Weaver Stops Yankees 6-3

On a day when the Lakers family tantrum drew the attention of the national media, the Dodgers and Jeff Weaver found some redemption by beating the all-mighty New York Yankees 6-3 in the opening game of a historic three game series. Weaver (5-7) got the last word before a mob of 55,207, the largest regular-season crowd in Dodger Stadium history.

Weaver silenced his critics by allowing three earned runs and seven hits before leaving for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth and he set the tone of the game when, after a three-run New York rally in third, he battled back to retire the next nine batters

The Yankees hadn't been in Los Angeles since losing three straight in the 1981 World Series. The victory gave them a four-game losing streak. Dodger fans enjoyed every moment of the game, booing the Yankees and their hated pinstripes, all night, loudly and rudely.

Come to think of it, they sounded like a New York crowd.

Dodger Stadium sparked with excitement. On the video board, the Dodgers showed black-and-white newsreels of Dodger-Yankees Octobers past. Fernando Valenzuela threw out the ceremonial first pitch and among the record crowd were Commissioner Bud Selig sitting next to owner Frank McCourt.

Weaver, who many considered a throw-in -- or throw-away -- for Kevin Brown and his $15 million salary, was blamed for the Yankee World Series loss to Florida and New York could hardly wait to unload him during the offseason.

Oh, yes, Brown was at the game, too -- on the disabled list.

Weaver pitched six innings Friday and gave up three runs — all scored in the third inning, on four hits, only one of which was hit hard. He has lost seven games, but the Dodgers have scored but three runs or fewer in all seven. He has won five, second on the staff to Kazuhisa Ishii.

"Any time you're facing a team you last played for, you're looking for a little redemption, to kind of show them what they might have lost. New York is different than anywhere else, there's no way getting around that. It's like no other. To say a city itself causes people to fail, I think that's a little unfair."--Jeff Weaver.

Trailing 3-0, the Dodgers tied the game in the fourth when a most unlikely hero came to their rescue. Dave Roberts came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. One run scored on a wild pitch before Roberts ripped a two-run single up the middle to tie the game.

The Dodger defense displayed their wares with one out in the sixth. Shortstop Derek Jeter banged a grounder into the hole but Cesar Izturis dived far to his right to stab it. He got up and threw Jeter out by a step, helping reliever Darren Dreifort work a perfect inning.

The Dodgers scored two in the bottom half to break the tie. Juan Encarnacion doubled home Adrian Beltré with the eventual winning run. L.A. scored an insurance run when Javier Vazquez threw away Alex Cora's perfect bunt. Paul Lo Duca singled home the final Dodgers run.

Beltré had three hits and Cesar Izturis a pair of doubles along with the defensive play of the night. The bullpen did the rest.

Eric Gagné nailed the win and was set up by Guillermo Mota, who struck out the side in the eighth, and Darren Dreifort, who struck out two in the seventh.

Gagné put an exclamation point on the electric evening by freezing Bernie Williams for the final out with a third-strike, 70 mph curve to earn his 17th save of the season, and extend his major league record to 80 in a row.

The Dodgers (36-28) ran their winning streak to four and moved 2 1/2 games ahead (a delightful four games in the loss column) of San Francisco in the National League West after the Giants lost at home to Boston. It is the Dodgers' biggest lead since May 12, when they were a season-high three in front of San Diego.

Dodger Blue Notes--General manager Paul DePodesta said money wouldn't be an issue if the Dodgers feel the need to acquire an expensive player leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. He noted that owner Frank McCourt is committed to supplying the resources to win and that he wouldn't wait until the deadline to make a trade if the opportunity presents itself. ... DePodesta said he not hesitate to tap the Dodgers' minor league system in order to acquire a hitter, starting pitcher, or both. The Dodgers are two of several teams interested in Freddy Garcia of the Seattle Mariners, the top starter expected to be traded in the next few weeks. They have spoken with the Kansas City Royals about several of their veterans, including center fielder Carlos Beltran and first baseman Mike Sweeney. The Royals, seeking a young catcher and third baseman in return for Beltran, are thought to be interested in the Dodgers' Triple-A catcher, Koyie Hill. DePodesta said he could not comment on specific players, but he seemed to deny the Dodgers would get Beltran by sending Hill and reliever Guillermo Mota to the Oakland Athletics. In that scenario, the A's would send Hill and third-base prospect Mark Teahen to the Royals for Beltran, then ship Beltran to Los Angeles. ... Manager Jim Tracy was very encouraged about Paul Shuey's simulated game and was talking about a minor league rehabilitation assignment for the right-handed reliever who is recovering from a torn thumb tendon. ... Yankee stopper Mariano Rivera's longest consecutive save streak is 27 saves. And the 80 Eric Gagné has put together are four more than has been recorded by the next three on the list combined -- John Smoltz (28), Rivera (27) and Troy Percival (21). ... Yankee manager Joe Torre said, "It's incredible what this young man has done. You're talking in terms of Joe DiMaggio. Even by mistake you've got to give up a hit or run or a save somewhere along the line." ... After battling through one of the worst slumps of his career, Dodgers first baseman Shawn Green entered Friday night's game against the New York Yankees with a seven-game hitting streak, during which he was batting .500 (14-for-28). Green was hitting .365 (19-for-52) during June with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI.