Rookie James Loney's reward for tying Gil Hodges' 56-year-old Dodgers record of nine runs batted in in a game? A trip back to the bench...

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Rookie James Loney’s reward for tying Gil Hodges’ 56-year-old Dodgers record of nine runs batted in in a game? A trip back to the bench.


“He had a great day, what can you say?” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. “He’ll be ready the next time we need him, I’m sure.”


Subbing for the ailing Nomar Garciaparra, Loney hit two homers, including a grand slam, to lead Los Angeles past Colorado 19-11 in a slugfest at Coors Field that kept the pressure on San Diego and Philadelphia.


The Dodgers started the day one game ahead of Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race and one game behind San Diego in the NL West. Since being brought up from Class AAA Las Vegas, Loney is batting .286 and the Dodgers are 14-5 when he starts at first base.


“They brought me up and told me to be ready at all times,” Loney said. “We’ve had a lot of magic over the last two weeks. Sitting on the bench watching that, I wanted to be a part of that.”


Yet, he swears he won’t be bummed by going back to backing up Garciaparra.


“Whenever they need me,” he said.


Arizona: With fan favorite LF Luis Gonzalez playing his final games as a Diamondback, it figures to be an emotional weekend for the club. The team is preparing a tribute on Sunday, but manager Bob Melvin said it wouldn’t be too lengthy out of respect for the San Diego Padres, who may be playing for a postseason berth that day. “You have to balance the fact that we’re playing a team that could be playing for their lives on Sunday, and you don’t want to make too much of a show of it,” Melvin said.


Cincinnati: RHP Aaron Harang is scheduled to make his final regular-season start Friday at Pittsburgh. Harang is trying to become the first Reds pitcher to lead the league in strikeouts since Jose Rijo did it in 1993. Harang has 204 strikeouts.


Florida: 1B Mike Jacobs has left the team for personal reasons and will not return for the season’s final weekend.


Houston: Manager Phil Garner hasn’t set a starter yet for Saturday in Atlanta, but Chris Sampson seems a strong possibility after pitching 2-2/3 scoreless innings in the 7-6, 15-inning victory Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. It was the first time since Aug. 19, 2004, the Astros won after trailing by five runs.


Los Angeles: RHP Brad Penny left the Dodgers’ game against Colorado after one inning with stiffness in his lower back. The Dodgers said he’s day to day. Penny (16-9), who has struggled since the All-Star break, allowed four hits, including a three-run home run to Matt Holliday, as the Rockies batted around in the first inning.


Philadelphia: 1B Ryan Howard was walked intentionally three times in a game for the second time this season in Wednesday night’s 14-inning victory. His 102 walks this year make him the fourth player in club history with 30 homers, 100 RBI, 100 runs and 100 walks in the same season (Mike Schmidt, Bobby Abreu and Jim Thome).


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