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Giants win three straight for third time this season

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Jason Christiansen figures the Giants
received two shots in the arm in a matter of days: Ace Jason
Schmidt is back on the mound, and slugger Barry Bonds has resumed
rehabilitation on his surgically repaired right knee.

And the Giants can't help but think that maybe -- they're
crossing their fingers and knocking on wood -- this banged-up roster
will be close to full strength sometime around the All-Star break.

Schmidt showed he is healthy again, all right.

He came off the disabled list earlier in the day, then pitched
five effective innings and hit a home run in San Francisco's 5-3
victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

"I was pumped up to get out there," Schmidt said. "That was a
big relief."

Mike Matheny hit a three-run homer after failing to get down a
bunt attempt and Edgardo Alfonzo had three hits and drove in a run
as the Giants won three straight for just the third time this
season.

Schmidt connected for his fifth career homer leading off the
third, sending a 2-2 pitch from Jeff Weaver (4-4) over the
left-field wall. It was Schmidt's first homer since last July 1, at
Dodger Stadium off Jose Lima.

"I was looking to hit the ball to right field, so that tells
you I don't know what I'm doing," he said, smiling.

Matheny hit his fifth homer of the season in the fourth, and
Weaver was done two batters later and on the way to his second
straight loss.

Schmidt had been sidelined since May 10 with a right shoulder
strain and hadn't won since April 10 against Colorado -- a span of
six starts. Manager Felipe Alou closely monitored his ace, whose
mere presence seemed to immediately lift the spirits of his
teammates.

"He was awesome," Matheny said. "That was exactly what we
needed from him. It was exciting for him to see, and exciting for
us."

And Tyler Walker's clutch pitching as fill-in closer is also
sparking the Giants. Walker, a burly right-hander who grew up a
Giants fan in San Francisco, got two outs in the ninth for his
seventh save in eight chances and sixth since May 12. He has
retired 19 of 20 batters since replacing the injured Armando
Benitez, allowing only a walk.

The bullpen, including 42-year-old lefty Jeff Fassero going on
two days' rest after starting Saturday, pitched four innings of
scoreless relief.

"I think all of us are starting to adjust to the fact Armando's
gone," said lefty reliever Christiansen. "Tyler is doing the job
well. It's hard for us because nobody has specific roles, so it's
about making adjustments."

The 32-year-old Schmidt (2-2), an NL All-Star the past two years
and an 18-game winner last season, allowed three runs and five
hits, struck out seven and walked three in an 82-pitch performance.

He had thrown 451 pitches in his previous four starts in only 24
innings.

On Tuesday, Schmidt needed 43 pitches to get through the first
two innings, both of which began with leadoff singles. After Cesar
Izturis started the game with a hit, Schmidt struck out the side.
He escaped a shaky second inning by surrendering only one run.

After Weaver hit an RBI single in the second to give the Dodgers
a 1-0 lead, Schmidt retired seven straight batters -- and he got
through the fourth in seven pitches.

He loaded the bases in the fifth when Antonio Perez doubled and
pinch-hitter Mike Edwards and J.D. Drew both walked. Schmidt balked
in a run, then Hee-Seop Choi hit a sacrifice fly to left to pull
Los Angeles within 5-3.

"Basically it boiled down to the home run ball beating us,"
Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "I thought we had a chance when
Schmidt started to struggle. We didn't do anything wrong, we just
didn't get the big hits when we needed them."

Perez had two hits for the Dodgers, who ended a three-game
losing streak with Sunday's 6-2 win over the Angels.

Giants second baseman Ray Durham returned to the lineup after
missing Sunday's game with a sprained left middle finger, and hit
two doubles. He doubled in the second and scored on Alfonzo's RBI
single, then doubled in the fourth.

He has a 13-game hitting streak, the longest by a Giant this
year.

Weaver, making his third start against San Francisco this
season, was tagged for eight hits and five runs.

The right-hander lost 8-3 last Wednesday against Florida,
allowing six runs and 10 hits -- including three home runs.

Game notes
Drew had a precautionary MRI on Monday on his troublesome
right wrist. There was fluid in the area, but doctors said it was
not enough to keep him from playing. ... San Francisco optioned RHP
Jeremy Accardo to Triple-A Fresno to free up a roster spot for
Schmidt. ... Los Angeles placed LHP Odalis Perez on the 15-day
disabled list with left shoulder soreness. Wilson Alvarez will
pitch in Perez's place Wednesday and will be limited to 65-70
pitches. ... Matheny grounded into his first double play of the
season in the second. His predecessor at catcher, A.J. Pierzynski,
did it 27 times last season to set a team record.