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Another Day, Another Dramatic Dodger Win

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The fear was that Dontrelle Willis was done losing ball games. The high-flying cocked-capped southpaw came to life last night at Chavez Ravine, striking out nine Dodger batters and even helping himself at the plate with a long ball that hit the wall for a triple.

But the thrilling and dazzling pitcher couldn't do it on his own, and the home team's victory was led by Nomar Garciapara, one of the team's many shortstops. The converted first baseman hit a homer and drove in three runs as the Dodgers chalked up their 16th win in 17 games.

Dodger ace Derek Lowe is due some props as he allowed only one run off four hits in seven innings -- nearly blanking the Marlins' first five batters, who collectively hit 1-for-19 throughout the game. Giovanni Carrara earned his first Save by pitching two innings and only surrendering one run while striking out three.

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The win pushed the Padres down 2 1/2 games away from the division-leading Dodgers. It was less than a month ago that San Diego were the ones on top, 7 1/2 games ahead of LA.

Tonight two rookies face off at Dodger Stadium. Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers has only given up one earned run in his last three starts, while the Fish throw Anibal Sánchez up there, despite his being shelled for 13 earned runs over his last three starts. This could be fun.

AP photo of Dontrelle Willis by Jeff Lewis