Rafael Furcal has been back in the Dodgers lineup for more than a week, but his bat finally showed up on Sunday. Ignited by Furcal's three-hit afternoon -- including his first home run this season -- the Dodgers pounded out a season-high 17 hits in lavish support of a two-hitter by Clayton Kershaw , adding up to an 8-0 rout of Florida. That gave the Dodgers their first series win in six tries -- since they took two out of three at Pittsburgh on May 9-11. But the big-picture significance was probably in seeing what might happen with Furcal succeeding in the leadoff role, and his teammates were quick to point that out. "That's the key, man," said catcher Dioner Navarro. "We need him. He's coming back from injury, slowly but surely, and he's going to be a big, big help for us." Said Kershaw: "He's a catalyst. Leading off games, he can get a home run, he can go first to third. He's fast. "This is almost an extended spring training for him. He's starting to feel good, and it will only help us." Furcal put his stamp on the game in his second at-bat, driving a 1-0 pitch from Ricky Nolasco (4-1) to right for his first home run since last July 30. It also scored Kershaw, who had singled to open the inning. He also singled in the fourth and drove in a run with his hit in the fifth, and acknowledged a good deal of relief as a result. "When we lose the game, especially when we lose the game with one or two runs, it's a pretty tough day for me," Furcal said. "I cannot sleep, because I think we're losing because of me not getting on base." That was not a problem Sunday, particularly because Furcal's day was backed by three-hit games from Jay Gibbons, who came in batting .190, and Andre Ethier, who was hitting just .132 over his previous 14 games. "I think it felt good for everybody," Gibbons said, "just kind of a sigh that we were able to get some runs for our pitcher for a change. It hasn't happened here very often.
Furcal, Kershaw lead Dodgers to rout of Marlins
The Press-Enterprise | May 30