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Los Angeles 2, San Diego 1 (11 innings)

9/25/2003

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are doing their best to
make it a race.

Pinch-hitter Jolbert Cabrera doubled home the go-ahead run in
the 11th inning, lifting Los Angeles over the San Diego Padres 2-1
Wednesday night.

It was the second straight win in the final at-bat for the
Dodgers, who remained 3{ games behind Florida in the NL wild-card
race. Los Angeles has five games left and the Marlins have four.

"We're battling every single day," Dodgers closer Eric Gagne
said. "It's not easy, but we're getting it done."

The Dodgers realize that with so few games remaining, they have
no margin for error.

"The one thing we can control is ourselves, go out there, win
games and stay positive," Gagne said.

Gagne finished off the game with his 55th save, tying John
Smoltz's NL record and good for second all-time behind Bobby
Thigpen's 57 for the Chicago White Sox in 1990.

"It's not really about breaking a record," Gagne said. "It's
just going out and getting a win. I get a save, it's a win."

Gagne, who combined with five pitchers on a seven-hitter, also
extended his major league record for consecutive saves to 63,
dating to last year.

Paul Shuey (6-4) threw a perfect 10th for Los Angeles, which
managed just five hits.

Cabrera looped a ball into shallow right field off Mike Matthews
that eluded the diving Gary Matthews Jr., allowing Dave Roberts to
score.

"I just wanted to put the ball in play with one out," Cabrera
said. "With the infield in, I was just trying to hit the ball out
of the infield."

Roberts drew a leadoff walk against Jay Witasick (3-6). After
Paul Lo Duca lined out to right field, Shawn Green hit a high
chopper over Witasick's head.

Third baseman Sean Burroughs and shortstop Ramon Vazquez both
went for the ball. When neither fielded the ball, Green was safe at
first and Roberts went all the way to third, chasing Witasick.

Cabrera then delivered.

"That late in the game, you just want to make something
happen," Roberts said. "I saw them converge and I decided to take
a chance and it paid off."

The Dodgers missed an opportunity to score in the 10th when
Witasick struck out pinch-hitter Joe Thurston with two outs and
runners on second and third.

Green put the Dodgers ahead with a solo homer in the first for
the game's only run through six innings.

Kevin Brown pitched six shutout innings before the Padres tied
the score at 1-all in the seventh inning.

Matthews led off the inning with a single, but was thrown out by
Lo Duca trying to steal second. Mark Kotsay followed with a triple
to the gap in right field. Vazquez then tied the score with an RBI
single.

"We had a couple of chances, we just couldn't get it done,"
Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.

Ben Howard retired 19 of the 20 batters he faced after Green's
home run. Howard struck out five and did not walk a batter. He
allowed one run on two hits in seven innings.

"I think looking back on it now, it wasn't such a bad pitch,"
Howard said of the home run to Green. "I had him 1-and-2 and just
didn't get the pitch in far enough."

Brown, 10-5 lifetime against San Diego, gave up one run on five
hits in seven innings.

Game notes
Gagne's last blown save was on Aug. 26, 2002, against
Arizona. ... The Dodgers scored two runs or less for the 60th time.
... With one game remaining between the teams at Qualcomm Stadium,
San Diego is 144-143 at home against Los Angeles. The Padres are
moving into a new downtown ballpark next season. ... Vazquez had
four hits, tying a career high.