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Dodgers unload on Blue Jays L.A.'s tough times take a breather

Bleak skies followed the Los Angeles Dodgers north of the border Tuesday.

With two pitchers slotted for surgery, an offense that had scored five runs or more only twice in the past nine games and a road record of 1-20 in interleague play the last three years, it seemed Los Angeles was going to be under the weather for quite some time. On top of all that, Blue Jays starter Dustin McGowan had held the Dodgers to two runs during his seven-inning outing against them just 11 days earlier.

But less than a half-hour before the first pitch was thrown, the Rogers Centre roof opened. The thunderstorm that pounded the roof during batting practice had passed, and the sun shined down on the visitors.

Three-run innings in the first, second and fourth carried the Dodgers to a 10-1 trouncing of the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series before 22,763.

At least for one night, the quiet bats and road-trip woes appeared to blow over.

Five Dodgers had multihit games as Luis Gonzalez led the offense, going 3 for 4 with a two-run double in the fourth and four RBIs. Juan Pierre's quick feet nabbed him three stolen bases, three runs and two hits. Back in his hometown, Russell Martin hit a solo home run in the sixth inning for the Dodgers, earning Martin an explosion of applause.

Los Angeles right-hander Brad Penny (9-1) was strong again, allowing six hits and one run while striking out five over seven innings. Penny joined Philadelphia's Cole Hamels as the National League's only nine-game winners.

"Last year he was strictly power, power, power," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "This year he's done a good job of pitching. The records are similar, but the style of pitching is not."

"I got away with a lot of mistakes," Penny said. "I've got to be honest, that was probably my worst location this year. I've been fortunate enough to pitch when [my teammates] are hitting well."

Penny, last year's All-Star Game starter, picked an appropriate time to remind his teammates the whole rotation is not depleted. Starter Jason Schmidt heads for the operating room today for exploratory surgery on his right shoulder. Chad Billingsley (4-0) will start in Schmidt's place in Rogers Centre on Thursday.

Reliever Yhency Brazoban, on the disabled list for the second time this season, will also undergo surgery this week for a torn labrum. The Dodgers have had five pitchers on the DL this year.

Toronto's McGowan (3-3) endured his shortest outing of the season, getting ripped for six runs on eight hits over 1 2/3 innings.

"He just didn't have the same movement he did in L.A.," Gonzalez said. "He throws the ball 95, 96, 97 mph, but it just seemed like everything was flat tonight. When you have a guy with that much velocity, leaving balls out there for you to hit like that, you've got to take advantage of it, and we did."

e-mail: jfriedman@buffnews.com

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