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NO. 13 IS HISTORIC FOR THE DODGERS


NO. 13 IS HISTORIC FOR THE DODGERS
LOS ANGELES

Well, that settled it. No major league team has been as successful at home to start a season than the 2009 Dodgers .

They staked their claim to some Baseball history with Wednesday's convincing 10-3 victory over the struggling Washington Nationals, the Dodgers' 13th consecutive victory at home to start the year.

That eclipsed the Detroit Tigers' 12 straight out of the gate in 1911.

After chipping away early, the Dodgers turned a slim 2-1 advantage into a convincing rout with a seven-run sixth inning that included a two-run double by Manny Ramirez.

To hear the Dodgers tell it, their history-making 13-0 home start is, at its most basic, a nice, potentially tone-setting treat for the home fans.

"I don't think anyone was really focused on the streak to begin with. We're focused on getting wins," said starter Clayton Kershaw, who earned his first victory of the season after giving up one run in five innings. "But it's definitely a cool thing to accomplish."

It's probably too early in the season for the streak to be definitive of anything beyond what it signifies - that these Dodgers are capable of winning a lot of games.

So while Dodgers manager Joe Torre was in favor of letting his players enjoy the streak, he continued to preach perspective.

"I think they feel pretty good that we're playing well," Torre said before the victory, which improved the Dodgers' major league-leading record to 21-8. "But certainly I'm not going to talk about the streak: It's a 162-game season."

"We're not going to get involved in something like, `OK, if you win tonight, that's 13 in a row and now you can exhale, now there's nothing else you need to do,' and you lose six in a row."

But catcher Russell Martin said he wasn't worried about a letdown.

"I think he's just trying to keep us going by saying that," Martin said. "I don't think we changed anything during the streak. We came to the yard ready to play, and we never feel like we're gonna win a game just because we show up and we're hot."

Still, that 1911 Tigers club with which the Dodgers shared history for a day won those first 12 games at home but didn't make the playoffs, finishing 13 1/2 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Athletics.

They cooled off a bit at home, too, finishing the year 51-25 there, meaning they were 39-25 in Detroit after the streak ended.

"It's hopefully a steppingstone to something more important," said Torre after the record was in the books.

The Dodgers' offensive explosion in the sixth inning helped seal the deal. Rafael Furcal, who went 3 for 5 and scored three runs, stroked a bases-loaded single to left field to drive in Martin. With the bases still loaded, Orlando Hudson drew a walk to bring home Casey Blake and make it 4-1.

Right-hander Logan Kensing was brought in to relieve a wild Mike Hinckley and face the ever-dangerous Ramirez with the bases still loaded.

Ramirez smacked a line drive the other way to the right field corner, driving home Mark Loretta and Furcal for the Dodgers' fifth and sixth runs. Ramirez has 20 RBI, seven behind team leader Andre Ethier.

The onslaught continued when James Loney's single to left drove in two more runs and Martin's grounder pushed home Ethier, making it 9-1.

Washington posted two runs in the seventh, but the Dodgers responded when Hudson singled in Blake for another run to keep the Nationals (7-18) at bay.

Kershaw struck out five and walked three while throwing 99 pitches.

* * *

NOTES

An example of the greater patience of Dodgers hitters: they led the league in walks through Tuesday's games.

The Dodgers also matched their longest home winning streak, in 1993.

Reach Mirjam Swanson

at mswanson@PE.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 8, 2009

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