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Dodgers rally, move into tie for West lead

SAN FRANCISCO -- All about the dramatic are these Dodgers.

Russell Martin scored the go-ahead run on Mike Stanton's wild
pitch in the ninth inning after pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz singled
in the tying run, and Los Angeles beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3
Friday night to tie San Diego for the NL West lead.

Last Sunday, it was a game-winning grand slam by
Nomar Garciaparra. This time, a gutsy ninth-inning catch over a railing
along the left-field line by third baseman Ramon Martinez.

J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the Dodgers,
who overcame a 3-0 deficit to win their fifth straight. Los Angeles
and San Diego also share the wild-card lead, two games ahead of
Philadelphia, and each team would clinch a playoff berth with one
more win or a Phillies loss.

"Tonight definitely was a big win," Drew said. "We could have
stayed right where we were with San Diego and lost a game to the
Phillies."

Los Angeles got a scare when Garciaparra came out of the
game after re-injuring his left side on a swinging strikeout in the
eighth. He could be seen hunched over in the dugout being attended
to by the training staff. He was scheduled to be re-evaluated
Saturday.

"He was in a lot of pain in the dugout," manager Grady Little
said. "That's about as much grimace as I've seen in his face."

Eliezer Alfonzo singled in a run in the second and scored on
Randy Winn's fifth-inning double, but Stanton (7-7) couldn't hold
the lead for Noah Lowry, whose winless stretch reached five.

Jonathan Broxton (4-1) got the final out of the eighth for the
win. Takashi Saito pitched a shaky ninth for his 23rd save in 25
chances.

Steve Finley and Winn singled with one out to put runners at the
corners, and Omar Vizquel then fouled out to Martinez, who leaned
way over the railing to make the catch. Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney
then took a called third strike, sending the Giants to their
seventh loss in eight games.

"That is the usual way that we lose," Giants manager Felipe
Alou said. "We've had a few games like that the last couple of
years."

Noah Lowry gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings,
retiring his first 10 hitters before Kenny Lofton's one-out single
in the fourth.

Vizquel made two great defensive plays in the first three
innings to back Lowry and doubled in the third against Hong-Chih
Kuo. Shea Hillenbrand also singled in a run for San Francisco.

Given a 3-2 lead, Stanton a save for the third time in 11
chances.

"It's frustrating. I made some good pitches, and sometimes good
pitches don't work," Stanton said. "That one hurts. I didn't do
my job. The wild pitch was on a split that hit the plate and didn't
come up."

After Jeff Kent's leadoff single, Drew struck out and Martin
walked. Saenz was replaced by pinch-runner Delwyn Young and Julio
Lugo grounded into a fielder's choice that moved Martin to third.
He scored on a wild pitch moments later.

"Every night it's somebody different," Martinez said. "That's
what a championship team is made of."

Little announced before the game that Derek Lowe would start
Game 1 of the division series as long as he isn't needed to pitch
in Sunday's season finale.

Even if the Dodgers were to clinch the wild card in the next two
days, Little said he would still hold out Lowe for the playoff
opener rather than try to win the NL West.

"I'd go with Derek Lowe," Little said. "We're not going to be
comfortable until we're able to get the job done. When you have
your fate in your own hands, it makes it a lot easier."

Barry Bonds was back in the lineup after sitting Tuesday and
Wednesday against Arizona to rest his tender left elbow, which will
undergo a cleanup procedure to remove bone chips after the season.
The slugger, who has 734 career home runs, went 0-for-4 with two
strikeouts.

Kuo, making his fifth major league start, allowed three runs and
eight hits in five innings, struck out six and didn't walk a
batter.

Game Notes
Kuo, who gave up Bonds' 705th homer last year, is 0-1 in
four career appearances against the Giants. ... Giants GM Brian
Sabean will sit down with Alou in the coming days to discuss the
71-year-old skipper's future. Alou's contract is up after four
seasons as manager. "By season's end we'll have a conversation,"
Sabean said from his box before the game. ... Vizquel received the
2006 "Willie Mac" Award _ named in honor of Hall of Famer Willie
McCovey _ before the game, recognized by his teammates, coaches and
training staff as the team's most inspirational player. ... San
Francisco's Pedro Feliz struck out four times and is 1-for-14 on
the homestand. ... Lowry threw 105 pitches but only 66 strikes. ...
The Giants drew 42,587 for their 21st sellout.