Dodgers 8, Nationals 3

If Ted Lilly let every home run he’s given up during his 12-year
career bother him, he probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as he
has in the big leagues. Nor would his overall record be 16 games
over .500.

Lilly overcame a rough start to win his second straight outing
with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who capitalized on two Washington
errors during a four-run first in an 8-3 victory over the Nationals
on Sunday.

”When you do get a four-run lead that early in the game, it is
nice and you want to keep it there. I certainly don’t want to go
back out there and give up two in the next inning,” Lilly said.
”But one thing I’ve learned is that regardless of how good you
are, things aren’t always going to go your way.”

Lilly (5-8) pitched six innings in his 300th major league game
and 275th start, allowing three runs and six hits, including
back-to-back homers by Michael Morse and Justin Maxwell in the
second. The left-hander struck out six and walked none while
winning consecutive starts for the first time this season.

”It was fun,” said Lilly, who was 3-8 in 18 games with the
Cubs before he was traded to Los Angeles on July 31 with second
baseman Ryan Theriot. ”I had a good time – not only watching the
guys swing the bat, but I thought we played really good
defense.”

Jason Marquis (0-4) returned to Washington’s rotation after
spending 3 1/2 months on the disabled list because of bone chips in
his elbow that required surgery on May 14. The right-hander was
charged with five runs – two earned – and five hits in four-plus
innings.

”I’ve never experienced something of that length,” said
Marquis, who was on the DL for the first time in his career after
averaging 32 starts over the previous six seasons. ”Physically I
felt fine, but I’ve still got to go out there and make
pitches.”

Before the game, the Dodgers purchased the contract of
outfielder-first baseman Jay Gibbons from Triple-A Albuquerque and
designated three-time All-Star outfielder Garret Anderson for
assignment. Gibbons, hitting for Lilly, singled home a run in the
sixth, giving Los Angeles a 6-3 lead.

It was Gibbons’ first plate appearance in the majors since Aug.
12, 2007, with the Baltimore Orioles, when he struck out as a pinch
hitter against Boston’s Manny Delcarmen.

”I remember the at-bat,” Gibbons said with a grin. ”I didn’t
think that would be my last at-bat in the big leagues before today
– although I was starting to doubt it a little bit lately. But it
was so much fun just getting out there again and taking it all in.
And to top it off by being able to help the team was a plus.”

Gibbons, one of several players implicated in the Mitchell
Report on performance-enhancing drugs in December 2007, received a
15-game suspension a week before the report was released. He was
later granted amnesty as part of an agreement between the players’
union and the owners for more frequent testing and increased
authority for the major league drug program’s outside
administrator.

Matt Kemp, whose Dodger Stadium locker was adjacent to
Anderson’s, struck out all four times up, equaling a career worst.
He declined to discuss Anderson’s departure.

”Anytime you lose a player like Garret, people are going to
miss him,” said first baseman James Loney, whose locker was on the
other side of Anderson’s space. ”We looked up to Garret as a
mentor sometimes and as a friend, too. It wasn’t about baseball all
the time, so it was definitely a joy to have him around.”

Scott Podsednik drew a leadoff walk in the first inning and
stole second before Marquis misplayed Theriot’s sacrifice for an
error. Second baseman Alberto Gonzalez then mishandled the throw
from catcher Wil Nieves on a steal by Theriot for an error that
allowed Podsednik to dash home. Loney followed a walk to Andre
Ethier with an RBI single, and Jamey Carroll capped the rally with
a two-run single.

”There was a little anxiousness, but nothing out of the
ordinary,” Marquis said. ”I was excited to be back. I just wish
it turned out a little better and that I was able to get out of
that first inning unscathed.”

The Nationals got back two of the runs in the second on Morse’s
eighth homer and Maxwell’s second, which brought the total allowed
this season by Lilly to 22. Last Tuesday, Lilly allowed just two
hits over seven innings and retired his last 20 batters in a 2-1
win against San Diego.

Lilly has surrendered at least 20 homers in eight straight
seasons, including 2008 with the Chicago Cubs, when he gave up a
career-worst 32 and still finished 17-9.

”It’s inevitable that you’re going to be put in situations that
you’d rather not be in,” he said. ”But if you want to be a good
pitcher in this league, you’re going to have to battle through
adversity.”

NOTES: The Dodgers could do no better than a split of their
six-game season series with the Nationals, who at 49-63 have the
worst record in the NL East. … The only other time this season
that a Dodgers opponent hit back-to-back homers was May 19, when
San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley connected against
reliever Ramon Troncoso in a 10-5 victory at Los Angeles that
snapped the Dodgers’ nine-game winning streak. … The Nationals
have hit back-to-back homers on three occasions this season, each
time with two different players. .. The Nationals optioned RHP
Collin Balester to Triple-A Syracuse after the game.