SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Manager Jim Tracy has been saying all along
that the Dodgers only need more consistent starting pitching to get
back on track.
Seeing their star closer on the mound again is a big bonus, too.
Pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the
ninth inning and Antonio Perez hit a two-run homer among his
career-high four hits and drove in three runs, leading Los Angeles
over the San Francisco Giants 6-4 on Thursday night.
"It was a big night," Perez said. "I'm more comfortable. If I
play every day, I'm more confident and I see the ball better."
Eric Gagne converted his first save opportunity of the season by
recording the final three outs, but he allowed consecutive doubles
to Michael Tucker and Omar Vizquel. The right-hander hadn't saved a
game since Sept. 26 against the Giants in San Francisco. Gagne
spent the first 35 games this year on the disabled list with a
sprained ligament in his right elbow and had made only four
He has so many saves to his name that the first one of the year
meant little. Beating the bitter rival was what truly mattered.
"I don't care at all," he said of the save. "Mentally, it was
just good to get a win right now. We need to get a little rhythm."
The Dodgers snapped San Francisco's four-game winning streak and
avoided their first three-game sweep by the Giants since April
"The guys really rallied to come back and then things happened
really quickly," said Walker, who had retired 19 of the 20 batters
he faced since taking over as closer. "We were anticipating a bunt
and [Perez] hits it to right for his fourth hit. With Ledee, I was
trying to get a groundball and it went through my legs."
Deivi Cruz led off the eighth with his first career pinch-hit
home run and third homer of the year, a shot to left.
Tucker followed with a groundout, then Vizquel singled to center
to chase Dodgers starter Brad Penny. Brazoban relieved and
immediately gave up a double to J.T. Snow. Ellison entered to
pinch-run for Snow, then Moises Alou drew a walk to load the bases
for Ray Durham. He flied out to left and Vizquel didn't have time
to head home. Then Alfonzo produced the tying hit.
Penny pitched 7 1/3 sharp innings, but saw his winless stretch
reach four starts. His last victory came May 6 at Cincinnati.
Penny experienced this rivalry on the field for the first time.
He was acquired by the Dodgers from Florida last July 30, but made
just three starts last season for Los Angeles because of a strained
right biceps. The injury kept him out of action until April 24 this
Penny allowed a single to Vizquel in the first and walked Alou
two batters later, then got 10 straight outs.
"The start we got from Brad Penny is a good beginning," Tracy
said. "He was absolutely terrific tonight."
Perez connected with two outs in the second, sending a 1-0 pitch
from Kirk Rueter over the left-field fence for his first home run
of the season. He hit an RBI single in his next at-bat in the
Rueter, the losing pitcher Friday against Oakland, looked great
aside from a couple of costly mistakes. He worked 7 1/3 innings for
his longest outing since going eight innings on May 7 last year at
He has hit safely in four of his last seven starts. He singled
in the fifth, but gave everyone a scare when first baseman Olmedo
Saenz's arm came across Rueter's head trying for the out and caused
the pitcher to stumble hard.
"Any time you take two out of three, that's good, especially in
your division," Rueter said.
Durham saw his 13-game hitting streak end with an 0-for-4 night.
Durham missed Wednesday's game with an ingrown toenail and sat out
Sunday with a sprained left middle finger.
Bako, the Dodgers' catcher, felt a strange twinge in his left
knee in the ninth and left the game. He will be evaluated Friday,
though it wasn't considered to be serious.
L.A.'s Cesar Izturis went 0-for-5 to have his nine-game
hitting streak snapped. ... Barry Bonds hopes he's close to
decreasing his daily dose of antibiotics to a single pill. Bonds
will have a routine blood test Friday to make sure the San
Francisco slugger is progressing from the antibiotics he's taking
to control the infection in his surgically repaired right knee.
"My leg is good. It's getting better," he said, giving a
thumbs-up sign and a grin. ... San Francisco drew 40,147, marking
the 20th straight season the Giants have gone over 1 million. ...
Penny struck out four and needs one more to reach 600 career K's.