<
>

Dodgers' Perez snaps Rockies' five-game streak

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Odalis Perez has pitched two one-hitters this
season. He still thinks he has a no-hitter in him.

The Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander needed only 1 hour, 55
minutes, and a pair of diving catches from right fielder Shawn
Green to beat Colorado 4-0 Tuesday night and end the Rockies'
five-game winning streak.

Paul Lo Duca homered and Eric Karros added a two-run shot,
helping the Dodgers extend their NL West lead to 1½ games over
Arizona.

Perez (9-3), who one-hit the Cubs on April 26 in a 10-0 win at
Wrigley Field, allowed only a clean line-drive single to left field
by Colorado's Bobby Estalella on a 2-2 changeup to lead off the
sixth inning.

It was all that prevented Perez from becoming the first Dodger
to pitch a no-hitter since Hideo Nomo's gem against the Rockies in
1996 at Coors Field.

''I have the stuff to do it. We'll see. We're going to work on
it,'' Perez said. ''Maybe this year or sometime in my career, I'll
throw a no-hitter or a perfect game.''

The Dodgers' left-hander was extremely efficient, needing only
87 pitches in his third career complete game and second against the
Rockies. Perez struck out six and walked one, lowering his ERA to
2.33, second-best in the NL behind former Atlanta teammate Tom
Glavine's 1.68 mark.

''I threw strikes, I was ahead in the count and made those guys
make contact. So that made it much easier. Everything worked
tonight except my changeup,'' said Perez, who doubled in the eighth
and scored on Lo Duca's sacrifice fly.

Perez, who has won his last five decisions, has emerged as the
sleeper in the trade last January with Atlanta in which the Dodgers
swapped Gary Sheffield to the Braves for left fielder Brian Jordan.

''He's pitched two complete games against us, so he was
obviously a good acquisition for them,'' Rockies manager Clint
Hurdle said. ''Starting pitching is huge. That's why they're in
first place. Five good starters, a red-hot closer and a good
offense is always enough to carry a team.''

Technically, the Rockies got one runner past first base when
Estalella broke for second on Juan Pierre's hit-and-run grounder to
shortstop. Cesar Izturis got the out at first, but Estalella tried
to make it to third and was thrown out by Karros to end the inning.

''If there's another attempt to go to third by him, we'll have
issues. He needs an excuse for that one,'' Hurdle said.

Green, known more for his homers than his fielding, robbed
Estalella with a backhanded grab in the second inning and went to
his right to take an extra-base hit away from Juan Uribe for the
last out in the eighth.

''You'll see plays like that made when you've got a pitcher who
goes out and throws 87 pitches to complete a baseball game, because
you're ready to field every time he throws a pitch,'' Dodgers
manager Jim Tracy said.

''There's very little down time when Odalis Perez is pitching,
because his strike efficiency is as good or better, in my opinion,
than anybody in the league.''

John Thomson (7-6) allowed three runs and four hits in seven
innings. The right-hander is 0-4 in six starts since his last
victory on May 23 against San Diego, and 0-3 in five career starts
against the Dodgers.

''J.T.'s outing was encouraging. That was a huge step for him,''
Hurdle said.

Lo Duca, who left Monday night's game in the fourth inning
because of an abductor strain, was back in the lineup and drove the
first pitch he saw to center field in the first inning for his
fourth home run.

Lo Duca hit the next pitch he saw into the right-field corner
for a leadoff double in the fourth, but was stranded at third.

But Thomson, facing the Dodgers for the first time in four
series between the teams this season, walked Green with two outs in
the sixth and allowed Karros' eighth homer on the next pitch.

''You don't like to waste a good pitching performance. That
slider to Karros was his only mistake,'' Colorado's Todd Zeile
said.

Game notes
The 15 homers allowed by Thomson are the most on the
Rockies' staff. ... Rockies RF Larry Walker, who missed the
previous two games because of a strained right elbow, was 0-for-3
and ended a streak of seven multiple-hit games -- one shy of Andres
Galarraga's club record. ... After the game, Walker, Terry Shumpert
and Mike Hampton departed for St. Louis to attend Wednesday's
memorial service for ex-teammate Darryl Kile, who died Saturday.
... The Dodgers have won at least 15 games in April, May and June
for the first time since 1977. ... Dodgers RHP Darren Dreifort
threw to live batters for the first time since his elbow surgery
last July 9, drawing a large crowd that included team chairman and
CEO Bob Daly, GM Dan Evans and several teammates who applauded and
hugged him when the session ended.