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September 5, 2009

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Garland has dream debut for Dodgers

GROWING up in Southern California, Jon Garland always dreamed of pitching at Dodgers Stadium.

Even in his wildest imagination, he probably didn't think it would happen against a bunch of guys who were his teammates a couple days earlier.

Facing the team that traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers just three days earlier, Garland retired his last 14 batters to lead the NL West leaders to a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night and a split of the four-game series.

When the Diamondbacks got to Los Angeles to begin this seven-game trip, Garland was slated to face Dodgers' knuckleballer Charlie Haeger in the series finale. But the 29-year-old right-hander switched teams during Monday night's game with the deadline for eligibility in the postseason looming.

"I think it was more uncomfortable because I was in that other dugout the first game and then came over," Garland said. "I mean, if it would have been like a week or two weeks down the road, it would have been a little bit different. But the fact that it was in the same series, there was a little extra the first few innings."

Garland (9-11) gave up two runs and five hits over seven innings, including a solo homer by Stephen Drew. The right-hander, coming off back-to-back wins against Houston ?? including a seven-inning scoreless stint last Saturday ?? has won three consecutive starts after going 1-9 with a 4.50 ERA over his previous 16 outings.

He struck out six, retired one batter on a line drive, two more on popups, and got 12 of his outs on ground balls ?? including double plays that ended the first and second innings.

"Being able to go out there and give this team a good quality start, coming out of the game with the lead and ending up winning it, I couldn't have asked for much more," Garland said. "Once I finally calmed down and got my feet underneath me, the ball started moving a little bit more and I was getting more ground balls and we got off a nice little run."

Manny Ramirez homered and newly acquired Ronnie Belliard had three RBIs, including a run-scoring single.

In other National League games, it was: Brewers 4, Cardinals 3; Mets 8, Rockies 3; Phillies 2, Giants 1; and Marlins 8, Braves 3.

In the American League, it was: Red Sox 6, Rays 3; Yankees 10, Blue Jays 5; Tigers 4, Indians 3 (10 innings); and Mariners 7, Athletics 4.

In an inter-league game, it was: White Sox 5, Cubs 0.


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