Dodgers 6, Braves 1

If ever there was a team that should have been distracted, it

was the Los Angeles Dodgers. That wasn’t the case against Atlanta’s

Derek Lowe, who threw way too many pitches to their liking on

Wednesday night.

Lowe started for the Braves on three days’ rest and lasted three

innings, giving up five runs and nine hits in a 6-1 loss to Los

Angeles. His shaky performance against his former team came hours

after Major League Baseball announced it was assuming control of an

embattled Dodgers franchise increasingly paralyzed by its owners’

bitter divorce.

It was Lowe’s shortest outing since he pitched three innings

against the Mets on Sept. 16 – another occasion in which he worked

on short rest.

”Tonight had nothing to do with how many days’ rest. I just

never got into a good rhythm,” Lowe said. ”I never at any point

really felt the game was going to spiral out of control. But it

just kept adding up. They did a lot of taking (pitches), and it

beat me up. I wasn’t very sharp and they took advantage of

it.”

Lowe is one of three ex-Dodgers who played for Los Angeles while

Frank McCourt was the owner, along with backup catcher David Ross

and reliever George Sherrill. Commissioner Bud Selig told McCourt

he will appoint a MLB representative to oversee all aspects of the

business and the day-to-day operations of the club.

”We were getting asked questions all last year about, `Does it

affect you? Does it affect you?’ And we always said: `No, not if we

don’t have to answer questions,”’ Sherrill said. ”But I don’t

know much about it, except that the divorce is already done and

they were kind of going back and forth with the mediator to see who

gets to own the team.

”Bud said he was going to name somebody to oversee day-to-day

stuff,” Sherrill added. ”What’s important is whatever moves them

forward, whatever gets them through it, whatever has to happen to

just move past it all. No matter who takes over, no matter oversees

what, just as long as it’s over and done with – whenever that may

be.”

Ross, whose only full season with the Dodgers coincided with

McCourt’s first season as owner in 2004, also had more than a

casual interest in the day’s events.

”You hate to see things go south in anything in baseball,

especially a team that you’ve been a part of and have great respect

for,” Ross said. ”They’ve kind of fallen on hard times because of

some mistakes that were made by the people on top. But I think

(MLB) will get under control. Baseball’s a strong game. And the

organization, the Dodger name, and the city of Los Angeles is so

big that I don’t think they’ll let it keep going south.”

Juan Uribe broke out of a severe slump with four RBIs in the

first two innings, helping Dodgers manager Don Mattingly celebrate

his 50th birthday in style. Andre Ethier had three hits, including

his 100th career homer, to extend his hitting streak to a major

league-best 17 games – the longest by a Dodger since Matt Kemp’s

19-game stretch in 2008.

Jon Garland (1-1) pitched a four-hitter in his second start of

the season after missing the first 13 games with a strained oblique

muscle. Garland threw 108 pitches and gave up his only run in the

third on Martin Prado’s sacrifice fly.

It was Garland’s 11th career complete game and first since Aug.

2, 2009, when he tossed a seven-hitter for Arizona in a 5-2 win at

the New York Mets. The two-time All-Star signed a one-year, $5

million contract with Los Angeles over the winter after going 14-12

with a 3.47 ERA last year with San Diego.

”We were popping some balls up early and he was getting quick

outs. And when you do that, you’re able to go nine,” Braves

catcher Brian McCann said. ”He was able to throw all four of his

pitches for strikes and mixed them up real well.”

The Braves, who have allowed 19 first-inning runs in their first

19 games, fell behind 2-0 on Uribe’s two-out single. The hit scored

Casey Blake and Ethier, who reached on a ground-rule double into

the left-field corner.

Lowe walked Garland with one out in the second and gave up a

hit-and-run single by Blake before Ethier drove in the Dodgers’

third run with a broken-bat single. Kemp reached on an infield hit

and Uribe made it 5-0 with another two-run single.

Uribe came in batting .183 with just three RBIs in his first 60

at-bats.

”I threw way too many noncompetitive pitches. And walking the

pitcher with one out just led to disaster,” Lowe said. ”Both of

Uribe’s hits came on hanging breaking balls. If you drew a circle,

they’d probably both be in the same spot. Sometimes you get your

brains beat in, that’s what happens. Garland pitched a great game,

so the combination wasn’t very good.”

Ethier, who hit a career-high 31 homers in 2009 and dropped off

to 28 last season, got his second of the year with two out in the

fourth against Christhian Martinez. It ended a stretch of 53 2-3

innings by Braves pitchers without allowing a home run.

NOTES: The game was played in a crisp 2 hours and 17 minutes.

… The Dodgers are 602-551 in the regular season since McCourt and

then-wife Jamie bought the club from the Fox Group on Jan. 29,

2004, marking the third ownership change for a franchise that has

been in business since 1890. They made it to the NL championship

series in 2008 and 2009 after obtaining Manny Ramirez from Boston,

but still owe the retired slugger $8.3 million this season and the

same amount in each of the next two.