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Lowe blow: Dodgers derail Giants behind righty

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Derek Lowe wanted to talk about his
hitting. There was a lot to be said for his pitching too.

He allowed five hits in eight plus innings and J.D. Drew and
Nomar Garciaparra each hit two-run homers to lead the Los Angeles
Dodgers past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

Lowe (11-8) also had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, who
improved to 19-3 over their last 22 games.

"I got to a .100 there for a moment," Lowe joked.

Lowe has won four of his last five starts since ending a
three-game losing streak on July 29.

"I've always loved the end of the year when every game and
every pitch matters," Lowe said. "If anything I focus more. If I
could keep that same focus and intensity over 34 starts instead of
10 I'd have better years."

Lowe retired 13 straight after giving up a third-inning single
to Eliezer Alfonzo. The 32-year-old veteran won his fourth decision
in the last five and recorded his 22nd win in August, his highest
total of any month.

"Lowe was the best I've seen since he was in Boston," Giants
shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "He didn't throw above the knees.
He's like [Greg] Maddux with more speed."

Lowe, who induced 14 groundouts, struck out six and walked one.

"We've seen a heck of a pitcher out their in his last seven
outings," Dodgers' manager Grady Little said. "He's been good for
a lot of years. That was a beautiful game. I loved every minute of
it. He was outstanding."

Matt Morris (8-11) lost his fourth straight decision and the
Giants lost their second straight game following a season-high
five-game win streak.

The Giants broke through against Lowe in the ninth. Randy Winn
opened the inning with a single. He reached third when Jeff Kent
allowed Vizquel's grounder to go through his legs, and scored
on Ray Durham's single. Lowe then walked Todd Linden to load the
bases.

Takashi Saito came in and struck out Steve Finley before walking
pinch-hitter Barry Bonds to force in a run. Saito then struck out
Pedro Feliz and Alfonzo for his 14th save in 15 chances.

"That was the toughest situation I've faced," Saito said
through an interpreter. "I just wanted to avoid giving up a home
run. I couldn't imagine I would have succeeded like this."

Garciaparra improved to .388 against the Giants this season
while Drew drove in six during the three-game series.

"It's getting down to nitty gritty now so it's nice to win the
series," Drew said. "It's easy to get caught up in the adrenaline
rush playing in front of crowds like this. You just need to settle
yourself down and take a nice, easy approach without adding any
extra stress on yourself."

Morris settled down after giving up three runs in the first two
innings. He retired 17 of the next 19 batters after allowing Lowe's
RBI single in the second.

"He had a couple of hittable pitches and they hit them out,"
Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "We had ample opportunities. It
was 3-0 for a few hours and we didn't do anything. We chased a lot
out of the strike zone."

The Dodgers added two runs in the eighth. Kenny Lofton doubled
with one out and Garciaparra followed with his 14th homer of the
year.

Morris gave up five runs and eight hits in eight innings. He
walked one and struck out six. He has lost three straight to the
Dodgers, last beating them on Sept. 3, 2004 while with the St.
Louis Cardinals.

"We knew it was a big series," Morris said. "Schmitty pitched
great in the opener, but we couldn't hold them down the last two
games. They're in control of the division."

Garciaparra hit a two-out single ahead of Drew's 12th home run
of the year to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the first.

Andre Ethier singled to open the second and eventually scored on
Lowe's RBI single.

Game Notes
Moises Alou left the game after the second inning with
tightness in his left calf. ... Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal stole his
30th base in the fifth, giving him three seasons of at least 30
stolen bases. ... Drew has 18 RBI in his last 21 games. ... The
Dodgers won their sixth consecutive series. ... Durham's single in
the ninth extended his hitting streak to 10 games.