Dodgers right-hander Brad Penny struck out a career-high 14 batters, and collected a two-run single, in the Dodgers' 6-1 victory over the Marlins on Monday night.
Penny, the former Marlin and winner of two World Series games in 2003, scattered five hits and didn't walk a batter. Of his 110 pitches, 76 were strikes.
The Marlins got on the board on Dan Uggla's sixth home run, a solo shot to left off reliever Rudy Seanez, another former Marlins right-hander.
"We knew he was going to challenge us with fastballs, and I think the last three or four innings, he might have just thrown four or five curveballs," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But his command with his fastball was good, and it was hard to lay off of those pitches with that 95 [miles per hour] up in the strike zone. It looks good to hit, but not too many guys can catch up with it. He stayed with it, and we had a tough night facing him. You've got to give him a lot of credit."
Jeff Kent added a solo home run off Ricky Nolasco (1-1). Penny improved to 4-0 while lowering his ERA to 1.39. The 14 strikeouts for Penny surpassed the 13 he logged for the Marlins on June 26, 2001, against the Montreal Expos.
Mike Jacobs, battling through a sore right thumb since April 20, struck out all three times. In his final at-bat, in the seventh inning, he flung the bat twice during swings and misses. Both times the bat landed near first baseman Nomar Garciaparra.
Jacobs was pinch-hit for in the ninth inning. With the Dodgers starting lefty Mark Hendrickson on Tuesday, it would be a likely day to give Jacobs a breather.
Jacobs has been wearing a small protective pad on his right thumb, which gets sore from time to time.
"Sometimes it gets tough to just hold onto the bat," said Jacobs of wearing the thumb support. "When it gets sore, it gets sore."
Jacobs has started four straight games, and he's struck out six of his last eight at-bats.
Starting for the second time this season, Nolasco gave up six runs on 10 hits in six innings. Still building back up after being on the disabled list with a sore elbow, the right-hander logged 100 pitches.
"I wasn't able to get the ball down when I needed to, and they made me pay for it," said Nolasco, whose tough pitching line probably didn't accurately reflect his performance.
Working six innings was what Nolasco was taking out of the outing, considering he could have exited in the fourth when the Dodgers batted around.
"I just told myself, I very well could be out of this game right now," Nolasco said. "I was just going to keep battling and staying in the game as long as I could. I knew my next [at-bat], I was going to get pinch-hit for, and I went out trying to keep putting up zeros."
In his tenure with the Marlins, Penny logged 570 strikeouts, which is fifth in team history. The right-hander, who was traded to Los Angeles in July of 2004, fanned nine of the first 11 he faced before Miguel Cabrera reached on an infield single.
Through five innings, Penny compiled 12 strikeouts. Entering the game, his high was four in his first six starts.
"He threw fastballs and we wouldn't lay off of them," said Josh Willingham, who had one of the five hits Penny allowed. "He was throwing them up. It looks good, and of course he was throwing fairly hard. He was just elevating his fastball, and we couldn't hit it. We kept swinging at it."
Kent opened the second inning with a home run to left field, a 386-foot drive on the first pitch. And the Dodgers pushed across a second run in the inning on Andy LaRoche's sacrifice fly to right field.
With Penny dominating, the Dodgers broke the game open with four runs in the fourth inning, grabbing a 6-0 advantage. Kent started the rally with a double, and he scored on Russell Martin's triple. LaRoche delivered an RBI single, and Penny added a two-run single through a drawn-in infield.
A positive to be taken from the lopsided loss was the two scoreless-innings performance of reliever Jorge Julio, who saw his first action since April 17 at Houston. Julio had been on the disabled list with a right calf strain.
In two innings, the hard-throwing right-hander logged two strikeouts, and the only runner to reach was LaRoche, who was hit by a pitch.
"I take a lot of things out of this game," Gonzalez said. "Ricky going six innings, and getting his pitch count to 100. And getting better those last couple of innings. The breaking ball was sharp.
"And also, Julio. He gave us a couple of good solid innings and seeing his fastball commanded and also his breaking pitch. It's good to see those things."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.