- Associated Press - Sunday, August 8, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) — If Ted Lilly let every home run he’s given up during his 12-year career bother him, he probably wouldn’t have lasted as long as he has in the big leagues. Nor would his overall record be 16 games over .500.

Lilly overcame a rough start to win his second straight outing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who capitalized on two Washington errors during a four-run first in an 8-3 victory over the Nationals on Sunday.

“When you do get a four-run lead that early in the game, it is nice and you want to keep it there. I certainly don’t want to go back out there and give up two in the next inning,” Lilly said. “But one thing I’ve learned is that regardless of how good you are, things aren’t always going to go your way.”

Lilly (5-8) pitched six innings in his 300th major league game and 275th start, allowing three runs and six hits, including back-to-back homers by Michael Morse and Justin Maxwell in the second. The left-hander struck out six and walked none while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season.

“It was fun,” said Lilly, who was 3-8 in 18 games with the Cubs before he was traded to Los Angeles on July 31 with second baseman Ryan Theriot. “I had a good time — not only watching the guys swing the bat, but I thought we played really good defense.”

Jason Marquis (0-4) returned to Washington’s rotation after spending 3½ months on the disabled list because of bone chips in his elbow that required surgery on May 14. The right-hander was charged with five runs — two earned — and five hits in four-plus innings.

“I’ve never experienced something of that length,” said Marquis, who was on the DL for the first time in his career after averaging 32 starts over the previous six seasons. “Physically I felt fine, but I’ve still got to go out there and make pitches.”

Before the game, the Dodgers purchased the contract of outfielder-first baseman Jay Gibbons from Triple-A Albuquerque and designated three-time All-Star outfielder Garret Anderson for assignment. Gibbons, hitting for Lilly, singled home a run in the sixth, giving Los Angeles a 6-3 lead.

It was Gibbons’ first plate appearance in the majors since Aug. 12, 2007, with the Baltimore Orioles, when he struck out as a pinch hitter against Boston’s Manny Delcarmen.

“I remember the at-bat,” Gibbons said with a grin. “I didn’t think that would be my last at-bat in the big leagues before today — although I was starting to doubt it a little bit lately. But it was so much fun just getting out there again and taking it all in. And to top it off by being able to help the team was a plus.”

Gibbons, one of several players implicated in the Mitchell Report on performance-enhancing drugs in December 2007, received a 15-game suspension a week before the report was released. He was later granted amnesty as part of an agreement between the players’ union and the owners for more frequent testing and increased authority for the major league drug program’s outside administrator.

Matt Kemp, whose Dodger Stadium locker was adjacent to Anderson’s, struck out all four times up, equaling a career worst. He declined to discuss Anderson’s departure.

“Anytime you lose a player like Garret, people are going to miss him,” said first baseman James Loney, whose locker was on the other side of Anderson’s space. “We looked up to Garret as a mentor sometimes and as a friend, too. It wasn’t about baseball all the time, so it was definitely a joy to have him around.”

Scott Podsednik drew a leadoff walk in the first inning and stole second before Marquis misplayed Theriot’s sacrifice for an error. Second baseman Alberto Gonzalez then mishandled the throw from catcher Wil Nieves on a steal by Theriot for an error that allowed Podsednik to dash home. Loney followed a walk to Andre Ethier with an RBI single, and Jamey Carroll capped the rally with a two-run single.

“There was a little anxiousness, but nothing out of the ordinary,” Marquis said. “I was excited to be back. I just wish it turned out a little better and that I was able to get out of that first inning unscathed.”

The Nationals got back two of the runs in the second on Morse’s eighth homer and Maxwell’s second, which brought the total allowed this season by Lilly to 22. Last Tuesday, Lilly allowed just two hits over seven innings and retired his last 20 batters in a 2-1 win against San Diego.

Lilly has surrendered at least 20 homers in eight straight seasons, including 2008 with the Chicago Cubs, when he gave up a career-worst 32 and still finished 17-9.

“It’s inevitable that you’re going to be put in situations that you’d rather not be in,” he said. “But if you want to be a good pitcher in this league, you’re going to have to battle through adversity.”

NOTES: The Dodgers could do no better than a split of their six-game season series with the Nationals, who at 49-63 have the worst record in the NL East. … The only other time this season that a Dodgers opponent hit back-to-back homers was May 19, when San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley connected against reliever Ramon Troncoso in a 10-5 victory at Los Angeles that snapped the Dodgers‘ nine-game winning streak. … The Nationals have hit back-to-back homers on three occasions this season, each time with two different players. .. The Nationals optioned RHP Collin Balester to Triple-A Syracuse after the game.

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