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Los Angeles 3, Colorado 0

9/1/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- After tying the major league record with his
54th consecutive save, Eric Gagne was tempted to let a lookalike
stand in and answer reporters' questions.

The Los Angeles Dodgers held a Gagne lookalike contest before
Sunday night's 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies, and the
winner was a dead ringer for the major leagues' saves leader. But
nothing could duplicate the real one.

"It's a good record because every time get one, it's going to
be a win," Gagne said. "I don't care about saves or blown saves.
I just want to go out there and give my best for the team after
they play hard for eight innings. It's all about wins. I'm having
fun out there, and that's what it's all about."

Gagne, moved to the bullpen during spring training last year
after two mediocre seasons as a starter, preserved the victory for
Odalis Perez (11-10) and equaled the mark Tom Gordon set with
Boston in 1998-99.

Gagne gave up a hit and struck out two in the ninth, for his
46th save this season without a miss -- also a major league record.

The Canadian-born right-hander's last blown save during the
regular season -- and his only one at Dodger Stadium the last two
years -- was last Aug. 26 against Arizona.

"When anybody ever asks me who's the toughest pitcher I've ever
faced, I say Robb Nen. But Gagne is right there with him, as far as
guys I call unhittable," Colorado's Todd Helton said. "When you
save as many games as he has and get to that point, it almost is
game over."

Perez rebounded from the worst outing of his career and held the
Rockies to five hits in seven innings. He escaped a bases-loaded
jam in the sixth after surrendering 10 runs and 10 hits over 4 2-3
innings last Tuesday in an 18-4 loss at Houston.

"If I can have one bad start every five, I'll have a Hall of
Famer's numbers," Perez said. "You're going to have games like
that. I mean, I saw Pedro Martinez yesterday against the Yankees,
and they hit him like he was nobody. I'm not saying I'm Pedro
Martinez, but we are in the same sport -- and sometimes, you're
going to have bad outings."

Two of the hits against Perez were by Colorado starter Darren
Oliver (10-10). The left-hander pitched eight innings, allowing
three runs and four hits. All the runs were unearned -- the result
of shortstop Juan Uribe's fielding error on Paul Lo Duca's grounder
in the seventh.

The Dodgers' only hit through the first six innings was an
infield single up the middle by Jolbert Cabrera, who was awarded an
extra base when second baseman Ronnie Belliard's hurried throw
skipped into the dugout.

"Darren pitched great," batterymate Charles Johnson said. "I
don't think he was that rattled by the error, but sometimes when
things happen like that, it opens the door."

Jeromy Burnitz drove in the first run with a single over left
fielder Jay Payton's head -- after Adrian Beltre and Ron Coomer both
popped out to shortstop with runners at the corners. Cabrera
followed with a two-run double inside third base, helping the
Dodgers complete their second three-game sweep of the Rockies at
home this season.

It's the first time in their 11-year history that the Rockies
went 0-for-Los Angeles. The defeat was the eighth straight on the
road for the Rockies, whose 20-50 road record is the second-worst
in the majors. They finished the month 13-17 -- their worst August
ever.

The Rockies, who lost 5-0 Saturday night, have been shut out in
consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 30-31 of last
season at San Diego. The Dodgers recorded back-to-back shutouts for
the first time since July 1-2, 2002, at Arizona.

Colorado hasn't scored in 23 consecutive innings since the
fourth inning Friday night, when Payton hit his second two-run
homer of the game.

"They look good," Johnson said. "Even though they've had some
tough injuries to some key hitters in their lineup, they've still
been able to battle, and without a doubt, their pitching is
definitely keeping them where they need to be."

The Rockies loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs, but
Rickey Henderson sprinted into short left field to grab Rene Reyes'
broken-bat fly.

Game notes
The winner the Gagne lookalike contest was 25-year-old John
Ricondo of Sherman Oaks, Calif. ... Although rosters expand Sept.
1, the Rockies didn't plan on calling up any players until they get
home from their two-game series at San Francisco. ... Oliver has
struck out more than four only once in his last 21 starts -- when he
fanned nine Dodgers in an 8-3 win on July 23. ... Gagne and Gordon
each blew a save on the national stage during their respective
streaks -- Gordon in Game 4 of the 1998 AL division series against
Cleveland, and Gagne in this year's All-Star game.