Final

Series: Game 3 of 3

Los Angeles won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, September 20
Los Angeles 4Final
San Diego 8
Game 2: Saturday, September 21
Los Angeles 5Final
San Diego 3
Game 3: Sunday, September 22
Los Angeles 4Final
San Diego 3

Dodgers 4

(88-68, 46-35 away)

Padres 3

(65-91, 41-40 home)

5:05 PM ET, September 22, 2002

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California 

123456789 R H E
LA 001001101 4 - -
SD 201000000 3 - -

W: P. Quantrill (5-4)

L: J. Johnson (1-2)

S: E. Gagne (51)

Cora, Kinkade come through with big two-out hits

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Thanks to an emotional home run by Alex Cora and an adrenaline-fueled, pinch-hit by Mike Kinkade, the Los Angeles Dodgers get to play a meaningful final week.

Mark Grudzielanek slides under the tag of San Diego catcher Wil Nieves as he scores the winning run for the Dodgers in the top of the ninth.

Cora tied the game with a seventh-inning homer -- then exchanged words with pitcher Adam Eaton -- and Kinkade singled home the go-ahead run with two outs in the ninth as the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 Sunday to remain two games behind San Francisco in the National League wild-card race.

A defeat would have been staggering, putting the Dodgers three behind the Giants with six games to play.

''It was a fabulous game. It's two vs. three,'' manager Jim Tracy said. ''The last week of the season, because of what we've done in this series, is now a must for both clubs. It would have made it a lot easier on them if we'd have lost this game and fallen three behind.''

San Francisco beat Milwaukee 3-1. The Dodgers' victory also prevented NL West leader Arizona from clinching a playoff spot.

The Dodgers have six games left, all at home, starting Tuesday against Colorado. San Francisco has five games left at home and, if necessary, a makeup game at Atlanta on Sept. 30.

Kinkade singled up the middle off lefty Kevin Walker and Mark Grudzielanek scored from second, just ahead of the throw from center fielder Mark Kotsay. Grudzielanek had singled off Jonathan Johnson (1-2) and stole second.

After working the count full, Kinkade got a fastball he could handle.

''That's pretty exciting,'' said Kinkade, who was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 21. ''Pinch-hitting to me is like an adrenaline rush. All of a sudden you're in and that adrenaline's wide open.''

Cora tied it at 3 when he homered down the right-field line with two outs in the Dodgers' seventh. He had been 0-for-11 lifetime against San Diego's Adam Eaton until homering.

After watching the ball sail out, Cora tossed his bat aside and raised his right index finger in the air. He and Eaton exchanged words during Cora's trot, and both apologized later.

''When you're in this situation, you get a little too emotional,'' Cora said. ''Just watching on the replay, I think I did and I've got to apologize for that. At the same time, people have got to realize we are playing for our lives right now. We're in a situation where it's all heart right now. Sometimes when you get a big hit, you react that way.''

''It's an emotional game and things are going to be said. I'm a little embarrassed about what I said because it was definitely recorded and kids are going to be seeing it. It was definitely heat of the moment. No real animosity, that's for sure,'' he said.

Paul Quantrill (5-4) pitched the eighth and Eric Gagne the ninth for his 51st save in 55 chances.

Brian Jordan had three hits for the Dodgers, who took two of three from the Padres. San Diego's Mark Kotsay homered twice and finished with three hits, as did Phil Nevin.

San Diego jumped to a 2-0 lead before the Dodgers got an out. Kotsay hit a leadoff homer into the first row of seats in right-center on the first pitch from Omar Daal, and Deivi Cruz followed with a ground-rule double on his next pitch. Nevin singled in Cruz.

Kotsay homered leading off the third, again to right-center, for a 3-1 lead. His 15th and 16th homers gave Kotsay his first career multihomer game.

The Dodgers closed to 3-2 on Eric Karros' one-out sacrifice fly in the sixth, but two baserunning blunders by Shawn Green cost them a shot at tying.

Karros' bases-loaded fly ball went to the warning track in center, but Green didn't attempt to tag up. Green was then caught off second base in a 2-4-5-6-1-4-2-3 rundown, with 6-foot-4, 230-pound first baseman Brian Buchanan finally tagging him out as they both hit the dirt.

Padres pinch-runner Cesar Crespo blundered in the eighth, getting doubled off second on Ron Gant's fly to left field to end the inning.

Paul Lo Duca hit a run-scoring double in Dodgers' third.

Game notes


It was the third career leadoff homer for Kotsay. ... Dodgers leadoff batter Dave Roberts has a strained ribcage muscle and will have an MRI in the next few days. Tracy said it's unlikely Roberts will play in the next several games. Roberts was hurt fouling off an 0-2 pitch Saturday night, then hit a leadoff homer. He left the game after that. ... With Roberts out, Marquis Grissom started in center and batted leadoff. ... After considering bringing back Hideo Nomo on three days of rest to start against Colorado on Wednesday night, Tracy decided to start Giovanni Carrara on Wednesday and Nomo on Thursday against San Diego.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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