LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Pitcher Russ Ortiz was an angry man as he
came to the plate to lead off the sixth -- upset because he made a
bad pitch the previous inning.
The San Francisco right-hander took it out on the baseball.
Ortiz hit a tiebreaking home run Wednesday night and the Giants
went on to beat Los Angeles 7-4 and open a two-game lead over the
Dodgers in the NL wild-card race.
The old rivals each have 10 games left, including the finale of
a four-game series Thursday night at Dodger Stadium.
"We really needed this win,'' Ortiz said. "I was scratching and clawing as much as I could to keep us in the game.''
"Giving up that hit to Karros,'' Ortiz replied when asked what
made him angry. "A mistake, it was up. It got enough of the plate
and he hit it.''
And so did Ortiz, driving a 1-1 pitch from Robert Ellis (0-1), pitching in just his third game of the season, over the left-field
wall to put the Giants on top for good.
It was Ortiz's second homer of the season and the fourth of his
career. He became the first visiting pitcher to hit two homers at
Dodger Stadium in one year, having connected against Terry
Mulholland on April 3.
"Just lucky, I guess,'' Ortiz said with a smile.
Batting .262, Ortiz also drove in the Giants' second run with a
sacrifice fly, giving him nine RBIs this year.
"I was just trying to hit the ball,'' Ortiz said of his home
run. "I saw a fastball and swung at it. It wasn't anything more
Giants manager Dusty Baker said he considered pinch-hitting for
Ortiz in that spot since the game was tied and the 28-year-old
right-hander had already thrown more than 100 pitches.
But fortunately for Baker, he decided against it.
Down 7-3, the Dodgers scored a run in the ninth inning on Brian
Jordan's RBI single off reliever Robb Nen's glove with two outs.
But Nen struck out Karros with two runners on to end the game.
Ortiz (13-10) won his fifth straight start. The victory was the 21st in 30 games for the Giants while the Dodgers lost for the ninth time in 12 games.
Ortiz allowed seven hits and three runs while walking two and
striking out seven, using 116 pitches. Felix Rodriguez relieved to
start the seventh.
"Six innings is huge,'' Baker said of Ortiz's effort. "I
didn't think he'd hit a home run.''
"It goes without saying that tomorrow night's game is a
must-win for us,'' Karros said. "It's the biggest game of our
season up to this point.''
However, Karros said, the wild-card winner won't be decided
until much later.
"There are still more games on the schedule for both teams,''
he said. "I mean, I've seen leads of three or four games with 10
to go not win.''
The Dodgers tied it in their half on solo homers by Adrian
Beltre, his 21st, and Alex Cora, his fourth.
Jeff Kent hit an 0-2 pitch for his 36th homer to open the third,
putting the Giants back on top, but Karros' run-scoring single in
the fifth tied the game again.
San Francisco's Barry Bonds went 1-for-2 with three walks, one
intentional. He struck out swinging against Shuey leading off the
seventh and singled off Quantrill to start the ninth.
Beirne, making his third major league start, was lifted for a
pinch-hitter after allowing five hits and three runs in four
innings while walking six and striking out five.
The Giants stranded eight runners while Beirne was in the game,
leaving the bases loaded in the second and third. He threw 93
San Francisco C Benito Santiago, who had two hits, received
a two-game suspension and was fined by the commissioner's office,
which said he bumped umpire Mark Hirschbeck last weekend. The
players' association appealed the penalty, meaning the suspension
can't start until after a hearing. ... Ortiz threw a called third
strike past Mark Grudzielanek in the fourth to end a 13-pitch
at-bat. ... Los Angeles LHP Kazuhisa Ishii, hit in the forehead by
a line drive Sept. 8 and sidelined for the rest of the season,
attended the game--_ his first since being injured. ... The Dodgers
acquired 25-year-old minor league RHP Jason Frasor from Detroit to
complete the trade of July 25 in which they sent INF-OF Hiram
Bocachica to the Tigers. ... The game lasted three hours, 56
minutes _ four minutes longer than the Giants' 6-4 win Tuesday