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Lawrence's gem officially eliminates Dodgers

9/26/2003

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Another season ended for the Los Angeles
Dodgers short of the playoffs.

The Dodgers were eliminated from the NL wild-card race as Brian
Lawrence threw seven shutout innings to lead the San Diego Padres
over Los Angeles 6-1 Thursday night.

Los Angeles needed to win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive
after Florida clinched at least a tie for the wild card with an 8-4
win over Philadelphia.

But the Dodgers, who have failed to reach the playoffs since
1996, were no match for Lawrence and three Padres relievers.

"To be this close two years in a row and fall just short is
frustrating," Dodgers center fielder Dave Roberts said.

"The run shortage has been overwhelming for us," Los Angeles
manager Jim Tracy said. "To try and win 1-0, 2-1 every night is
darn near impossible to do."

The Dodgers scored two runs or less for the 60th time this
season.

Hideo Nomo (16-13) kept Los Angeles close, allowing only a home
run to Xavier Nady in the first inning as the Dodgers trailed 1-0
going into the bottom of the eighth.

But then the Padres broke loose against Nomo and Guillermo Mota,
scoring five runs in the inning.

"The spoiler role is not anything we're looking at," said San
Diego manager Bruce Bochy. "We're just out here trying to win
games."

Lawrence (10-15) gave up seven hits, struck out three and walked
one.

Khalil Greene had a two-run single and Ramon Vazquez and Gary
Bennett added RBI singles in the Padres' eighth.

Kevin Walker, Rod Beck and Trevor Hoffman finished up for the
Padres. Hoffman allowed a home run to Jeromy Burnitz for the only
Los Angeles run.

Nady's home run, his eighth, was his first homer since May 20 at
Milwaukee, a span of 185 at-bats. After a midseason slump, Nady
spent more than a month in the minors.

Lawrence pitched out of the one big jam he faced with one out
and the bases loaded in the sixth.

Burnitz hit a hard grounder down the first-base line and Phil
Nevin made a diving, backhanded stop. Nevin got up and forced out
Paul Lo Duca at home for the second out, and Alex Cora then bounced
back to Lawrence.

"It was more of a reaction than anything," Nevin said. "I
turned around and didn't think Lo Duca was running that hard."

Game notes
After the final game between the teams at Qualcomm Stadium,
San Diego finished 145-143 at home against Los Angeles. The Padres
are moving into a new downtown ballpark next season.