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Garland Goes the Distance

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Frankly there has been a storm of diarrhea raining down upon Dodger Stadium recently. With Giants’ fan Brain Stow remaining in a coma, an awful bullpen and Major League Baseball yoinking the team away from owner Frank McCourt, they needed this.

They needed the offensive punch to erase all the external problems for at least a little while. They needed starter Jon Garland to ensure the bullpen wouldn’t be needed to night.

“He was good tonight,” manager Don Mattingly commented on Garland’s night. “He got that breaking ball over and his off-speed stuff.”

After a four-inning outing where he was tagged for five earned runs in his last start, Garland (W, 1-1) went the distance giving up a run on four hits and walking two and striking out four as the Dodger offense backed him up in a 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves. After the game he was quick to praise his catcher.

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“Rod [Barajas] was putting down the right fingers,” Garland said.

Barajas heaped the praise right back.

“Jon was a phenomenon tonight,” he exclaimed. “Early on we really went soft on [the Braves]. They’re a good hitting fastball team and we wanted to take that away from them.”

Barajas even said that he mixed in a “splitter that he just started throwing. Today was the first day he actually used it in a game.”

Garland, after hemming a bit, finally fessed up to it.

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“I’ve messed with it for a while,” he said but also noted that didn’t get serious with it until his last bullpen session. Although it may seem drastic, Garland sounded pretty cool about it.

“It’s not too far off my sinker. It’s basically doing the same thing. But it’s something I’m going to continue to develop and keep working on.”

Regardless he seemed to make it work quite effectively the first time out since he got Jason Heyward to strike out three times.

Meanwhile the Dodger offense gave Garland more than enough run support as they beat up on former Dodger starting pitcher Derek Lowe (L, 2-3). Juan Uribe had four RBI in the first two innings while going 3-for-4 in the game.

“Those were two big ones too,” Mattingly said of the two singles Uribe hit to get those RBI.

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And to top things off Andre Ethier hit a triple short of the cycle to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games. His solo homer in the fourth inning was his 100th home run of his career and extended the Dodger lead to 6-1.

“It feels good,” Ethier said. “That’s part of what they ask me to do: go out and get hits.”

The Dodgers really hit Lowe around pretty badly. He lasted only three innings giving up five runs on nine hits on 78 pitches. The only hits given up after that was Ethier’s solo shot off of Christhian Martinez and a single by Uribe off of Eric O’Flaherty in the eighth.

At the end of it all, the team really seemed to exhale after the game.

“There was a lot going on,” Mattingly admitted. “A lot for our guys to deal with - to answer all those questions. I really feel like it shouldn’t have an effect on us as a club.

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“We want our fans to come out and see us. To do that, we’ve got to go out and put up wins.”

LA Lakers defeat New Orleans Hornets 87-78. Series tied 1-1.

Anaheim Ducks defeat Nashville Predators 6-3. Series tied 2-2.
W: Ray Emery (19 saves/22 shots)
L: Pekka Rinne (23 saves/29 shots)

LA Angels defeat Texas Rangers 4-1.
W: Jered Weaver, 5-0 - 9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 K.
L: Matt Harrison, 3-1 - 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3BB, 5 K, 1 HR.

TONIGHT’S ACTION

San Jose Sharks at LA Kings. Game 4 of first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sharks lead series 2-1. 7:30 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 570 KLAC.

Atlanta Braves at LA Dodgers. 12:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

Boston Red Sox at LA Angels. 7:05 p.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.