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Rueter struggles in first start

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- After just two games in Dodger blue, Jose
Valentin already knows his mistakes and highlights both will be
magnified in his new club's biggest rivalry -- and he's hoping to
produce far more hits than misses.

Valentin atoned for his opening-day error with three hits,
including a three-run homer, while Olmedo Saenz drove in three runs
in Los Angeles' 10-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on
Wednesday night.

Valentin and Milton Bradley also had run-scoring triples, and
Jason Phillips drove in two more runs as the Dodgers shook off
their opening loss with 14 hits and two late-inning rallies in the
rematch.

Valentin's seventh-inning error Tuesday night allowed the
Giants' go-ahead run, but the 11-year veteran responded with an
impressive comeback game, going 3-for-4.

"I've been through a lot of hard times in my career, and that
was just another one," said Valentin, who signed with Los Angeles
in December after hitting a career-high 30 homers for the White
Sox. "If I'm in a situation like that again, I'm going to come
right back again."

Los Angeles scored five runs in the sixth, tagging relievers
Tyler Walker and Jason Christiansen for five consecutive hits
capped by Valentin's homer. The Dodgers got three more in the
seventh on Saenz's two-run double and Valentin's triple, which
bounced crazily off the brick wall in right field.

Valentin actually expected to see the bunt sign before his
homer, but was allowed to swing away. Jason Christiansen's fastball
eventually landed in the tunnel leading to the players' parking lot
down the left-field line.

Saenz, subbing for Hee Seop Choi at first base, went 3-for-4
with a walk.

"We have a number of professional players on this club, a
number of guys that understand what a 162-game season means,"
manager Jim Tracy said. "The important thing for us to do is to
keep our heads above water and keep ourselves close, knowing we've
got a pretty good team on the disabled list right now."

Maybe the Dodgers won't have as much trouble scoring runs as
everybody expects this season -- and maybe the Giants' bullpen isn't
quite as solid as they expected.

Mike Matheny hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Giants,
who floundered while manager Felipe Alou served a one-game
suspension. Moises Alou, his son and right fielder, also left in
the fifth inning with tightness in his right calf.

The Dodgers' reconfigured lineup had little trouble getting to
Kirk Rueter, who struggled through five innings for the loss, and
the Giants' bullpen.

"I felt ready, but before I knew it, I was backing up the
bases," said Walker, who allowed four straight hits without
getting an out. "I don't know what happened."

Jason Repko, playing left field and hitting second in his major
league debut with the Dodgers, got a sixth-inning double for his
first hit. Repko, whose family was watching in the stands, would
have got his first RBI as well, but Cesar Izturis missed third base
on his way to the plate.

Odalis Perez pitched five solid innings for the victory,
allowing six hits and three walks. He's 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his
last four starts at SBC Park.

After presenting a pitching award to Jason Schmidt before the
game, Felipe Alou left to serve his suspension for an incident late
last season in which former reliever Dustin Hermanson hit Jeff Kent
with a pitch.

Bench coach Ron Wotus managed the Giants in Alou's absence --
just as Tracy did a few times in Montreal, when he was Alou's bench
coach. Alou hadn't decided whether to watch the game from general
manager Brian Sabean's box, or simply head across King Street to
his apartment just beyond the left-field stands.

"Tell him I said to go across the street, in case he feels
compelled to say something," Tracy said before the game. "Because
when he does, it's pretty darn good."

Wotus' chance to run the club didn't go smoothly: Rueter, who
rarely complains, thought he should have pitched another inning.

But Wotus was encouraged by the Giants' three-run ninth against
reliever Yhency Brazoban.

"It was nice to see the guys come back and rough up their
closer a little," Wotus said. "He wasn't able to finish the game.
Hopefully it affects him tomorrow night as well."

Game notes
Eric Gagne was ejected in the fifth for arguing balls and
strikes from the dugout. The punch line? Gagne is on the 15-day
disabled list with a sprained elbow. ... Giants 2B Ray Durham was a
last-minute scratch from the lineup because of a mild groin strain
and his poor career record against Perez. ... RHP Steve Schmoll
made his major league debut for the Dodgers in the eighth.