Jordan caps Dodgers' ninth-inning rally

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Brian Jordan came through Thursday night. Again.

He might not have had the chance had it not been for Marquis Grissom.

Jordan drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning three
batters after Grissom's homer tied it as the Los Angeles Dodgers
rallied for a 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres to keep their
flickering playoff hopes alive.

The Dodgers (90-69) trail San Francisco (92-66) by 2˝ games in
the NL wild-card race. Los Angeles has three games left against the
Padres, while the Giants have three against Houston plus a possible
makeup game Monday in Atlanta.

Any combination of two San Francisco wins or Los Angeles losses
would clinch a postseason berth for the Giants and keep the Dodgers
out of the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

"We're believing in a miracle right now, hoping Houston sweeps
San Francisco,'' Jordan said. "We continue to battle, we continue
to not give up. You never know what's going to happen.''

Jordan's infield single -- the Dodgers' fourth straight two-out
hit -- drove in Paul LoDuca, who singled off Brian Lawrence (12-12)
and went to third on a ground-rule double by Shawn Green.

Jordan hit a grounder to deep shortstop, and Deivi Cruz had no
chance to throw him out at first.

Starting pitcher Hideo Nomo homered for the Dodgers.

Jordan, who singled to drive in the winning run in the ninth
inning Wednesday night against Colorado, has 27 RBI this month. He
had three hits to raise his batting average to .280.

"He wants to be in that situation to drive guys in,'' said
Grissom, who hit his 17th homer after Lawrence retired the first
two batters in the eighth. "We're alive for another day.''

Grissom said he wasn't trying to hit the ball out of the park.

"I'm not that good,'' he said. "I was just trying to hit the
ball hard and get on base. He left it up in the zone for me.''

Lawrence didn't think Grissom's drive would get out.

"Actually, when he first hit it, I thought it was going to be
an out,'' Lawrence said. "It looked like he might have gotten it
off the end of the bat.''

Paul Shuey (5-2) pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings for the victory.
Eric Gagne worked the ninth for his 52nd save in 56 chances,
fanning Cruz with two on to end it.

The Padres announced afterward that closer Trevor Hoffman, who
has 38 saves in 41 chances, won't pitch in the season's final three
games because of inflammation in his right shoulder.

"I don't think you ever want to end up on a note where you're
shutting it down a little early, but I think that was calmer heads
prevailing,'' said Hoffman, who had at least 40 saves in each of
the previous four seasons.

"It's probably the best-case scenario for the shoulder right
now,'' he added. "I haven't missed any save opportunities that I
would have had anyway.''

Hoffman, who had an MRI on Thursday, hasn't pitched since last
Saturday, when he was the losing pitcher against the Dodgers,
allowing two runs in the ninth inning of a 5-3 defeat.

The Padres, who have lost five straight, scored twice in the
seventh for a 5-4 lead on a double by Ramon Vazquez off Nomo and an
RBI single by Ryan Klesko off Jesse Orosco.

The Padres took a 2-0 lead on Mark Kotsay's 17th homer in the
first and Vazquez's grounder in the second.

Held to one hit through the first three innings by Jake Peavy,
the Dodgers scored three runs in the fourth on an RBI single by
Eric Karros, an error by shortstop Vazquez and a ground-rule double
by Mark Grudzielanek.

The Padres tied it in the sixth on a two-out double by Sean
Burroughs -- his third hit of the game -- and a run-scoring single by
Brian Buchanan.

The Dodgers took a 4-3 lead in the bottom half on a two-out solo
homer by Nomo -- the second of his career and just his fourth hit in
63 at-bats this season.

Nomo, who has won seven straight decisions and 15 of his last 16, allowed six hits and five runs in six-plus innings. He struck out nine.

Peavy gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Game notes
The attendance was 29,613, raising the season total at
Dodger Stadium to 3,002,622 and marking the major league-record
17th time the Dodgers have surpassed 3 million. ... Nomo went 170
at-bats between home runs. He hit his first career homer April 28,
1998, off Milwaukee's Jose Mercedes. The Dodgers traded Nomo to the
New York Mets less than two months later. They got him back by
signing him to a two-year contract last December. ... Padres RHP
Brett Tomko, who had been scheduled to pitch, was pushed back to
Friday night because of a stiff neck. ... Dodgers RHP Kevin Beirne
will start Saturday instead of RHP Andy Ashby, who is hampered by a
blister on his middle finger. ... Nomo became the fifth Dodgers
pitcher to hit a home run this season, joining Ashby, Kevin Brown,
Omar Daal and Odalis Perez. It's the first time in franchise
history five pitchers have homered in the same season. The last
team to accomplish the feat was the 1980 Pittsburgh Pirates.