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Penny is NL's first 13-game winner as Dodgers stay hot

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Brad Penny and the Los Angeles Dodgers are
enjoying this stretch of their topsy-turvy season.

Penny became the NL's first 13-game winner, recently acquired
Wilson Betemit hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, and the Dodgers
beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 Saturday.

Rookie James Loney tripled, doubled and scored twice for NL
West-leading Los Angeles, which has won 14 of 15 after a 1-13 slide
coming out of the All-Star break.

"Everybody was quiet and down before, and now everybody's
having fun," Penny said. "We're out there playing like we all
thought we could play. You go out there every day expecting to win,
and your whole attitude changes.

"This is a huge stretch right here. After we play the Marlins
we've got the Giants again and then San Diego and Arizona. So I
couldn't think of a better time to start playing this good."

Moises Alou and Omar Vizquel each drove in two runs for San
Francisco, which has lost four straight. The last-place Giants are
6½ games behind Los Angeles after falling a season-worst eight
games under .500.

Penny (13-5) won his third straight start, allowing four runs --
three earned -- and seven hits over six innings. The right-hander
struck out seven and did not walk a batter for the second
consecutive outing.

The Giants closed to 6-5 in the seventh with doubles by
pinch-hitter Todd Linden and Vizquel against Giovanni Carrara.
Lefty Joe Beimel came in and walked Ray Durham before retiring
Barry Bonds on an inning-ending grounder with runners at the
corners. The play was made by shortstop Rafael Furcal with the
Dodgers playing a three-man shift on the right side of the infield.

Bonds is 1-for-9 lifetime against Beimel -- with a home run.

"I'll take that anytime," the 29-year-old reliever said with a
grin. "I knew Durham was hitting pretty well off left-handers this
year, and I didn't want to give in to him.

"Barry's one of the greatest hitters of all time -- but at the
same time, he's not having the kind of year he's had in the past."

Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect eighth inning and Takashi
Saito worked the ninth for his 13th save in 14 attempts. Steve
Finley flied out to the warning track for the second straight time
with a runner on base, and then Saito retired Vizquel on a
groundout to first base to end it.

San Francisco has dropped 15 of 18 after a season-high five-game
winning streak, and won just one of its last 12 on the road. Matt
Cain (8-9) allowed six runs and a career-high 10 hits in four-plus
innings against a lineup that included three rookies like himself.

Betemit snapped a 4-4 tie in the fifth with his 13th home run
and fourth since joining the Dodgers on July 28 in a trade with
Atlanta. The drive into the right-field pavilion came on a 3-1
pitch -- Cain's last one of the game.

Trailing 3-0, San Francisco tied it in the fourth on Durham's
RBI single and a two-run single by Alou. Sandwiched between those
hits was a double by Bonds, who was 1-for-4 and has gone 22 at-bats
since his previous home run on Aug. 4 against Colorado.

The Dodgers regained the lead in the bottom half when Loney led
off with a double, advanced on Penny's sacrifice bunt and scored on
a single by Furcal, who is hitting .365 with runners in scoring
position.

"That's the worst feeling you can have -- to sit there and watch
the team battle back and get runs for you and then you go back out
there and give it back," Cain said. "That's not acceptable.
That's terrible. That's probably one of the most upsetting things
for me."

The Giants pulled even again in the fifth, thanks to some
typical hustle by the 40-year-old Finley. He hit a two-out grounder
to second baseman Julio Lugo, who bobbled the ball for an instant.
That's all it took for Finley to beat the throw and stick Lugo with
an error. He stole second and scored on a single by Vizquel that
extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

It was the first unearned run allowed this season by Penny, who
gave up only two in 29 starts last year.

The Dodgers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first on Lugo's RBI double
and J.D. Drew's run-scoring single. They made it 3-0 in the second
when Loney tripled and scored on a popup by Penny that second
baseman Durham lost in the sun.

Game notes
After the game, the Giants optioned RHP Brian Wilson to
Triple-A Fresno and recalled LHP Jack Taschner from Fresno. ... The
Dodgers acquired C Einar Diaz from Cleveland for cash. Diaz will
report to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Bonds, an eight-time Gold Glove
winner, has made 81 starts in left field this season and has yet to
commit an error. The fewest he ever made over a full big league
season was one -- in 1989 with Pittsburgh and 1996 with the Giants.
He had none last year, but was limited to only 14 games because of
three knee operations. ... Every team in the NL West has now spent
at least 20 days in first place, and no fewer than 22 days in last
place. ... Bonds needs 44 more total bases to tie Pete Rose for
sixth place on the career list at 5,752. ... Dodgers rookie Andre
Ethier extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single his
first time up.