Final in 11

Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Dodgers leads 1-0 (as of 5/4)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 4
LA Dodgers4Final
in 11
Game 2: Wednesday, May 5
LA Dodgers0Final
Game 3: Thursday, May 6
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Dodgers 4

(16-9, 7-3 away)

Marlins 3

(15-11, 6-4 home)

    7:05 PM ET, May 4, 2004

    Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida 

    1234567891011 R H E
    LA 00101000101 4 7 2
    FLA 10110000000 3 12 4

    W: D. Sanchez (1-0)

    L: J. Wayne (2-1)

    S: E. Gagne (8)

    Marlins errors lead to three run

    MIAMI (AP) -- Florida kept giving the Los Angeles Dodgers extra chances, and Adrian Beltre and Eric Gagne eventually made the Marlins pay.

    The Dodgers turned four Florida errors into three unearned runs, and Beltre came through twice in the late innings. He hit a tying single with two outs in the ninth, then scored the go-ahead run two innings later in Los Angeles' 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

    Florida was one strike from winning, but Beltre flared a pitch from Armando Benitez into short right field to tie the game. Two innings later, Beltre singled and scored to help the Dodgers improve their NL-best record to 16-9.

    "A terrific game to win," manager Jim Tracy said. "We obviously got a couple of breaks. We beat a real good team tonight."

    It was Benitez's first blown save in 11 chances this season.

    Gagne struck out the side in the 11th for his eighth save, extending his major league record to 71 straight. And the only reason Gagne got his chance was because Benitez couldn't come through on his.

    Benitez's biggest mistake of the ninth wasn't Beltre's single. It was his throwing error, just one of many defensive blunders by Florida, which wasted eight innings of three-hit ball by Josh Beckett.

    With one out in the ninth, Paul Lo Duca hit a dribbler to the right side of the mound. Benitez scooped it up, but threw it by Hee Seop Choi, who entered that inning as a defensive replacement.

    Lo Duca was credited with an infield single, and he went to second on the throwing error. He moved to third on Juan Encarnacion's flyout and scored on Beltre's hit that fell in front of a sliding Miguel Cabrera.

    "I was just trying to go with the pitch with two strikes," Beltre said. "I was just trying to cover the plate."

    Benitez dropped his head when Beltre's single dropped in, obviously disappointed.

    "I made a good pitch," Benitez said. "He hit a good pitch."

    In the 11th, pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz hit a grounder through Mike Mordecai's legs at third base for an error that brought home Beltre, who singled off Justin Wayne (2-1) with one out.

    "I anticipated it would bounce up," Mordecai said. "It stayed down."

    Duaner Sanchez (1-0) worked 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win.

    Alex Gonzalez snapped a season-long slump with three hits for Florida, which has dropped a season-high four straight. Juan Pierre had three hits, extending his streak of multihit games to five.

    Pierre was stranded in the ninth and 11th, and Florida left 11 on in all.

    "We can't afford to continue giving away opportunities," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "It's getting monotonous."

    Beckett, last year's World Series MVP, struck out seven, walked two and gave up one earned run. Gonzalez -- who entered hitting .171 -- doubled twice, singled and scored for NL East-leading Florida.

    Alex Cora had three hits, his third multihit effort in four games, for the Dodgers.

    Gonzalez led off the fourth with a double, his second of the game, and scored two batters later on a single by Pierre to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead.

    And with Beckett cruising, three runs seemed to be enough. Beckett retired his last 10 batters and left with a 3-2 lead, but Benitez couldn't hold it.

    The Dodgers got an unearned run in the fifth, cutting it to 3-2. Cora led off with a single, scoring three batters later when Cesar Izturis' grounder was misplayed by second baseman Damion Easley -- in the lineup as a replacement for Luis Castillo, who has a fractured left pinkie.

    Florida had nine batters reach base against Dodgers starter Odalis Perez in the first three innings, yet only pushed across two runs.

    Wil Cordero singled to drive home Pierre and give the Marlins a 1-0 lead in the first. Los Angeles tied it in the third when Dave Roberts tripled, bringing home Cora.

    Game notes

    Roberts left with a strained right hamstring, an injury similar to the one that caused him to miss much of last season. He will be re-evaluated Wednesday, but the chances of him playing are "not very good," Tracy said. Roberts entered the day leading the NL with 15 stolen bases. "It's my right leg, but it's not where I hurt it last year," he said. "It was just smart to come out and not make it worse." ... Spots 2-7 in the Dodgers' order were a combined 0-for-16 against Beckett. ... The crowd of 12,520 -- perhaps thinned by Game 7 of the New Orleans-Miami NBA playoff series -- was Florida's smallest of the season (by 5,102) and the fewest to see the Dodgers play anywhere (by 7,147).

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press