Nomar, Lowe drive Dodgers over Fish

Nomar, Lowe lift LA over Florida

LOS ANGELES -- The pitching and clutch-hitting performances continued on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. This time, it was Derek Lowe tossing seven innings of one-run ball, with Nomar Garciaparra driving in three runs for the Dodgers.

Garciaparra played the hero in front of 44,749 when he slugged a two-run home run to left field to give Los Angeles the lead for good in a 4-2 comeback win over Florida.

It was a win that made modern franchise history, or at least tied it. The Dodgers have now won 16 of their last 17 games -- the first time they have done so since August 1953. Back then, the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn.

What makes the 16-1 mark so special this time around is that a 1-13 run preceded it.

"It's amazing that we lost [13 out of 14 and then came back]," said Lowe, who notched his 10th win of the season. "Looking back in history, there's not too many teams to do that."

The Dodgers trailed, 1-0, until Garciaparra put them on the board in the sixth inning. The Dodgers had struggled against Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis until Julio Lugo hit an infield single and Garciaparra followed with his home run. Mike Jacobs had to jump for the high throw at first base, and Lugo reached before Jacobs landed a foot off the bag.

For five innings, Willis had looked like the pitcher who dominated last year. But his next pitch after Lugo's single, a fastball, was up and over the middle of the plate. Even worse, it was to Garciaparra.

"I was just trying to keep the inning alive," said Garciaparra, who finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. "Lucky for us it went out."

Said Lowe: "It was a first-pitch fastball and he does what he does, but it gave us the lead and we held on."

Lowe made sure his team was able to take a lead by holding the Marlins in check. He found himself in a couple of jams, but induced the groundouts to get him out of trouble. The one situation he couldn't escape unscathed came in the third inning with Willis at the plate.

With Miguel Olivo on after a base hit, Lowe induced a groundout by Alfredo Amezaga. But Willis came up and smacked an 0-1 fastball deep into right field. The ball hit the right-field wall and Willis made it to third with an RBI triple and a one-run lead.

At the plate in the Dodgers' half of the inning, Lowe had the chance to do something similar. Lowe sent Willis' pitch into deep right-center field, but the ball was caught at the warning track.

"It goes to show how much power I do have," Lowe said jokingly.

Willis turned to him after the out and asked, "What are you trying to do? One up me?"

Lowe did one up him. He allowed just one run and four hits. Willis, however, was pulled after 6 2/3 innings, as the Dodgers got to him for insurance runs in the seventh.

"Lowe's been very good the last several outings, and tonight was no different," manager Grady Little said. "He took us deep into the ballgame when we needed him to."

Lowe's teammates gave him some breathing room before his night was officially over. Rafael Furcal walked with one out in the seventh and Lugo followed with his third hit of the night. With two on, Garciaparra singled to right to make the score 3-1. One out later, J.D. Drew singled to drive in Drew.

Giovanni Carrara worked two innings, though the ninth was a bit shaky. After a home run by Olivo, Amezaga singled and reached second on a throwing error by third baseman Lugo, but he was stranded there.

After a loss to the Rockies ended the Dodgers' 11-game win streak, Los Angeles has won five in a row and taken a 2 1/2-game lead over San Diego in the National League West. Lowe said he didn't want to be "that guy who lost the second game out there." The team has recognized the feat it has pulled off as it continues to be the hottest team in baseball. In addition, Los Angeles starters have made 14 quality starts in their last 17 games.

"It's a different guy every day," Garciaparra said. "We go out there and now we come in as winners, as a team."

Elizabeth Aguilar is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.