Perez came out swinging Sunday after the Dodgers lost a
meaningless regular-season finale to the San Francisco Giants 10-0.
"If we beat St. Louis, we're going to win the World Series,"
Perez said. "If we beat them, this is it: Dodgers champions."
Perez, 7-6 with a franchise-record 18 no-decisions and a 3.25
ERA, will oppose Woody Williams (11-8) on Tuesday in St. Louis to
begin the best-of-5 divisional series.
The NL Central champion Cardinals won a major league-leading 105
games to 93 for the Dodgers, but Perez said that doesn't mean
"We don't care. Those games don't count anymore," the
27-year-old left-hander said. "Nobody's won any games in the
playoffs. They are not playing well. It's a big advantage for us.
We are (confident), this team is good enough to beat them."
Sunday's game became meaningless for the Dodgers a day earlier,
when Steve Finley's grand slam capped a seven-run, ninth-inning
rally and gave them a 7-3 victory over the Giants and the NL West
The Cardinals, meanwhile, clinched a playoff berth two weeks
"I think it's an advantage to play meaningful games to the end.
We'll see what happens," said the Dodgers' Shawn Green. "I think
we'll be a lot more relaxed than we've been the last week. It's a
new start. The hardest part is just to get there."
While the Dodgers traveled to St. Louis afterward, the Giants
headed home for the offseason -- their fate sealed when Houston beat
Colorado 5-3 earlier Sunday to clinch the wild card. The crowd of
54,968 at Dodger Stadium cheered when the final score was posted
with San Francisco batting in the fourth inning and leading 2-0.
As he promised beforehand, Giants manager Felipe Alou removed
Barry Bonds and several other San Francisco regulars shortly after
the Rockies-Astros game ended.
Bonds, who popped out and walked, won his second NL batting
title in three seasons and shattered the on-base percentage and
walks record he set two years ago.
The 40-year-old outfielder hit .362 and finished with a .610
on-base percentage, topping his old mark of .582. Bonds walked 232
times, 34 more than the record he set in 2002, and his 120
intentional walks obliterated the previous record of 68, also set
by him two years ago.
With 45 homers, Bonds raised his career total to 703, trailing
only Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).
"Now you guys can go to the Dodgers and the Angels and the
Yankees and Boston and Houston and go bother them," Bonds told
reporters. "We controlled our own fate, we lost yesterday. That's
the bottom line. I mean, you're upset, but you move on. It's life.
It's baseball. Just turn it off and go to the next thing."
San Francisco's Jason Schmidt (18-7) allowed two hits in six
dominant innings, walking two and striking out nine. He finished
the season with 251 strikeouts, breaking the San Francisco record
of 248 set by Juan Marichal in 1963.
Schmidt pitched hitless ball until Jose Hernandez hit a one-out
double in the fifth.
"I wish the Dodgers the best," Schmidt said. "They played
solid baseball all the way through. The whole goal is to win and go
to the playoffs and the World Series. And when you don't do it, it
really is tough."
Alou approached Dodgers manager Jim Tracy on the field after the
"I told him best of luck. This is the first time I'm ever
pulling for another manager," Alou said.
Tracy was Alou's bench coach for four years while Alou managed
the Montreal Expos in the 1990s.
"The important thing today was to protect all the investments
that you are taking to St. Louis," said Tracy, who treated the
finale like an exhibition game.
Durham's RBI single in the fourth and Marquis Grissom's two-run
homer in the fifth, his 22nd, made it 5-0. Both players came out
after those at-bats.
Deivi Cruz hit a two-run homer off Edwin Jackson in the sixth,
Jason Ellison added an RBI single off Jackson in the seventh and
hit a two-run homer -- his first in the majors -- off Scott Stewart
in the eighth to complete the scoring.
Ishii allowed seven hits and five runs, three earned, in five
Finley received a standing ovation before his only at-bat in the
first. Then, when Adrian Beltre came to the plate, the fans
chanted, "MVP, MVP, MVP."
Both players were removed after taking the field in the top of
the second, giving the fans another chance to cheer them.
The Dodgers' home attendance of 3,488,283 this year was the
third-highest in franchise history -- behind the totals in 1982 and
1983 -- and ninth-highest in NL history. ... Durham's homer was his
ninth to begin a game this season and the 34th of his career, tying
him with Devon White for fifth place on baseball's all-time list.
... Green was a late scratch because of what manager Jim Tracy
called a bad bruise above his right ankle sustained Friday night,
when Green fouled a pitch off his leg. Green said he was fine and
could have played.