Benches empty, with Tucker in fray again

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- No matter the season or the standings,
certain things never change when the Giants play the Dodgers. The
teams play harder, the losses sting a bit more -- and there's often
some sort of scuffle.

A.J. Pierzynski had two run-scoring doubles, Marquis Grissom
homered and San Francisco swept the four-game series with its sixth
straight victory overall, beating Los Angeles 9-3 Thursday.

The game also included the second bench-clearing dustup in two
days between the archrivals. San Francisco's Michael Tucker and
Dodgers closer Eric Gagne were ejected in the eighth inning for
nearly starting a brawl after Tucker dived away from a high pitch
by the NL Cy Young Award winner.

Gagne was incensed when he learned of his ejection, attempting
to charge the umpires gathered at the mound. He flipped the ball
over his shoulder toward the mound while leaving the field, then
doffed his cap to the San Francisco fans jeering him into the

Giants manager Felipe Alou, a former San Francisco star, has
seen it all before.

"My feeling has been, ever since I was a player and there were
fights with the Dodgers, there should never be a fight or a brawl
without a reason," Alou said.

The Giants only had reason for celebration after taking a
2{-game lead over Los Angeles in the NL West with their 15th home
victory in 16 games.

The trouble started when Gagne threw a high pitch that sent
Tucker tumbling to the ground. Though the pitch appeared to be well
over the plate, Tucker stepped toward the mound and pointed at
Gagne, who advanced.

Gagne and Dodgers manager Jim Tracy both thought Tucker wildly
overreacted, with Tracy calling it "highly theatrical."

"I thought that that was completely overdone by Michael
Tucker," Tracy said. "If you look at the replay, the ball was not
even close. ... What's Eric Gagne supposed to do, stand there with
his hands at his side?"

Tucker also was involved in Wednesday's scuffle, precipitated by
a collision with Dodgers starter Jeff Weaver on a tag play at first
base in the fifth inning. Weaver and Tucker also nearly came to
blows, but there were no ejections.

"He knows it wasn't even close," Gagne said of his pitch. "If
you look at the play, he just got carried away. He knew he tried to
hurt our guy yesterday. He just got emotional."

Teammates intervened, and no punches were thrown -- but umpires
still ejected both players. Gagne was tossed because he removed his
hat and glove while yelling at Tucker.

"You all can write what you want," Tucker said. "I don't
care. I'm not talking about it."

Brett Tomko returned from the disabled list to pitch six innings
of three-hit ball for his first win since April 28. He got ample
run support from the Giants, who earned two blowout wins and two
one-run victories over the Dodgers.

Barry Bonds went 1-for-2, drawing two walks and scoring a run
just a few hours after reacting to the latest round of doping
allegations against him. In federal grand jury testimony, the
six-time NL MVP was identified by sprinter Tim Montgomery as a
possible recipient of performance-enhancing drugs, the San
Francisco Chronicle reported.

"I don't even know who he is, so how he's making accusations of
me, I don't even know," Bonds said.

Bonds hasn't homered in 10 games, but most of his teammates
finally are thriving after a season of inconsistency.

Dustan Mohr delivered a pinch-hit RBI double and Ray Durham had
a two-run single as San Francisco batted around in a six-run sixth
inning. Grissom capped the rally with his 10th homer of the season,
a two-run shot off reliever Wilson Alvarez.

Hideo Nomo (3-9) allowed nine hits and seven runs in losing his
eighth straight decision for the Dodgers, who have dropped five of
six since holding a 2{-game division lead Friday.

Alex Cora homered for Los Angeles, and Paul Lo Duca stole home
in the fourth -- just the seventh stolen base of his career. It
wasn't exactly pure speed: Durham couldn't handle Pierzynski's
throw to second base in an attempt to get Juan Encarnacion on a
steal attempt, and Lo Duca trotted home.

Tomko (2-4) made his first start in 17 days, returning Wednesday
from a two-week rehabilitation program for inflammation in his
right elbow.

"It's a big difference in the club from a month ago," Tomko
said. "All the guys are hitting. Everyone's contributing. We're
moving people over, we're getting the big hits. There's always a
little doubt when you're not winning, but all of a sudden, guys
started producing."

Pierzynski had an RBI double and Deivi Cruz hit a two-run single
in the fourth for the Giants. Pierzynski and Edgardo Alfonzo had
three hits apiece.

Game notes
Dodgers OF Milton Bradley missed his second straight game
with soreness in his right shoulder. He is to have an MRI exam
Friday. ... After the game, San Francisco activated 1B J.T. Snow
and outrighted Damon Minor to Triple-A Fresno. Minor has 72 hours
to accept the assignment or become a free agent.