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Actually, it's a good thing when Dodgers start taking Jonathan Broxton for granted

May 21, 2010 |  8:11 am
Oh yeah, and then Jonathan Broxton came in and saved the game.

Pretty much like always. Like you would expect. Almost like it’s automatic.

That’s a pretty great thing if you’re a closer, people just assuming you're going to shut down the other team for the final three outs to secure a victory.

Like he did Thursday against the Padres, finishing off a 4-1 victory in the ninth for his seventh consecutive save.

"I think the more good ones he has, the more confidence he has coming into the game," said Manager Joe Torre. "If I’m on the other side, I don’t want to see him."

Broxton managed Thursday’s save with a touch of revenge, striking out playoff nemesis Matt Stairs for the final out.

There was one on and one out when shortstop Everth Cabrera came up to bat in the ninth. If Cabrera gets on, Stairs comes to the plate representing the tying run.

"I don’t worry about that," Broxton said.

Cabrera grounded out and then Stairs -- who hit a memorable two-run homer off Broxton for a 7-5 Phillies victory in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series -- went down swinging.

After almost five weeks during which the Dodgers struggled to get him in save situations (he blew two of his first three opportunities), he’s picked up seven saves since May 7.

"I’m just going out there and having fun, and we’re winning," Broxton said. "Everybody’s confidence is up."

Broxton, 25, took over as the team’s closer in 2008 when Takashi Saito was injured. Last season was his first in the role full-time.

"Brox grew into this very quickly," Torre said. "When I came here that first year, he sort of filled in. Then last year was his first year as the closer, and I thought he just did a heck of a job for us."

Told of Torre’s appraisal of his learning curve, Broxton just shrugged. Quiet as he is large (6-foot-4, 300 pounds), Broxton shrugs a lot.

"I went out there and didn’t think about closing," he said. "I just thought about getting three outs. It happens to be the last three."

Pretty much like always.

-- Steve Dilbeck