PHOENIX (AP) -- Three days after his Opening Day blunder led to a
loss, Jose Valentin saved the day.
Pinch-hitting with two outs, Valentin hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run ninth inning that gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a wild 8-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.Valentin's error on Tuesday led to a 4-2 loss in the opener in San Francisco. The Dodgers have won three in a row since, but excuse Valentin for not getting too excited. He's been around long enough to know how fleeting these moments are."It's a great feeling, especially when you get to be the hero," he said. "You've just got to enjoy this moment for a couple of hours and get your mind ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow's the next day, and anything can happen."Troy Glaus put the Diamondbacks up 7-4 with a three-run homer in the eighth inning.Arizona closer Brandon Lyon (0-1) struck out Olmedo Saenz leading off the ninth before Antonio Perez reached on Glaus' error at third. Jason Phillips popped out, Ricky Ledee doubled in one run and Cesar Izturis' RBI single cut the lead to 7-6.Lyon got ahead 0-2 in the count against Valentin, who then homered to right to give the Dodgers the lead."It was a slider. It just kind of spun," Lyon said. "Obviously I didn't get the location I wanted to. He put a good swing on it and hit over the wall. You look at this game and we battled from inning one. It's a tough one to swallow, but we've got a new one tomorrow."Because of Glaus' error, all four runs were unearned."I was just indecisive on it," Glaus said. "I initially thought to backhand it, then tried to get in front of it, and by then it was too late. I just flat kicked it. No better way to put it, just flat kicked it."Yhency Brazoban, the Dodgers' closer in place of injured Eric Gagne, pitched a perfect ninth for his first major-league save."That was a great baseball game," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said, "and it's also a tremendous character builder. What we witnessed tonight was something that was indicative of our ballclub during the course of the entire 2004 season -- that is that you didn't beat the Dodgers until you recorded all 27 outs."The Dodgers led 4-2 after six innings but Jose Cruz Jr.'s two-run homer in the seventh tied it at 4. Chad Tracy hit a solo homer for the Diamondbacks, and Saenz hit a two-run shot for Los Angeles.With the score tied, Dodgers rookie Steve Schmoll (1-0) walked Craig Counsell leading off the eighth and the runner advanced on
Royce Clayton's sacrifice bunt. Luis Gonzalez was walked intentionally, and Glaus drove a 2-2 pitch into the left field seats, his second homer of the season.Arizona led the series opener 1-0 on Tracy's second-inning home run before Los Angeles scored four in the sixth, two on Saenz' homer and two on Jeff Kent's double.But the Diamondbacks tied it with two in the seventh. Shawn Green drew a leadoff walk from Kelly Wunsch before Buddy Carlyle came on and Cruz hit a 3-2 pitch into the right field seats to make it 4-4."As unbelievable as it feels, they were thinking the same thing when we scored in the bottom of the eighth," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "Cruz's home runs was huge, and Glaus' home run was huge, but they came back just as hard as we did."Shawn Estes blanked the Dodgers on three hits through five innings. But in the sixth, Izturis and Jason Repko singled, and Kent doubled down the left field line to put Los Angeles up 2-1.Glaus' slick fielding play at third on Milton Bradley's sharp grounder made it two outs, but Saenz hit a 2-0 pitch deep into the left field seats to make it 4-1. The inning ended when shortstop Clayton made a spectacular diving stab of Phillips' line drive, holding up his glove to show the umpire he had caught the ball.Ex-Diamondback Elmer Dessens had a solid outing for Los Angeles, allowing two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Brothers Bill and Tim Welke were umpires at the plate and first base. ... Clayton has hit into a double play in all four of Arizona's games. ... Tracy is batting .467 (7-for-15). ... Dodgers newcomer J.D. Drew was 0-for-4, including a deep drive that Cruz caught at the center field wall, and is 0-for-17 for the season.