Gagne knew his two innings of work had resulted in more than
just another save. The feared closer brought order to another crazy
game between rivals -- and he put Los Angeles firmly in control of
the NL West race with a 7-4 victory over the Giants on Sunday.
Alex Cora homered and drove in two runs for the second straight
day, and the Dodgers moved 2½ games ahead of the Giants by taking
two of three weekend games in San Francisco.
Barry Bonds' 703rd homer gave the Giants a third-inning lead,
but Gagne and Cora were among several heroes for the Dodgers, who
manufactured more than enough runs to win it.
"We're in great shape right now," said Gagne, who got six outs
for his 45th save in 47 chances. "We've still got to win some
games, but it looks good."
Manager Jim Tracy struggled to remember every one of his players
who made a key contribution. Shawn Green played a big role: A day
after sitting out in observance of Yom Kippur, he drew a
bases-loaded walk in the fifth to put the Dodgers ahead.
"It's right in front of us," said Green, who walked four
times. "We've just got to have a solid last week of the season,
and it's ours. It's pretty cut and dried. ... It was hard to not
play yesterday in a big game, but today was just as exciting."
The Dodgers control their destiny entering their final seven
home games of the season -- four against Colorado, and the last
three against San Francisco.
Jayson Werth hit an early two-run homer off Brett Tomko, who
lost for the first time in 12 starts since July 29. Jeff Weaver
(13-12) allowed nine hits over six innings for his first win in six
starts, narrowly keeping Los Angeles on top until his bullpen could
The Giants put two runners on in the ninth when Bonds beat out
an infield single and J.T. Snow walked, but Gagne struck out Cruz
to end it.
"I knew (Gagne) was available for two innings," Tracy said.
"I tried to build the game around getting the outs we needed to
get to the eighth."
Cruz had three hits and an RBI for the Giants, who wasted a
chance to reclaim the lead in the wild-card race from the Cubs. In
its final home series of the regular season, San Francisco (87-69)
squandered several scoring chances and remained a half-game behind
"This was the most mentally challenging and exhausting game
since I've been here," said Snow, who joined the Giants in 1997.
"The whole series was that way. We'd go up, they'd go up. We just
have to play better, that's all there is to it. We're doing the
chasing, and we just have to play better."
Bonds was walked seven straight times by the Dodgers before his
homer. He drew a walk in his final plate appearance Friday night
before receiving five free passes Saturday and another in the first
Weaver struck out Bonds in the fifth. The slugger reached on an
error in the seventh.
After Saturday's tight game was decided by Pedro Feliz's
eighth-inning grand slam, the series finale also was tense. Both
teams scored two runs in the first inning, and Cora's RBI single
tied it in the fourth after Bonds' homer.
Los Angeles' fifth-inning rally got an assist from third base
umpire Doug Eddings, who called Cesar Izturis safe on a tag play
with one out. Giants manager Felipe Alou argued the call, and
several television replays appeared to show Izturis was out.
Tomko (11-7) had six strikeouts, but was constantly in trouble.
He couldn't escape the fifth, leaving after Adrian Beltre drew a
walk to load the bases. Tomko yelled at Eddings on the way to the
"That call at third was the difference," Tomko said. "If we
get that call, I get out of the inning and I keep pitching. It
Green then walked on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Wayne Franklin.
Cora led off the sixth with a shot off Franklin, his 10th of the
Los Angeles led 6-3 in the seventh when Feliz singled and
advanced to third on Cora's error on Bonds' grounder. Feliz scored
on Snow's groundout, but Giovanni Carrara retired Cruz and struck
out pinch-hitter Edgardo Alfonzo to strand Bonds at third.
Giants RHP Jerome Williams, out since July 30 following
elbow surgery, will start against San Diego on Thursday. ... The
game was briefly delayed in the second inning when third base came
loose. ... A.J. Pierzynski made the final out in three of the
Giants' first five innings, stranding four runners and grounding
into his major league-leading 25th double play in the fifth. Giants
fans cheered when Alou pulled him from the game in the sixth on a