LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jim Tracy swears he harbors no ill will
toward the Los Angeles Dodgers. That being said, he made no attempt
to hide the joy he felt after beating his former team for a second
NL batting leader Freddy Sanchez matched a career high with four
hits, Shawn Chacon outpitched Greg Maddux, and the Pittsburgh
Pirates played the spoiler's role again Wednesday night with a 6-4
victory over the Dodgers.
"That was a game with obviously a lot at stake for the Dodgers.
And I say that only because it's also great for us," Tracy said.
"For our young players to be exposed to this type of atmosphere,
with what is at stake and to be able to play in an environment like
this, it's just a tremendous arena for our kids to be in at this
time of the year."
Tracy managed the Dodgers for five years before parting ways
with them following last season.
"I'm sure it brings back a lot of memories for him when he
comes back into town," said Jose Bautista, whose solo homer in the
third put the Pirates ahead for good. "He used to manage here and
they won a lot of games when he was here, so it's got to be a good
feeling for him."
Los Angeles lost for the 11th time in 17 games and fell into a
tie with Philadelphia for the NL wild-card lead. The Dodgers
remained one-half game behind the NL West-leading San Diego Padres,
who lost to Arizona 8-2.
"We know the situation we're in. We're fully aware of what's
happening elsewhere," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "We've
got to take care of business ourselves."
The loss was the second straight for the Dodgers since their
dramatic 11-10, 10-inning victory over the Padres, when they hit
four consecutive solo homers in the ninth to tie the game and won
on a two-run shot by Nomar Garciaparra in the 10th.
"That game made history. Right now, it is history," Little
said. "We've got to get all parts of our game working again."
Sanchez had two doubles and two singles in five at-bats in
Pittsburgh's fifth consecutive win and 15th in the last 21 games.
"He's got that magic wand right now," Little said.
The four-hit game was the fourth for Sanchez, who raised his
average to .346. Jack Wilson had three singles and scored three
runs for the Pirates.
The Phillies, Padres and Dodgers are in a three-team race for two NL playoff spots. Plus, Rich Harden and Pedro Martinez are starting today. How important are they to their respective teams?
Chacon (2-3), who allowed 10 homers and 20 earned runs in his
previous 29 innings, limited the Dodgers to six hits and four runs,
two earned, in 6 2/3 innings.
Salomon Torres, pitching in his 90th game this season, got four
outs for his 10th save in 12 chances. With runners on second and
third and one out in the ninth, Torres struck out pinch-hitter Matt
Kemp, walked Garciaparra and went to a full count on Jeff Kent
before striking him out on a 3-2 splitter.
Maddux, who has 331 career victories, allowed seven hits and
three runs in five innings while walking one, striking out five and
throwing 87 pitches. The 40-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a
1.76 ERA in six starts at Dodger Stadium this season -- one with the
Cubs, and five since being traded to the Dodgers.
"I just got beat, really, threw some pitches you expect to get
outs with and you don't, threw a couple they just hit," Maddux
said. "It just didn't work."
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead off Maddux (13-14) in the third on
Bautista's 15th homer, a two-out single by Wilson and an RBI-double
by Sanchez. They got another run in the fifth on two-out singles by
Wilson, Sanchez and Jason Bay.
The Dodgers drew within one in their half of the fifth, getting
two unearned runs thanks to an error by third baseman Sanchez on
pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit's run-scoring infield out, which was
followed by Rafael Furcal's RBI triple.
The Pirates scored their final three runs against Aaron Sele in
the seventh on an RBI single by Wilson, catcher Russell Martin's
throwing error when Wilson and Sanchez pulled off a double steal,
and a ground-rule double by Xavier Nady.
Pinch hitter J.D. Drew hit a two-out, two-run homer in the
bottom of the inning to complete the scoring. Furcal followed with
a single to chase Chacon, and John Grabow walked pinch-hitter
Olmedo Saenz before Matt Capps retired Garciaparra on a pop up to
end the inning.
Russell Martin Sr., father of the Dodgers' catcher,
performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" on his saxophone. ... The
Pirates have a major league-best 14-3 record in one-run games since
the All-Star break. They had a 30-60 record entering the break, but
are 35-27 since. ... Drew, who struck out in each of his four
at-bats Tuesday night, wasn't in the starting lineup. He leads the
Dodgers with 90 RBI and 81 walks. ... Torres became the fourth
pitcher to appear in 90 games in a season, joining Kent Tekulve,
who did it three times, Mike Marshall, who did it twice, and Wayne
Granger. ... The Dodgers have seven pinch-hit homers this season.