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Gagne, Grissom save key win for Dodgers

9/17/2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- As soon as Rich Aurilia hit the ball, Marquis
Grissom
turned around and raced for the center-field wall. He got
there and leaped high enough to prevent a home run in the ninth
inning.

Grissom's defense and a grand slam by Brian Jordan helped the
Los Angeles Dodgers hold off San Francisco 7-6 Monday night and tie
the Giants for the NL wild-card lead.

''I would beg to differ if you could find me a better catch in a
more critical situation than was made by Marquis Grissom to start
the ninth inning,'' Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. ''That was as
good a major league game as you would ever want to witness.''

Grissom, a four-time Gold Glove winner in the mid-1990s,
credited his catch to practicing similar plays for the last couple
of years.

''I just looked at it as I made a good catch,'' said Grissom,
who was kissed by exuberant team chairman Bob Daly in the
clubhouse. ''That's why I wasn't so excited about it because we've
still got two more big hitters to get out.''

After Aurilia was retired, Eric Gagne still had to face Jeff
Kent
, Barry Bonds and Benito Santiago.

Gagne struck out Kent, and the Dodgers intentionally walked
Bonds with nobody on -- putting the tying run at first. Bonds, who
hit his 44th homer in the seventh to cut it to 6-5, was stranded
when Santiago struck out.

''The ball doesn't carry great here at night, it never has. But
when you hit a 95-96 mph fastball and hit it square, it's got a
good chance,'' Aurilia said. ''I didn't know he had it until he
threw it in. He made a great play.''

Gagne got five outs for his 49th save in 53 chances.

''That was the play of the day and it saved us,'' Jordan said of
Grissom's grab.

Hideo Nomo (15-6) gave up three runs on five hits in six innings
to win his sixth consecutive decision in a span of 11 starts. He
struck out six and walked four.

The right-hander has been especially effective against the
Giants this season, with a 4-1 record in six starts.

''He had somewhat of a slow start to get going, then the Jordan
grand slam takes place and then all of a sudden, you watch this guy
pitch and he sends the message to his teammates, 'Hey, you got me
the lead. They're not going to score anymore off me,''' Tracy said.

The Dodgers, who had lost seven of their last nine, took a 4-3
lead on Jordan's sixth career slam and second of the season in the
opener of a key four-game series.

''We know it's going to be a battle with San Francisco. They're
never going to give up and I'll tell you what, it was an excellent
game,'' Jordan said.

He hit an 0-1 pitch from Jason Schmidt (11-8) into the
left-field pavilion with two outs, prompting a huge ovation that
brought Jordan out of the dugout for a curtain call.

''There was a lot of electricity when I hit the grand slam,''
said Jordan, who was traded by Atlanta before the season. ''It's
probably the first time I've seen the LA fans react that way.''

Jordan has been Los Angeles' best hitter this month, with 20
RBI in 15 games. His five homers in September also lead the club.

''Usually around football time, I start playing good baseball,''
said Jordan, a former defensive back with the NFL's Atlanta
Falcons. ''I'm having fun. It's just good to have an opportunity to
be in it and play for something.''

The Dodgers extended their lead to 6-3 in the fifth on a
ground-rule double by Adrian Beltre with two outs.

Bonds hit a two-run homer off Jesse Orosco in the seventh to cut
it to 6-5.

Eric Karros increased the lead with a leadoff homer on the first
pitch from Manny Aybar in the seventh.

David Bell hit an RBI single off Paul Quantrill in the eighth to
make it 7-6.

''Both teams battled and somebody's got to give,'' Bonds said.
''Marquis came up with a great play, Karros had a big home run
after we closed the gap and made us work a little harder. We got to
their bullpen like we're supposed to, but they've got their best
closer out there.''

The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the first on a solo homer by Kent,
his 35th, and a bloop double to center by Tom Goodwin. They added a
run in the third on a leadoff homer by Aurilia.

One pitch before Beltre's double, Giants right fielder Goodwin
chased a foul ball into the stands. He and the ball got there at
the same time, but a fan wound up with it. Goodwin looked over his
right shoulder in disbelief as the fan jeeringly pointed at the
ex-Dodger.

''They were booing me so much, I thought I still had the Dodger
jersey on because that's the kind of reception I used to get when I
played here,'' Goodwin said.

Schmidt allowed six runs on seven hits in five innings.

Game notes
Bonds broke his own major league record for walks in a
season with his 178th in the third inning. Last season, his 177
walks broke Babe Ruth's record of 170 set in 1923. Bonds has been
walked intentionally 60 times this season. ... Nomo hasn't lost
since a 9-2 defeat against St. Louis on July 16. ... Bonds' homer
was the second of his career off Orosco. The first one came July 9,
1988, at Dodger Stadium, when Orosco was 31. ... Quantrill's single
in the seventh was his first hit since 1995, and the seventh of his
career.