Pirates eliminate Dodgers from playoff contention

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Oliver Perez took a novel approach Saturday
night -- he decided to stop thinking so much while doing his job.

It worked out well.

Perez pitched six strong innings to earn his first victory in
more than three months, rookies Brad Eldred and Ryan Doumit took
care of the offense, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los
Angeles Dodgers 8-3 Saturday night to stop a four-game losing

The loss was the seventh in eight games for the defending NL
West champions and mathematically eliminated the Dodgers from
postseason contention. The Dodgers (68-86) trail first-place San
Diego (77-77) by nine games with eight remaining.

"There does come a point in time where reality sets in," said
Dodgers manager Jim Tracy, whose team won 93 games last season.

Perez (7-5), making his fourth start since coming off the
disabled list, gave up one run and five hits to win for the first
time since June 21. Five days later, he broke his left big toe
while kicking a laundry cart following an ineffective outing in St.

In his first three starts after being activated, the 24-year-old
left-hander lasted a total of 8 2-3 innings, allowing eight runs,
10 hits and nine walks. Perez walked three and struck out four
while throwing 96 pitches against the Dodgers.

"I was thinking too much. Today, I was trying to forget
everything and be consistent," Perez said. "I was feeling good,
the confidence was better. The second inning, I started to be
relaxed a little bit, throwing to spots."

Interim manager Pete Mackanin said he was concerned about Perez
during the first inning.

But not after that.

"That's the best we've seen him in a long time," Mackanin
said. "You could tell by his swagger he felt pretty good about
himself. That told us a lot."

Eldred hit a three-run homer, and Doumit had a career-high four
hits for the Pirates, who beat the Dodgers for just the third time
in the last 19 games between the teams.

"It feels nice -- it's just one of those things where it's all
about placement," said Doumit, who raised his batting average from
.247 to .259.

"We expect him to hit, that's why he's playing so much,"
Mackanin said of Doumit, a 24-year-old switch-hitting catcher.

Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead off Odalis Perez (7-8) in the first
when Tike Redman, running on the pitch, scored from first on a
two-out single by Jason Bay.

Eldred hit a 1-0 pitch from Elmer Dessens into the left field
pavilion with two on and one out in the fourth to make it 4-0.

The Dodgers scored in their half on a sacrifice fly by Jayson
Werth, but the Pirates got that run back in the fifth against
Dessens on an RBI single by Doumit, and made it 6-1 in the sixth
against Franquelis Osoria on a run-scoring single by Redman.

The scored twice in the eighth on a wild pitch by Salomon Torres
and an infield out by Dioner Navarro. Both runs were charged to
John Grabow.

Pittsburgh's Craig Wilson hit a two-run double off Jonathan
Broxton in the ninth.

Odalis Perez, making his first appearance since straining an
oblique muscle Aug. 17, worked the first two innings as planned,
allowing one run and two hits while throwing 28 pitches. Dessens
relieved to start the third and gave up four runs and six hits in 2
1-3 innings.

"I felt weird. It's been five, six weeks since I've been in a
real game," Perez said. "It's tough to have your command."

Regarding the Dodgers' difficult season, Perez said, "It's been
tough for everyone in this clubhouse. We don't have the same
chemistry as last year."

Game notes
Each of the eight starting position players for the Pirates
had at least one hit in the game's first six innings. ... Dodgers
RHP Jeff Weaver, who has a career-high 14 wins, will make his last
start of the season Tuesday night against Arizona unless the
season-finale Oct. 2 at San Diego is a meaningful game. The Padres
lead second-place San Francisco by five games. "It's an
opportunity to get some more innings for some younger guys,"
manager Jim Tracy said, adding Weaver was OK with the move. ...
Pirates 2B Freddy Sanchez doubled in the fifth to extend his
hitting streak to 10 games. ... The Dodgers hit three doubles to
give them 273 this season, the second-highest total since the
franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1958. The 2002 team hit 286
doubles. ... Doumit went 4-for-5 to give him 19 hits in 39 at-bats
against NL West teams this year.