The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES Brad Penny pitched five strong innings, J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer and Los Angeles beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 on a rainy Tuesday night for Grady Littles first victory as the Dodgers manager.
Penny allowed five hits and one run while walking none and striking out eight before being relieved by Jae Seo to start the sixth. Penny, who threw 92 pitches, didnt allow a hit after the second, retiring 10 of his last 11 batters to earn the win.
Drew put Los Angeles ahead for good by hitting a 2-1 pitch from John Smoltz into the right-center seats in the first after Jose Cruz Jr. drew a one-out walk. The Dodgers got two more runs in the inning on RBI singles by Bill Mueller and Jason Repko.
Brian McCann hit a solo homer off Penny in the second, but the Dodgers got that run back in the third on Muellers sacrifice fly.
Seo retired eight straight batters before back-to-back doubles by Matt Diaz and Andruw Jones with two outs in the eighth produced one run. Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer, drawing the Braves within one.
Seo struck out pinch-hitter Brian Jordan to end the eighth, and Danys Baez worked the ninth for his first save in place of suspended closer Eric Gagne.
Smoltz was tagged for nine hits and five runs over five innings in the loss. The 38-year-old right-hander also was roughed up in his first start last season, giving up seven runs in 1 2-3 innings to Florida on opening day.
Penny struck out the side in the first around singles by Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones, and added another strikeout in the second and two each in the third and fourth.
The Dodgers placed first baseman Nomar Garciaparra on the 15-day disabled list before the game because of a strained muscle in his right side and recalled James Loney, who went 1-for-3 with a walk in his major league debut.
The game began on time despite daylong rain that stopped about an hour before the start. There was a 25-minute delay in the bottom of the second.
The paid attendance was 36,249, but there were no more than a few thousand fans on hand when the first pitch was thrown and not many more showed up. The Dodgers announced that fans who had tickets for the game will receive a free ticket to one of two future games May 10 or May 22.
There have been only 17 rainouts in the 44-year history of Dodger Stadium, and none since April 17, 2000.
Smoltz struck out three, giving him 2,570 strikeouts. He needs 11 to tie Hall of Famer Bob Feller for 23rd on baseballs career list. Smoltz has 177 wins and 154 saves. ... Gagne dropped his appeal of a two-game suspension handed down last season and began serving it Tuesday night. He was suspended last April for violating terms of a previous penalty imposed by Major League Baseball, which stipulated he not be in uniform on the bench while he was on the disabled list. ... The 21-year-old Loney had never played above Double-A, but made quite an impression over the past three springs. He hit .284 with 11 homers and 65 RBIs in 138 games with Double-A Jacksonville last year. The Dodgers made him the 19th overall selection in the June 2002 draft. ... McCanns homer was the sixth of his career in 61 big league games.