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Perez wins fourth straight start for Dodgers

8/21/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Once again, daring baserunning boosted the
Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dave Roberts made a mad dash from first base on Cesar Izturis'
second RBI double of the game and Odalis Perez outlasted Montreal's
Zach Day to win his fourth straight start as the Dodgers won 2-1 on
Thursday.

On Wednesday night, Alex Cora took a chance and scored the tying
run in the ninth inning on a slowly hit grounder. The Dodgers went
on to beat Montreal in the 10th.

This time, the score was tied at 1 in the eighth when Roberts
beat out a bunt single with two outs. Izturis followed with a line
drive into the right-field corner, and Roberts never broke stride
as third-base coach Glenn Hoffman waved him home.

"I was just running for my life and hoping Hoffy would send
me," said Roberts, showing no signs of the hamstring problems that
landed him on the disabled list twice this season. "The way we've
been going, you've got to push the envelope and force the opponent
to make a play."

Second baseman Henry Mateo took the relay from Vladimir Guerrero
and made a perfect throw to the plate. But Roberts and the ball got
there simultaneously, and the ball rolled away from catcher Brian
Schneider.

"I saw their third-base coach wave him, so I knew it would be a
close play at the plate," Schneider said. "I was in position, but
the throw short-hopped me. Once I turned to get the ball I lost
sight of Roberts and didn't know how far away he was, and I never
had control of the ball. It's a tough way to lose."

Guerrero hit his 226th home run for Montreal, passing Andre
Dawson as the Expos' career leader. Guerrero's third-inning drive,
his 17th this season, landed halfway up the left-field pavilion, an
estimated 454 feet from home plate.

Guerrero was 3-for-4 against Perez after starting the day
2-for-15 against him.

"In the past, I got him out with pitches up and in and down and
away. But he made the adjustment and hit the ball hard," Perez
said. "The home run pitch was supposed to be a sinker down and
away, but it stayed on the inner half of the plate. He's one of the
best hitters in the game, so if you make a mistake against that
guy, and he's going to make you pay for it."

Perez (10-9) allowed nine hits in eight innings, struck out six
and walked none. All of Montreal's hits came in the first five
innings.

"We had three or four chances to get runs and couldn't get the
big hits -- or even a sacrifice fly," Expos manager Frank Robinson
said.

"It just leaves no margin of error for the pitcher. He has to
tightrope it out there, and you just can't expect him to do it. To
get the kind of pitching we got in the last two days and lose two
ballgames, it's a little hard to take," he said.

Eric Gagne got three outs for his 42nd save, extending his
streak of consecutive saves converted to 50 -- four shy of Tom
Gordon's record.

Day (7-5) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He
has given up just six earned runs in 32 2-3 innings over his last
five starts. Facing the Dodgers for the first time, the
right-hander retired his first 12 batters before Adrian Beltre
singled leading off the fifth.

Los Angeles tied it in the sixth after Perez led off with his
third hit in 45 at-bats. He was forced at second on a grounder by
Roberts, who stole second and scored when Izturis doubled to right
field over Guerrero's outstretched glove.

"He was playing in a little bit because Roberts was at second
and he would have to throw him out at home plate if I hit a single
out there. But I hit the ball very good," Izturis said.

Right fielder Shawn Green, the only Dodger to play in each of
the team's first 125 games, sat out because of a stiff neck that
has bothered him since Tuesday. The injury forced him out of
Wednesday night's game after four innings.

Game notes
Dodgers C Todd Hundley will leave Monday for Vero Beach,
Fla., where he will begin a rehab assignment after missing more
than 2{ months because of surgery to repair a nerve in his back.
... Green has missed only six of 612 games in his four seasons with
the Dodgers -- including Sept. 26, 2001, when he observed the Jewish
holiday of Yom Kippur. That day off ended his consecutive-game
playing streak at 415, which was the longest in the majors at the
time. ... The Expos dropped two of three to the Dodgers and have
lost their last seven road series.