Rox, Francis aim to snap losing streak in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Fresh off a sweep of their biggest rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to maintain their momentum Monday when they face the Colorado Rockies in their home opener.

Since opening this season with two straight losses at Milwaukee, the Dodgers (4-2) have won four in a row, including an impressive three-game sweep over the weekend at San Francisco.

That should make for an even more festive atmosphere in the first game at Chavez Ravine, where the Dodgers were 49-32 last season. First baseman Nomar Garciaparra will receive his NL Comeback Player of the Year award before the game, and former Los Angeles second baseman Steve Sax, the 1982 NL Rookie of the Year, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

New Dodgers ace Jason Schmidt (1-0, 1.80 ERA) makes his second start of the season and first at home since signing a three-year, $47 million contract during the offseason.

"That'll be exciting - I'm excited to go out there wherever it's at," Schmidt said. "For me, it's about getting on the mound. I've been doing it enough that I'm used to it now. When I put the blue shoes on for the first time, that took some getting used to."

Schmidt, who spent the past six seasons with the rival Giants, was sharp in his Dodgers debut Wednesday at Milwaukee. He allowed one run and three hits over five innings in a 5-4 victory.

Schmidt is 12-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 25 career starts against Colorado (3-3).

Luis Gonzalez, another of Los Angeles' offseason acquisitions, hit his first two home runs of the season and Randy Wolf outpitched Giants ace Barry Zito in a 10-4 victory Sunday to complete the sweep.

"I'm going to get a lot of opportunities with guys in front of me getting on base a lot," said Gonzalez, who played for the Arizona Diamondbacks the past eight seasons. "For me, it's a matter of relaxing and getting in a groove. When you come to a new organization, sometimes you try to do too much, even though everyone knows you."

The Dodgers amassed 32 hits and outscored the Giants 16-7 during the sweep.

"Things happened right for us at the right time out there," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "I'm glad to get out of here in the position we're in."

The Rockies will be playing their third opener. They began the season at home against Arizona, and faced the Padres over the weekend in San Diego's first home games of the season.

After winning three straight, Colorado was cooled off with back-to-back one-run losses to the Padres over the weekend.

Aaron Cook became the latest Rockies starter to pitch effectively, as he allowed one run and five hits over nine innings Sunday before Colorado lost 2-1 in 10 innings.

The Colorado rotation is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA through six games.

Left-hander Jeff Francis (0-0, 3.00) was very good in his season debut Tuesday against Arizona, yielding two runs and seven hits in six innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five career starts versus Los Angeles.

"Obviously they've got a good squad," Francis said of the Dodgers. "I think they've made some additions that make them better this year than they were last year. Definitely a lineup you have to watch out for."

The Dodgers went 15-4 against the Rockies in 2006, winning eight of 10 at home.