Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Dodgers leads 1-0 (as of 5/25)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 25
LA Dodgers5Final
Game 2: Wednesday, May 26
LA Dodgers1Final
in 12
Game 3: Thursday, May 27
LA Dodgers1Final

Dodgers 5

(24-19, 13-9 away)

Brewers 3

(22-21, 11-10 home)

    8:05 PM ET, May 25, 2004

    Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

    123456789 R H E
    LA 004000001 5 9 2
    MIL 001011000 3 9 1

    W: J. Lima (3-1)

    L: V. Santos (2-1)

    S: E. Gagne (11)

    Cora's catch in fifth ends threat

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Even when the Los Angeles Dodgers were losing nine times in 10 games, second baseman Alex Cora was steady in the field and at the plate.

    "He's has delivered a lot of clutch hits for us this season while we've tried to get some other guys going," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "He's done a terrific job and continues to do things both offensively and defensively to help us win games."

    Cora gave a perfect example Tuesday night. He ignited one big inning with his bat and snuffed another with his glove in the Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Cora's single sparked a four-run third inning, and his diving grab with the bases loaded ended Milwaukee's threat in the fifth as the Dodgers won for just the second time in 11 games.

    Milwaukee stranded 12 runners, including eight in scoring position. Trailing 4-3 in the eighth, the Brewers put a runner at third with two outs, but Guillermo Mota struck out Junior Spivey to end the inning, and Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save, his 74th in a row but first since May 12.

    That was the longest streak of Gagne's career without a save since he became the Dodgers' closer in 2002, but he wasn't bothered by it.

    "Not really, I was just eager to get a win," he said.

    Miller Park was just the place.

    Los Angeles, which has held at least a share of first place in the NL West since April 14, won its sixth straight game at Miller Park, where the Dodgers are 8-2 overall.

    In four innings, the Brewers' Victor Santos (2-1) gave up four runs on four hits -- all in the third inning, when catcher Gary Bennett committed a costly throwing error.

    After Cora, who went 3-for-4, led off the third with a line-drive single over leaping shortstop Bill Hall, Bennett fielded pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii's soft-rolling bunt and threw the ball into center field, putting runners at the corners.

    Cora got down to second base so quickly that even a good throw might not have gotten him.

    "The ball was only three feet out in front of home plate, if that," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "For me, it was the right play. We just threw it low."

    And wide right.

    "When I came up, I thought I had a chance and I just made a terrible throw," Bennett said. "And obviously it cost us."

    Cesar Izturis and Shawn Green -- moved by Dodgers manager Jim Tracy from fifth to second in the batting order in hopes of helping him shake a season-long slump -- followed with RBI singles to right that skipped through the infield with first baseman Lyle Overbay holding the runner on.

    Milton Bradley's double-play ground ball scored another run, and Paul Lo Duca added a run-scoring double to make it 4-0.

    In the bottom of the inning, the Brewers had a chance to tie it with one swing, but Geoff Jenkins whiffed on three straight pitches after Ishii walked the first three batters. Overbay followed with a sacrifice fly to the track in left-center, scoring one run, but Brady Clark hit an inning-ending groundout.

    Clark's infield single in the fifth scored Spivey from third base and chased Ishii one out shy of qualifying for a win. Keith Ginter, who had two doubles already off Ishii, was on deck.

    "I think it was the right decision to take me out at that time," Ishii said. "As pitchers, naturally we like to go longer into the game. I just think I have to become a pitcher where he can rely on me, so I can earn his trust."

    Ishii, who allowed two runs, four hits and six walks in 4 2-3 innings, was replaced by Jose Lima, who walked Ginter on four pitches. That loaded the bases for Bennett, who grounded out to second with Cora's diving play preserving the Dodgers' 4-2 lead.

    "In that situation, you just have to knock the ball down," Cora said. "Luckily, I made the stop and I had enough time to throw to first and get the out."

    Lima (3-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the win although he allowed Spivey's RBI single in the sixth that made it 4-3. Cora singled off Matt Wise in the ninth and scored on a single by Izturis.

    Game notes

    Corey Hart nearly homered in his first major league at-bat for Milwaukee, hooking a pitch down the left-field line into the second deck before striking out in the fourth. After the game, he was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis so the Brewers could activate LHP Chris Capuano (thigh) off the DL to start Wednesday night. ... Dodgers OF Dave Roberts (hamstring) left for a two-day rehabilitation stint at Single-A Vero Beach.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press