Lowe throws shutout at Padres

Lowe throws shutout at Padres

LOS ANGELES -- On a night when the Dodgers celebrated the legacy of Jackie Robinson, Derek Lowe and Milton Bradley turned in performances that the Hall of Famer would've been proud of.

Lowe allowed just three soft singles in a gem of a shutout, while Bradley homered and scored three runs as the Dodgers breezed by the Padres, 4-0.

"I think tonight pretty much boiled down to way too much of Derek Lowe," manager Jim Tracy said. "He was fantastic."

Lowe struck out five and walked only one, needing only 108 pitches to finish off his second career shutout -- and his first win as a Dodger.

"We're 7-2 and the two games we lost were games I pitched," Lowe said. "I was just tired of getting hit."

Catcher Jason Phillips worked with Lowe to devise a game plan that kept the Padres off balance from start to finish. Lowe (1-1) retired the first eight and the last four hitters he faced.

"The first few innings we kept him off the sinker, because the last few games guys were stepping up in the box against him," Phillips said. "Then, in the middle innings we were able to jam a lot of guys with his fastball."

That, combined with the fact that Lowe's trademark sinker was falling off the table as well as it ever has, spelled disaster for the Padres.

"[Except for] two at-bats, I don't believe they had a chance to get a ball in the air," Tracy said. "And when you see the way the balls were hit in the infield, they weren't hit sharply."

The first hit Lowe allowed was a single to Padres pitcher Woody Williams (0-1). By the time San Diego got another man on base two innings later, the Dodgers had put the game out of reach.

Bradley led off the second with a walk and scored when Lowe lined a single off first baseman Phil Nevin's glove. Then, in the third, Jeff Kent and Bradley clubbed back-to-back homers off Williams to open a 3-0 advantage.

"We only needed one run to win the way [Lowe] was pitching today," Bradley said.

Bradley and Lowe came through one more time nonetheless, as Bradley singled to lead off the fith, advanced to third base on a walk and a Phillips single and came home when Lowe grounded sharply into a fielder's choice with one out.

Bradley, his locker decorated with balloons to celebrate his 27th birthday, not only finished with his first three-run game at Dodger Stadium but also had the honor of escorting Rachel Robinson during the pregame ceremony honoring Jackie Robinson. The moment stuck with Bradley, even during the game.

"It was definitely a special night," Bradley said. "I'm not really a big believer in ghosts and things like that, but I believe his spirit was out there with me a little bit tonight."

Tracy agreed that Bradley played an inspired game -- making him the latest in a series of Dodgers who've taken starring roles in a game.

"He's had several good games thus far, and he played center field flawlessly," Tracy said. "This ballclub does things as a team, and that's the way you breed continuity. It's one guy one night, another guy the next night."

And although it was a chilly night early in the season, Tracy said there was never any doubt that Lowe could finish what he started Friday.

"When I see a guy that's dominating an opponent like that," Tracy said, "that's his game to finish."

Mark Thoma is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.