Beltre's Blast Beats Birds

Adrian Beltré hit a game-winning home run in the eighth after Jason Grabowski's pinch-hit homer in the sixth inning tied the score, to give Guillermo Mota (3-1) a 4-3 victory over the Orioles. Eric Gagné pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, earning his third save of the series and his 79th consecutive save. The Dodgers' win over Baltimore completed an Interleague series sweep in the first meeting in Los Angeles since the Orioles swept the 1966 World Series.

In addition to hitting the game-winning homer, Beltré set up Grabowski's game-tying homer. With the Dodgers trailing, 3-1, Beltré led off the sixth inning with a double. Two outs later, Grabowski slammed the first pinch-hit home run of his career, tying the score, 3-3.

Beltré leads the club with 16 home runs, 42 RBI and a .553 slugging percentage, and his three hits Thursday night boosted his average back up to .305. Before the game he was hitting only .235 in June as bone spurs in his left ankle continue to hobble him.

"We would not be in first place if we had not been getting the type of offensive performance we have out of Adrian Beltré. If anything like that correlates to what we're seeing now, you're talking about a guy who has the potential to put together a monster season," manager Jim Tracy said, pointing out Beltré is traditionally a second-half hitter.

Grabowski has become the Dodgers top pinch-hitter. He was only 2-for-20 to open his L.A. career but now, in 89 at-bats, he has five homers, an average of one every 17.8 at-bats. Shawn Green has one homer every 28.9 at-bats.

Darren Dreifort added a scoreless inning in relief and struck out two, and Guillermo Mota did the same to earn the win. Gagné did his thing and the Dodgers hope to ride the sweep into the face of the first-place Yankees this weekend.

The Orioles tagged Kazuhisa Ishii, pitching out of the stretch to improve his control, for four hits in the first inning, but a double-play held the damage to one run and the Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the first when Milton Bradley's double scored Jayson Werth who had walked.

Baltimore got to Ishii in the sixth, starting with his only walk of the game. A double into the left-field corner and a single scored two, making it a 3-1 Oriole lead.

The Dodgers sweep was their third this season and the first since they took three from the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 7-9. The Dodgers stayed 1 games ahead of San Francisco in the National League West.

Dodger Blue Notes--Cesar Izturis is having a breakthrough season but it hasn't put him in the minds of All-Star voters. Izturis, hitting .317, doesn't rank in the top five. ... Manager Jim Tracy has determined that Jayson Werth will play left field against left-handed pitchers. Werth has three home runs and .737 slugging percentage while seeing limited action. Tracy refused to call it a straight platoon that would mean Dave Roberts, whose leads the Dodgers with a .390 on-base percentage and whose 21 stolen bases rank second in the National League, would be on the bench every time a left-hander starts. ... The U.S. Postal Service will set up a sub-station at Dodger Stadium on the Club Level Friday and issue a commemorative one-day cancellation noting the inaugural Interleague Series between the Dodgers and Yankees.

Starters for the New York Yankee series:
Tonight--Jeff Weaver (4-7, 4.54) vs. Javier Vazquez (7-4, 3.43).
Saturday--Hideo Nomo (3-7, 7.56) vs. Brad Halsey (0-0, 0.00).
Sunday--Jose Lima (5-2, 3.67) vs. Jose Contreras (4-2, 6.20).

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