Series: Game 3 of 4

LA Dodgers leads 2-1 (as of 9/29)

Game 1: Monday, September 27
LA Dodgers8
Game 2: Tuesday, September 28
LA Dodgers5
Game 3: Wednesday, September 29
LA Dodgers1
Game 4: Thursday, September 30
in 11
LA Dodgers4

Rockies 4

(68-90, 30-47 away)

Dodgers 1

(91-67, 47-30 home)

    10:10 PM ET, September 29, 2004

    Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California 

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    COL 000001003 4 7 1
    LA 001000000 1 3 0

    W: B. Fuentes (2-3)

    L: Y. Brazoban (4-2)

    S: C. Tsao (1)

    Burnitz starts ninth-inning rally

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Colorado Rockies found a way to protect a lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. But there was still music playing in the losers' clubhouse afterward.

    Jeromy Burnitz's RBI single with one out in the ninth inning sparked a three-run rally, and the Rockies beat Los Angeles 4-1 Wednesday night to slow the Dodgers' drive to their first playoff berth in eight years.

    However, the Dodgers' magic number for winning the NL West dropped to two when San Francisco lost 4-3 in 10 innings at San Diego, prompting a more positive attitude than usual in a losing dressing room.

    The Dodgers lead the Giants by three games with four remaining.

    "It was a big loss for them," the Dodgers' Shawn Green said. "Obviously, it would have been great to win tonight. But it's one game off the schedule, which is nice.

    "We'd obviously like to end this thing before they get into town, but we've got to win tomorrow and they have to lose. Otherwise, we've got to take care of them this weekend."

    The Dodgers and Giants begin a three-game season-ending series Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

    Los Angeles wasted another in a long line of outstanding outings by Odalis Perez, who allowed four hits and one run in eight innings while walking two and striking out six. Perez has a franchise-record 18 no-decisions and has allowed one run in seven of his last 14.

    "What can I do? Just go out there and pitch the best game I can," said Perez, who has a 7-6 record and a 3.25 ERA in 31 starts. The Dodgers are 11-7 in Perez's no-decisions.

    Before the game, Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley was suspended for the final five games of the regular season by Major League Baseball because of his tantrum in the eighth inning Tuesday night. A contrite Bradley said he will seek help to deal with his anger problem and wouldn't appeal the suspension.

    "We need Milton Bradley in the lineup because he's one of the best guys hitting from the right side and the left side," Perez said. "In a situation like this -- late September -- that's not the best idea. He shouldn't do that to this team.

    "We've been going through slumps, but we recovered and we're leading the division by three games. So it was not a smart thing for him to do."

    Burnitz's single off Mike Venafro drove in Todd Helton, who drew a one-out walk from Yhency Brazoban (4-2) and went to second on Vinny Castilla's single.

    The runners moved up on right fielder Green's throw to the plate. Pinch-hitter Choo Freeman followed with a grounder up the middle that deflected off Venafro's glove into shallow left-center for a two-run double.

    "They're playing for a lot more than we are, but a win's a win and we'll take it any way we can get it," Helton said.

    Brian Fuentes (2-3) pitched a perfect eighth to earn the victory -- and there was no late rally for the Dodgers this time. Chin-hui Tsao worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his first major league save.

    The Rockies retired their final 11 batters and snapped a five-game losing streak.

    The 23-year-old Tsao saved a game for Taiwan in the Olympics last month.

    "The first save of my life," he said with a smile. "This one was more important."

    The loss was just the second in seven games for the Dodgers, who rallied late for wins over the Rockies in Colorado earlier this month and two more earlier this week.

    The Rockies have blown 33 saves this season to tie the major league record set by Texas two years ago. They have 36 saves overall -- 35 by Shawn Chacon and the one by Tsao.

    The Dodgers scored their run in the third off rookie Jeff Francis when Perez singled, went to second on an infield out and scored on Steve Finley's two-out infield single and a throwing error by second baseman Aaron Miles.

    The Rockies tied it in the sixth off Perez on a single by Miles, an infield out and Helton's two-out, RBI double off the left-field fence. Helton has 16 hits in 35 lifetime at-bats against Perez.

    Francis, a 23-year-old left-hander making his seventh big league start, allowed three hits and one unearned run in six innings. He walked three and struck out three.

    Game notes

    Dodgers closer Eric Gagne, who has 45 saves in 47 chances, was unavailable Wednesday night, but manager Jim Tracy hopes he can pitch Thursday. Tracy said Gagne felt stiffness in his right shoulder when he played catch Tuesday and had an MRI, which revealed no structural damage. Gagne had a cortisone injection. ... Dodgers 3B Adrian Beltre singled in the sixth for his 200th hit of the season -- the first Dodgers player to reach 200 since Mike Piazza had 201 in 1997. Only 11 Dodgers players have had 200 or more hits since the team moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. ... Colorado's Todd Greene grounded into double plays in the second, fifth and seventh.


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