Giants Close to Within 1/2 Game of Dodgers

The Yankee series took on a life of its own but the Giant series in San Francisco is much more important if the Dodger are to be still playing in October. Monday night Odalis Perez again came up short in the run support department and although Los Angeles fought back to tie the game 2-2 in the top of the ninth, Guillermo Mota lost it in the bottom of the same inning. San Francisco moved to within 1/2 game of the Dodgers with the victory.

The Dodgers wasted another strong outing from Odalis Perez, who pitched 7.2 innings. Despite a 2.84 earned-run average, Perez is only 4-3 because of poor run support in his 15 starts.

"That's a good win," said San Francisco Manager Felipe Alou, whose team is 23-9 in its last 32 games. "It's only worth one game, but it was a good one."

With an unhappy Dave Roberts and Alex Cora again sitting on the bench with the club facing a lefthander, Jayson Werth made certain that manager Jim Tracy's move to use him and Roberts in a platoon looked logical. His third hit of the night tied the game in the top of the ninth, ironically scoring Roberts who was pinch-running.

"I weigh day to day who it is we're facing, what the starter brings to the table and the options we have with our personnel. What we're seeing is a Dave Roberts that resembles the one of 2002, when we were able to take him off certain guys on certain days, using Marquis Grissom, and ended up with production and defense as good as we'd like to have it."--manager Jim Tracy,

Mota (3-2) got the first two outs in the bottom of the inning, then ran into all sorts of trouble and the Giants pulled out a 3-2 victory front of a sellout crowd of 41,453 at SBC Park in the first really important series of the season.

The Dodgers took an early lead when Milton Bradley's two-out single scored Odalis Perez in the fifth. The baserunning apparaently didn't agree with the Dodgers' pitcher and he gave up a bloop double to Barry Bonds that Werth lost in the lights. Edgardo Alfonzo then singled, tying the game.

The Giants took the lead in the sixth after another leadoff double. Former Dodger Marquis Grissom hit a sharp grounder to third, but Adrian Beltré's throw to the plate was low, skipping past catcher Paul Lo Duca.

Perez walked Bonds intentionally with a runner on third but Darren Dreifort got out of that jam by striking out Alfonzo. Perez got his seventh no-decision of the season.

In the ninth, Jason Grabowski started the Dodgers' rally, grounding a pinch-hit single through the left side of the infield. Roberts came on to pinch run and took second on a wild pitch by another former Dodger, Matt Herges. Cesar Izturis grounded out, with Roberts taking third.

After Werth's single tied the game, Herges walked Bradley, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. But Herges got Shawn Green on a called third strike, the third time Green had struck out on the evening, to end the threat. While Herges (4-2) suffered his fifth blown save in 23 chances, he picked up the important win.

The Giants, who were eight games back five weeks ago and last as recently as May 19, have won seven of their last eight and have closed to within one-half game of the league lead. The teams will play each other seven times in 11 days with the Dodgers holding a 5-2 head-to-head edge this year.

Dodger Blue Notes--Concerning the 'platoon' in left field: Roberts is batting .222 against left-handed pitching (27 at-bats) and .313 against right-handed pitching (112 at-bats). Werth has played in only 10 games and already has three home runs, two of them against left-handed pitching. However, Werth is only 4-for-19 (.211) against lefties and 3-for-8 (.375) against righties. On the other hand, the Dodgers are 30-19 when Alex Cora starts at second (7-11 when he doesn't) and 25-11 when Dave Roberts starts in left or center (12-19 when he doesn't. ... Tom Martin has struggled recently, giving up an important triple to Hideki Matsui in the Yankee series. He has allowed 18 of 32 first batters to reach base, 11 of 26 inherited runners to score, and left-handed hitters are batting .357 against him, compared to .189 last season. ... Las Vegas catcher Koyie Hill and Vero Beach shortstop Joel Guzman have been named to the New York Mercantile Exchange Futures Game in Houston on July 11. ... Wilkin Ruan, who appeared with the Dodgers last year and most recently was playing the outfield at Double-A Jacksonville, was released.