<
>

Dodgers' West magic number is three

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Milton Bradley snapped. Then, aided by the
horrendous Colorado Rockies' bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers
pulled off perhaps their most improbable victory of the season.

Steve Finley's two-run single capped a five-run rally in the
ninth inning that gave the Dodgers a 5-4 victory over the Rockies
on Tuesday night, enabling them to lower magic number for winning
the NL West championship to three. They lead San Francisco by three
games with five remaining.

"It's the most unbelievable comeback I've ever been a part of
in the close to 30 years that I've been in the game," Dodgers
manager Jim Tracy said. "I really don't have words to express what
I just witnessed."

Colorado's Vinny Castilla did.

"Unbelievable. Pitchers couldn't throw strikes," he said. "If
you can't win this game, what game can you win? It's
unbelievable."

The Rockies led 4-0 entering the ninth thanks mainly to the
three-hit pitching of Jamey Wright and three relievers and a
two-run error by Bradley that led to the Los Angeles outfielder's
ejection.

Shawn Chacon struck out Olmedo Saenz to start the ninth, but
walked Alex Cora, pinch-hitters Robin Ventura and Jose Hernandez,
and Cesar Izturis to force in a run.

Tim Harikkala (6-6) relieved and gave up a two-run double to
Jayson Werth and Finley's single, a grounder between first and
second.

"My mechanics were messed up," a disconsolate Chacon said. "I
don't know what it was. This one hurts."

Elmer Dessens (2-6), who retired the Rockies in order in the top
of the ninth, was the winner.

Bradley was thrown out of the game after a fan threw a plastic
bottle at him following his two-out error and subsequent RBI single
by Brad Hawpe that capped a three-run, eighth-inning rally by the
Rockies.

Bradley couldn't handle pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney's liner with
the bases loaded, allowing two runs to score and giving the Rockies
a 3-0 lead.

Bradley, whose temper led the Cleveland Indians to trade him to
the Dodgers before the season, picked up the bottle, left his
position and angrily approached the stands -- appearing to yell at a
fan. He then slammed the bottle into the front row of the stands.

Several Dodgers players came out to right field and tried to
calm down Bradley, who was arguing with umpire Jim Joyce and was
ejected.

As Bradley walked from right field to the Dodgers' dugout, he
took his jersey and hat off. With the crowd behind the dugout
booing, Bradley gestured with palms up, urging the fans on.

The game was delayed for about four minutes.

"Needless to say, the incident is unfortunate," team spokesman
Gary Miereanu said after the game. "We will have further comment
once we have ascertained the facts."

Bradley was suspended for four games earlier this season
following a temper tantrum in which he threw a bag of balls on the
field after being ejected.

The umpires refused comment after the game.

"It's a very unfortunate thing," Tracy said. "Obviously,
Milton let his emotions get the best of him tonight, and I feel
terrible about that. I think that fans -- our fans, anyone's fans --
they pay money to come to the game. And jeering and getting on you
is a part of it. We've all been a part of that. That's part of the
game. Unfortunately, he allowed his emotions to spill over on the
other side of the wall, and that's something you can't let
happen."

Regarding a possible suspension by major league baseball, Tracy
said it was out of his control. And the manager said he didn't want
to speak immediately concerning possible disciplinary action by the
team.

"There's no excuse for either side," Finley said. "I
guarantee you, nobody feels worse about this than Milton."

Bradley was unavailable for comment.

"He's a passionate guy," Finley said. "He got a tough ball in
the lights -- I saw it coming. The fans were all over him. Somebody
threw a bottle at him. That's inexcusable."

Rookie Garrett Atkins gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead by hitting a
two-out, RBI single off Kazuhisa Ishii in the first. Ishii pitched
six hitless innings after that.

The Rockies loaded the bases in the eighth off relievers Duaner
Sanchez, Mike Venafro and Giovanni Carrara, who pitched to Sweeney
and Hawpe.

Five of the first eight Los Angeles batters reached base before
Wright settled down, retiring the next 10. Izturis broke the string
by drawing a one-out walk in the fifth, but Wright picked him off
first.

Before being lifted for a pinch hitter, Ishii gave up two hits
while walking four and striking out nine -- one below his career
high.

After hitting Hawpe to start the second, he retired 18 of the
next 21 batters -- nine on strikes.

Game notes
Ishii had struggled in his previous three starts, allowing
10 hits, 11 earned runs and 11 walks in 10 2-3 innings. ... The
Dodgers lead the NL with 51 comeback wins -- second-most in
franchise history. The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers had 52
come-from-behind victories. ... Adrian Beltre's 63 multihit games
rank third in the NL and are the most by a Los Angeles player since
Steve Sax had 64 in 1986.

------

On the Net:

Colorado Rockies: http://rockies.mlb.com

Los Angeles Dodgers: http://dodgers.mlb.com

Major League Baseball: http://www.mlb.com