Beltre's 9th-inning HR wins it

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Adrian Beltre became the latest Dodger to get
the big hit during a late-inning rally.

Beltre homered off Rod Beck with one out in the bottom of the
ninth inning, giving Los Angeles a 3-2 comeback victory over the
San Diego Padres on Friday night.

"We've rallied late in games and come up with some huge hits
and huge home runs," Shawn Green said. "And every game you think,
`Hey, can we do it again?' These are the kind of wins you just
don't see more than a few times a year on a normal team. Those are
the kind of signs you see on teams that do great things late in the

Playing in front of a record Dodger Stadium crowd of 55,311 that
pushed the season total over the 2 million mark, the Dodgers won
for the 16th time in 18 games and increased their division lead to
3˝ games over San Diego and San Francisco.

"I did expect the team to have a run like this," Beltre said.
"This club has what it takes to win. We've had some ups and downs
and tough times, but we've gotten it together and we're playing the
way we should be playing."

Beltre's homer inside the left-field pole on the first pitch he
saw from Beck (0-2), increased his career-high total to 26. He is
hitting .325 with 66 RBI despite playing the entire season with
bone chips in his ankle.

"He's out there hopping around on one leg and he's having the
greatest year of his life," teammate Milton Bradley said. "He's
just amazing."

Dodgers pitcher Jose Lima, who gave up two runs and five hits
over eight innings and struck out five, agreed.

"I don't know about MVP, because I don't want to jinx the guy,
but I'm still pretty mad that he didn't make the All-Star team,"
Lima said. "If you see his numbers compared to other guys who made
it, Beltre was leading everything. It's kind of pathetic.

"He plays hard every day and he's hurt. He's got bone chips in
his ankle, but he's just going to keep swinging the bat and take us
to the World Series."

All-Star closer Eric Gagne (3-0) got the win, pitching a
scoreless ninth inning.

Leading 2-1, Padres starter Brian Lawrence retired 13 straight
before Juan Encarnacion chased him with his second ground-rule
double leading off the eighth.

"We never thought we were out of it," said Bradley, who hit a
go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning Thursday to help the
Dodgers beat Colorado 4-2. "It was a one-run game, so of course we
weren't out of it -- but you knew something was going to happen."

Akinori Otsuka relieved and made a horrible throw past first
base on Alex Cora's sacrifice, allowing Encarnacion to score the
tying run. Right fielder Brian Giles, who backed up the play, made
a worse throw when he lost his grip on the ball. His throw dribbled
to an uncovered second base.

Cora went to third on the play, but couldn't score on two
shallow fly balls before Jayson Werth struck out.

Lawrence threw 100 pitches in his 100th major league start,
allowing two runs -- one earned -- and four hits in seven-plus

Sean Burroughs and Miguel Ojeda homered for the Padres, who were
without shortstop Khalil Greene for the second straight game
because of a bruised left shin. He was hit by a pitch from San
Francisco's Wayne Franklin on Wednesday.

"It's just another loss," the Padres' Jay Payton said. "It
would have been nice to get the win and pick up a game instead of
losing a game. But we've still got 66 games left, and we've got
plenty more head-to-heads with them."

Lima escaped a bases-loaded threat in the third when catcher
Paul Lo Duca pounced on Rich Aurilia's dribbler and tagged the
plate for the force on Burroughs. But Ojeda gave the Padres a 2-1
lead in the fourth with his fifth homer and second in two games.

Lima's outing began just like his previous one did -- with a home
run by the first batter he faced. Burroughs drove a 1-0 pitch to
left-center for his second homer of the season, ending his
homerless drought at 170 at-bats.

The Dodgers tied it in the second with two-out doubles by
Encarnacion and Cora. Lima followed with a single, but center
fielder Payton -- playing shallow -- charged the ball and made a
perfect one-hop throw to Ojeda for the tag on Cora.

Game notes
Wes Parker, a six-time Gold Glove 1B, was among several
ex-Dodgers greats on hand for the dedication of six placards
commemorating the team's World Series championships. ...
Encarnacion is 9-for-16 lifetime against Lawrence. ... Before the
game, Dodgers manager Jim Tracy was telling reporters about how
quickly Lawrence gets the ball to the plate -- under 1.2 seconds by
average. In the first inning, Ojeda threw out Izturis trying to
steal second.