Series: Game 1 of 3

San Francisco leads 1-0 (as of 10/1)

Game 1: Friday, October 1
San Francisco4Final
LA Dodgers2
Game 2: Saturday, October 2
San Francisco3Final
LA Dodgers7
Game 3: Sunday, October 3
San Francisco10Final
LA Dodgers0

Giants 4

(90-70, 43-35 away)

Dodgers 2

(92-68, 48-31 home)

    10:10 PM ET, October 1, 2004

    Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California 

    123456789 R H E
    SF 020000110 4 8 0
    LA 000010100 2 4 1

    W: K. Rueter (9-12)

    L: J. Weaver (13-13)

    S: D. Hermanson (17)

    Giants cut deficit to two games

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Dodgers' offense has sputtered recently. As a result, they're still trying to make the playoffs with two games remaining.

    Kirk Rueter pitched seven strong innings and the San Francisco Giants defeated Los Angeles 4-2 on Friday night, preventing the Dodgers from clinching their first NL West title since 1995.

    Barry Bonds

    Barry Bonds and the Giants stay tied for the wild-card lead and keep the heat on the Dodgers in the NL West.

    "Everyone is real anxious to win the game and celebrate and get it over," said Shawn Green, who went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. "We just need to relax and go out and play our game. Early on, we were up there trying to do too much."

    The Giants remained tied with the Astros in the wild-card race. Houston defeated Colorado 4-2.

    "There's no time to savor this one," San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said. "The biggest game of the season is tomorrow and the second-biggest one is Sunday."

    The Giants seemingly hold an edge in the weekend pitching matchups. The Dodgers will send Elmer Dessens (2-6) against Brett Tomko (11-7) on Saturday, and likely Kazuhisa Ishii (13-7) against Jason Schmidt (11-7) in the series finale Sunday.

    "Hopefully by winning tomorrow, we could make Sunday meaningless for us," Green said in a deathly quiet clubhouse. "We battled all year. We're not going to stop now."

    J.T. Snow homered and former Dodger Marquis Grissom doubled home two runs for the Giants, who need a sweep of the three-game series to either force a one-game playoff or win the division based on a 10-9 season record against the Dodgers if Houston loses at least once.

    "We're still trying to win the division. You can't think second place," Grissom said. "If you've still got a chance to win the division, you have to fight for it. And that's what we're doing."

    Grissom doubled to the right-field wall with two outs in the second off Jeff Weaver (13-13), giving the Giants a 2-0 lead.

    Michael Tucker singled to right in the seventh, scoring Ray Durham, who doubled with two outs, to increase San Francisco's lead to 3-1.

    Rueter (9-12) gave up homers to Olmedo Saenz in the fifth and Steve Finley in the seventh, but allowed just one other hit, struck out one and walked one in seven innings to beat the Dodgers for the first time in four games this season.

    "I'm not going to overpower people, so I don't get amped up and overthrow," he said. "I've thrown enough games to know that I have to pitch my game to be successful and I've been able to do that -- whether it's a big game or a game in spring training. I have to keep the ball down and mix up my pitches."

    The heart of the Dodgers' lineup struggled against Rueter. Besides Green, Finley was 1-for-4 and Adrian Beltre was hitless in four at-bats.

    "We pitched well enough to win, but offensively we didn't do enough to win," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "That's something that's been going on the last few days. We didn't mount any run-producing situations."

    Dustin Hermanson got three outs for his 17th save.

    Weaver gave up three runs on six hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked four.

    Barry Bonds went 0-for-1 with three walks, including two intentional, giving him 228 this season.

    "Next year we have to find a way to stop that or at least cut them in half," Alou said. "Even Barry says, `They don't let me play."

    Snow homered off Mike Venafro with one out in the eighth for a 4-2 lead, disappointing a sellout crowd of 54,888 that hoped to celebrate a division title.

    "We have confidence every time we step on the field," Snow said.

    The Dodgers' last playoff appearance was 1996, when they won the NL wild card and were swept by Atlanta in the first round. In '95, they lost to Cincinnati in the first round in their only other postseason appearance since winning the 1988 World Series.

    Game notes

    Snow's homer was his first off a left-hander since Aug. 4, 2002, off Scott Sauerbeck. ... San Francisco RHP Jim Brower pitched the eighth for his 89th appearance this season, tying the club record set by Julian Tavarez in 1987. ... Finley's 35th homer tied a career high set in 2000 with Arizona. ... The Giants haven't completed a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since 2002. ... It's the seventh time in eight years that Rueter has made at least 30 starts. It was his team-high 33rd.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press