LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers have never felt more comfortable at home in their 48 years at Chavez Ravine.
The Dodgers tied the modern major league record for the longest home winning streak to start a season, improving to 12-0 as Jeff Weaver pitched them to a 3-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
“I think anytime you put a streak together like this, it’s a surprise — that things keep going your way,” Torre said. “But the thing that doesn’t surprise me is that we’ve been going out there every day and grinding it as a team. And that’s what’s most important to me. I mean, baseball’s full of streaks. You just hope the good ones outnumber the bad ones.”
The defending NL West champions now share the mark with the 1911 Detroit Tigers, who accomplished the feat at Bennett Park the year before they moved into Tiger Stadium.
“I’m glad it’s finally something that happened before I was born,” the 68-year-old Torre joked. “It’s something to admire when you look back on something, and know that there you are. You’re in the record books and you were a part of that team that did it. But while you’re involved in it, you don’t want it to stop there. You hope you can extend it beyond that. But you don’t live for the streak.”
The Dodgers’ sixth straight victory made them a major league-best 20-8 overall, their best start since the 1983 club started out 21-7 under Tommy Lasorda. That same year, the Atlanta Braves started out 10-0 at home under Torre.
“I think this is a fair ballpark, so we can keep thinking small (ball),” Torre said. “If you have ballparks that are more appealing to the home run, you tend to get outside yourself a little bit. Even though players would much rather hit a home run, they understand that when you think small, big things happen. That’s what we preach, anyway.”
Weaver (1-0) allowed a run and five hits over five innings and struck out six in his first start in the big leagues since Sept. 28, 2007 with the Seattle Mariners. The 10-year veteran right-hander outpitched Max Scherzer (0-3), who is 0-7 through his first 12 big league starts despite a respectable 3.16 ERA.
Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save in nine attempts.
Scherzer allowed three runs and four hits over six innings on the first anniversary of his maiden big league start, when he gave up five runs in an 11-4 loss to Philadelphia. He has allowed more than three earned runs in only one of his 11 starts since then.
“I don’t go out there and try to create a win. I just need to go out there and do the best I can. That’s how I’ll get my first win,” Scherzer said. “I just want to give the team a chance. I’ve really worked hard, trying to develop consistency on every pitch. I didn’t give up any runs after the first inning, so at least I finished strong. That’s a good sign.”
Andre Ethier opened the scoring with an RBI single after an intentional walk to Manny Ramirez, who scored on James Loney’s groundout.
Russell Martin reached on a throwing error by shortstop Josh Wilson, allowing Ethier to score the third run.
Weaver threw 85 pitches, worked with runners on base in each of the first five innings and gave up his only run in the third on a wild pitch. He was bailed out twice by three-time Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson, who frustrated his former team with run-saving diving catches against Mark Reynolds and Scherzer in the first and fourth to end both innings.
Weaver, who earned a World Series ring in 2006 with St. Louis after winning the Game 5 clincher against Detroit, signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers on Feb. 9 and was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on April 30 to begin his second stint with the Dodgers.
He made his only relief appearance that same night, pitching four scoreless innings before Torre inserted him into the rotation and demoted control-plagued rookie James McDonald to the bullpen.
Notes: The Dodgers have scored in the first inning in eight of their 12 home games — totaling 14 runs and 22 hits while sending 63 batters to the plate. They have outscored their opponents 78-29 at home altogether. ... Torre and fellow Brooklynite Dom DeLuise, the beloved comedic actor who died Tuesday at age 75 in Santa Monica, Calif., both took part in an August 1998 PBS special called “The Italian Americans II: A Beautiful Song.” In it, they shared vivid memories of Italian family life.