-game series with Arizona and win their 70th game.

Speaking of Kuroda's frightening incident, Wolf (7-6) said "I thought about it today and last night, but when you're out there, you kind of put it away and make the best pitches you can.

"My last few outings I've been a lot more aggressive, going after guys a lot more, pitching in a lot more, and I've had good success doing that."

Wolf was helped by an early cushion as the Dodgers scored three runs in the first inning against starter Yusmeiro Petit (2-7) before Petit had retired his first batter.

Matt Kemp, hitting in the leadoff spot in place of the resting Rafael Furcal, doubled off the center-field wall.

Orlando Hudson singled and Andre Ethier launched a home run into the right-field stands, his 24th.

In the fourth inning, Russell Martin singled and Wolf lined a home run into the right-field stands, the fifth homer of his career.

Kemp then singled and Hudson followed with another home run, giving the Dodgers a 7-0 lead.

Wolf, hitting more like Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki than a conventional big league pitcher, wasn't finished at the plate.

After Juan Castro singled in the eighth inning, Wolf hit a double down the right-field line against Blaine Boyer. Ethier then doubled home Wolf, widening the Dodgers' lead to 9-0.

"You get lucky sometimes," said Wolf of his batting, which gave him three runs batted in Sunday. "It just all comes in one day."

The Diamondbacks finally got to Wolf in the eighth inning.

After Ryal's home run, Chris Snyder and Josh Whitesell singled, with Snyder scoring on a fielder's choice. Stephen Drew tripled to drive in Whitesell and chase Wolf from the game.

Wolf "probably got a little tired from being on the bases in the eighth inning," Torre said.

Guillermo Mota got the final out and then threw a scoreless ninth inning.

The question now is whether the Dodgers, still atop the National League West, can maintain any momentum as they face the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs at home this week.

Wolf said he remained confident they could.

"Obviously, things have been kind of rough for us" since the All-Star break, Wolf said. "But I think we have a good team with regard to the fact that we're able to bounce back very fast."





Big difference

How Andre Ethier, right, did during Manny Ramirez's suspension and how he's done when Ramirez is available:

Without Ramirez











16 BB



.222 AVG.

.293 OB%

.438 SLG%

With Ramirez













42 SO

.321 AVG.

.410 OB%

.573 SLG%

Researched by Houston Mitchell

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