LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Even when the Dodgers' season seemed to be
heading south, Brett Tomko was sure they would turn it around.
"We went through a very trying stretch. And to bounce back the
way we have, that's great," Tomko said Friday night after he
pitched a perfect eighth inning in Los Angeles' 3-2 victory over
the San Francisco Giants.
"We could easily have given up and coasted when we were six or
seven games back. But we knew that wasn't going to happen. There
are too many guys here who wouldn't let that happen."
The Dodgers lost 13 of 14 after the All-Star break and were 7½
games behind division leader San Diego on July 26. Then Los Angeles
reeled off an 11-game winning streak. After having that string
snapped earlier this week, the Dodgers have won two in a row.
The surge has carried them to a 1½-game lead over San Diego and
Arizona, both of whom lost on Friday night.
"We like the way things are going right now," Los Angeles
manager Grady Little said.
Mark Hendrickson pitched seven strong innings and Julio Lugo
provided the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth to
carry the Dodgers past the rival Giants, who have lost three
straight and 14 of 17.
Jeff Kent added a solo homer for Los Angeles.
Barry Bonds went 1-for-1, walked three times and singled home
the Giants' second run. He has been stuck for a week on career home
run No. 723 in his chase for Hank Aaron's record of 755. The
slugger's last homer, his 15th of the year, was Aug. 4 at home
Lugo followed with his sacrifice fly to deep center off Brian
Hendrickson gave up two runs and scattered 10 hits in seven
innings. He walked four and struck out three. Tomko (8-6) worked
the eighth and Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for his second
save in four chances.
The Giants stranded nine runners, continuing a trend.
"We had opportunities tonight," said Shea Hillenbrand, who
went 0-for-4. "I left five guys on base. I can't speak for the
team, but I haven't been doing as well this year.
"It's one of those things I need to work on and continue to get
better at. I'm expecting a little bit too much out of myself and
pressing too much instead of letting things happen."
Bonds drove in Omar Vizquel from third with a sharp single to
left in the fifth inning to tie it at 2. The RBI, Bonds' 49th of
the year, gave him 1,902 for his career -- one behind his godfather,
Willie Mays, who's No. 7 on the list.
The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead on Kent's 11th home run, leading off
the fourth inning against Noah Lowry.
Lowry allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Hendrickson walked Bonds to load the bases in the third after
getting ahead of him 0-2. Durham followed with a single that drove
in Randy Winn and tied it at 1. Durham also singled after
Hendrickson walked Bonds with two outs in the seventh, but Ethier
threw Durham out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double.
Nomar Garciaparra's sacrifice fly put the Dodgers up 1-0 in the
San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said he is taking RHP
Jamey Wright out of the rotation. Wright has lost seven of his last
eight decision and is 6-10 overall, with a 5.18 ERA. RHP Brad
Hennessey will come out of the bullpen to join the rotation and
start Monday, which was Wright's scheduled spot, against San Diego.
Hennessey is 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 25 appearances, including six