Perez, Gagne stop Orioles

Odalis Perez (4-3) finally got some run support when Jayson Werth slugged a three-run home run in the fourth inning of the Dodgers' 6-3 victory over the Orioles in front of 35,070 at Dodger Stadium. Werth's homer not only came off his old team, it came off Baltimore starter Matt Riley, who was Werth's roommate during 2000. Perez lowered his ERA to 2.88 with his 10th straight start, during which he has not given up more than three earned runs.

Perez pitched seven quality innings, allowing one run to lower his earned-run average to 1.98 over his last six starts, and the Dodgers amassed 10 hits. Perez left after the seventh, having thrown 102 pitches.

The Orioles scored two runs off relievers Duaner Sanchez and Tom Martin in the eighth before Eric Gagné struck out Javy Lopez on three pitches to end the inning. Gagné also pitched a scoreless ninth to record his 78th consecutive save and 15th of the season.

Gagné also hit for the first time since May 7, 2002, striking out on four pitches in the eighth.

Perez has been a model of consistency, for the Dodgers this season after trade rumors in the offseason had him swapped for nearly every slugger in the American League. Only three of Perez's first 13 outings were not designated as quality starts, yet Perez had a .500 record because of shaky offense. The Dodgers had scored one or zero runs in four of his previous six starts.

The Dodgers struck first with one out in the third. Cesar Izturis singled but was forced by Werth at second. Shawn Green beat out an infield hit and Werth, running on contact, scored from second to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Adrian Beltré and Juan Encarnacion led off the fourth inning with consecutive singles and moved to second and third on Perez's sacrifice bunt. Cesar Izturis drove in Beltré with a slow roller to the third baseman that went for a single, and Werth followed with the homer, his third in just 18 at-bats with the Dodgers.

"I heard nothing but great reports with regards to Werth when he was on his rehab. There were comments that really showed some feelings as to his overall abilities. You're starting to see some of that. This guy is very talented. He's very powerful. He's a versatile guy and can play any one of the three outfield spots and could catch in an emergency. --Manager jim Tracy,

Jose Hernandez gave the Dodgers a six-run lead in the fifth when his two-out single to center scored Adrian Beltré.

With the victory the Dodgers (34-28) increased their lead in the National League West to 1 1/2 games over the San Francisco Giants as San Diego lost and dropped to third place.

Athletic family--Werth's grandfather is Dick "Ducky" Schofield, who was a former Dodger (1966-67) and 19-year Major League infielder, while his uncle Dick Schofield played 14 years in the Majors, including 1995 with Los Angeles. Werth's stepfather Dennis Werth, played parts of four seasons (1979-92) with the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals and his mother Kim Schofield competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump and 100 meters.

Dodger Blue Notes--Shawn Green went 1-for-3, extending his hitting streak to a season-high six games. During that streak Green is batting .500 (12-for-24). ... Reliever Guillermo Mota woke up with no pain in his right elbow and tests revealed no structural damage. ... Because the Dodgers have only one day off between now and the All-Star break, Jose Lima is guaranteed at least five more starts. ... Reliever Paul Shuey (ruptured tendon in right thumb) successfully completed a simulated game of 30 to 35 pitches before Wednesday's game. If he reports no complications today, he will throw another simulated game Friday and then could be given a minor-league rehabilitation assignment. ... The Dodgers signed right-handed pitcher Justin Orenduff, their supplemental first-round pick in last week's draft, to a $1 million signing bonus. Orenduff became the 13th of the Dodgers' top 14 selections to sign. ... Fernando Valenzuela has been selected to manage the "world" team during the All-Star Futures Game next month in Houston. Valenzuela will manage a team of foreign-born minor-league prospects in a seven-inning game against prospects born in the United States. ... Daryle Ward smashed a three-run home run in the fifth inning Wednesday night, lifting the Pirates to a 5-3 interleague victory over the Angels. This was the same Daryle Ward who was among the biggest busts in the Dodgers' 2003 season, a power hitter who batted .183 with no home runs and drove in nine runs in 52 games before being sent to Triple-A Las Vegas on July 24. ... California governor Sylvester Stallone ran the first leg of the Olympic torch relay in Los Angeles, then passed to Dodger owner Frank McCourt. Stallone and McCourt were the first of 140 residents of Los Angeles to carry the torch. Helicopters tracked the torch's progress from Venice to Dodger Stadium. Actor Tom Cruise entered the stadium first, holding the flame aloft for all to see. The torch continues its journey to Athens, stopping in St. Louis, Atlanta and New York before going to Europe for the final legs of its around-the-world trek to Athens and the start of the 2004 Games on Aug. 13.

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