Perez Hits and Pitches Way to Victory

Odalis Perez certainly appreciated the run support as the Dodgers crushed Arizona 10-3 Saturday night, but he probably would have liked just a portion of the largess here and there in some of his other starts. After he had been given four runs in his last four starts, he took matters in his own hands by slugging an RBI double and giving the team a 2-0 lead. His teammates added four more with Dave Roberts supplying a three run homer. Paul Lo Duca added his third homer in three games.

It is the first time in Lo Duca's career that he has homered in back-to-back-to-back games and he is hitting .435 in his last 11 games.

Perez had recorded a 2.17 ERA in his four previous starts, but he had gone 0-2 because the Dodgers had scored a total of four runs in those games.

Los Angeles broke through in the fourth on what appeared to be double-stamp Saturday. Lo Duca doubled down the left-field line and scored on Juan Encarnacion's double down the right-field line. After Perez doubled to make it 2-0 and Roberts opened a five-run cushion with his homer to right, Cesar Izturis doubled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.

Just for variety, Milton Bradley put a lid on the inning in which the Dodgers sent 10 to the plate with a run-scoring single up the middle. Bradley, Roberts and Izturis finished with three hits apiece.

Perez (3-3) gave back half of the six run lead, and on a hot and humid night in Arizona became the third consecutive Dodger starter work only five innings. He was charged with three runs on eight hits and told manager Jim Tracy that he was out of gas after five, ending a string of seven consecutive quality starts in which he had pitched at least six innings and given up three earned runs or fewer.

For the second game in a row the Dodger bullpen contributed four scoreless innings, as Duaner Sanchez gave the bullpen a much needed rest with three scoreless innings, the first time this season he's gone past two. Wilson Alvarez pitched the ninth, his first appearance since straining a hip on May 28.

The Dodgers claimed Sanchez off waivers in the off-season, and the reliever has a 2.08 ERA in 24 appearances.

Dave Roberts hit a three-run homer in a six-run fourth inning and finished with three hits, a walk, a steal and two runs. The Dodgers are 21-7 with Roberts in the starting lineup. While he was on the disabled list, they lost eight straight and Roberts has since raised his average 40 points to .280.

In all, seven Dodgers drove in runs.

Lo Duca homered, collected a double and scored two runs. The All-Star catcher is now 12-for-21 (.571) with two homers in five games against the Diamondbacks and his .365 average is second in the league.

Cesar Izturis, who ran his hitting streak to 13 games, and Milton Bradley added three hits each in a 15-hit attack as the Dodgers won for the sixth time in their last seven games. They are 16-7 against division rivals and 14-16 against the rest of the league.

The division-leading Dodgers (30-23) clinched their third consecutive series victory and maintained their one-game lead over second-place San Diego in the NL West after the Padres won at home over Milwaukee. San Francisco, which had crept into the race in recent days, lost at Colorado and fell to four games back.

Dodger Blue Notes--Dodgers manager Jim Tracy's platoon (although he doesn't like to call it that) at second base is working to perfection. Cora was back in the lineup Saturday night against a righthander but Jose Hernandez played second base Friday when lefty started. Cora, who was hitting 295 overall, went into Saturday hitting .273 against lefties this season. Hernandez, who is hitting .366 overall, is hitting .381 against lefties, with two doubles, three homers and six RBI. ... Jim Tracy was lavish in his praise of bench coach Jim Riggleman who took over during Tracy's one-day suspension. Tracy noted he was overqualified for the position he's in. Riggleman managed the San Diego Padres from 1992-94 and the Chicago Cubs from 1995-99. ... Left-hander Wilson Alvarez, who after being sidelined with a sore right foot and strained left hip, is available in relief now after he showed no ill effects from a side session Friday. ... Owner Frank McCourt gave manager Jim Tracy a vote of confidence this week while promising that GM Paul DePodesta would improve the roster before the trade deadline at the end of next month. "The fans should stay tuned," McCourt said. "We will not sit back, we're going to make the team better." ... Paul Shuey hopes to begin throwing to live hitters next week when the team is in Toronto. Shuey is excited about how hitters react to his new delivery, designed to take pressure off his sore right hip.