LOS ANGELES - Rafael Furcal was determined to avoid off-season surgery on a sprained left ankle that hampered him throughout last year. Philip Rivers Jersey
. Now that hes healthy again, hes doing all the things the Los Angeles Dodgers expect from their versatile leadoff hitter. Furcal went 4-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, James Loney extended his season-opening hitting streak to 15 games and the Dodgers beat the mistake-prone Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 Wednesday night. "Last year I was hurt in spring training and I never could get fine because I played every day on my bad ankle," Furcal said after his 16th career four-hit game. "I almost played on one foot, so I couldnt stay on the pitches at home plate so good and I couldnt run like I used to. But when youre 100 per cent healthy, you can do anything on the field. The month I played in the Dominican Republic helped me out a lot." Brad Penny (2-2) allowed an unearned run and five hits over 5 2-3 innings, striking out four and walking none. The right-hander, who gave up four runs in an inning in each of his previous two starts - both losses - breezed to the win after his teammates scored four runs in the first inning and two more in the second. Paul Maholm (0-2) gave up six runs - four earned - and 11 hits over five innings after pitching 5 1-3 scoreless innings last Friday at San Diego. The left-hander is 0-3 against the Dodgers, allowing 17 earned runs over 23 innings in four career starts against them. Loney, the only player other that Pittsburghs Nate McLouth to hit safely in his teams first 15 games, had a pair of sacrifice flies before singling in the seventh off former Dodger Franquelis Osoria to extend his streak. "The advantage we have with James is the fact that he does use the whole field," manager Joe Torre said. "Its a lot tougher to pitch to those people when they dont really give you any part of the plate. "I mean, look at his last at-bat. Were up by seven, two outs in the eighth, certainly the at-bat wasnt important - but it was to him. And if we can just keep that intensity, I think were going to have some run." McLouth singled in the sixth to keep his streak going. Its the longest by a Pirates player from the start of a season since Al Olivers 18-game spree in 1972. Dodgers third baseman Nomar Garciaparra was activated from the disabled list after batting practice. He went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in his season debut and was charged with an error on Brian Bixlers seventh-inning grounder. Garciaparra was injured in an exhibition game against St. Louis on March 8, when he was hit on the right wrist by a pitch. It was the second time in his three seasons with the Dodgers that he started out on the DL. "I was glad I was able to get in there and get one under my belt," Garciaparra said. "I didnt really feel any pain out there, which is good. But sometimes it comes down to how it reacts after that." Each of the Dodgers first four batters in the opening inning singled and scored. Matt Kemp and cleanup hitter Jeff Kent had run-scoring hits, Loney hit a sacrifice fly and Juan Pierre beat out a bunt for a hit that drove in Kent. During the rally, Kemp took a wide turn rounding second on Kents hit and was caught in a rundown after falling down. But third baseman Jose Bautista whiffed on the tag after getting the relay toss from shortstop Bixler, and Kemp scrambled to the bag safely. "It was a weird inning. Everything went right for them and we couldnt get over the hump," Pirates manager John Russell said. "They put two perfect bunts down on the first base side, then we almost had an out on the rundown, but Jose missed the tag and it ended up costing us another run." Bautista was charged with an error, extending the Pirates streak to 14 consecutive games with at least one defensive miscue. Its the longest such streak by the franchise since a 15-game stretch June 2-16, 1946. Last season, the Pirates set club records for fewest errors (83), consecutive errorless games (11) and most games in a season without an error (99). The Pirates also made a monumental gaffe on the basepaths. Xavier Nady foolishly tried to score from second base on Ronny Paulinos two-out single to right in the second inning with his team four runs down, and got thrown out by Kemp on the fly after ignoring third base coach Tony Beasleys stop sign. It didnt end there for the Bad News Bucs. One inning later, Pittsburgh first baseman Adam LaRoche began charging in anticipation of a possible sacrifice bunt by Penny before catching a pickoff toss from Maholm, who was called for a balk by umpire Tim Timmons as Garciaparra trotted to second. Notes: None of Pittsburghs major league-leading 21 errors have been committed by outfielders. .. RHP Ramon Troncoso was optioned to triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Garciaparra. Joe Flacco Jersey
. Its the prognosis -- or lack of one -- thats a source of worry now. And suddenly, the Indiana Pacers may be even more of a threat. Ben Roethlisberger Jersey
. Michael Morse went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored for the Nationals, who started an 11-game road trip on Thursday. Zimmermann (3-6) gave up one run on six hits to pick up his first win since May 1. Von Miller Jersey
. The blue-line stands out on a pair of rosters released Friday by Hockey Canada. Forty-one forwards and defencemen were invited to the Canadian junior mens summer camp roster in St. Denarius Moore Jersey
.Y. (AP) - Its an old adage in sports that if you dont believe you can and will win, no matter the odds, you might as well not play. Brian Cushing Jersey
. If thats the case the Denver Nuggets hope to turn their Western Conference quarterfinals set with the Los Angeles Lakers into a best-of-three affair by holding serve in Game 4 at the Pepsi Center.VALMALENCO, Italy -- Canadas Dominique Maltais captured her second consecutive snowboardcross Crystal Globe on Friday in a battle that went down to the seasons final race. Maltais, from Petite-Riviere-St-Francois, Que., edged out Canadian teammate Maelle Ricker and Bulgarian Alexandra Jakova to take the season title, the third of her career. "Im really happy that the season is over and to come back home with the Crystal Globe," said Maltais, who was fourth in Fridays race to clinch the title. "I won my last two races and I really wanted to give it all for the grand finale. "Im happy to be in one piece and its a good reward to have the Globe with me" The Globe capped an outstanding season that saw Maltais win the X-Games title and achieve four podiums on the World Cup circuit, including a victory at the Blue Mountain World Cup. Ricker, a two-time Crystal Globe champion and Olympic gold medallist from North Vancouver, B.C., made an imprressive comeback with a late season charge that came up just short of the Globe. Antonio Brown Jersey
. Ricker placed second behind Maltais in the standings with a fifth place finish Friday. "I had two goals for the day, to give 110 per cent and to be happy with the outcome whether I won the race and Globe or not. "I thought to myself, What would Sarah (Burke) do?" Ricker said, in reference to the Canadian freestyle skier who died Jan. 19. "She would have given it her best, and smiled like she always did and she probably would have spun a 1080 on the last jump." The stage was set for the ideal finale, with the Crystal Globe coming down to the last turn of Fridays course. "Its these situations that make the sport what it is and why SBX is so fun to watch," Ricker said. "Im proud of Dom for her fantastic season and Im happy to see the young girls set up along side of us. The next two years are going to be great." ' ' '