L.A. Hit by Giant Broom

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com said it best. "The only good news for the Dodgers is that it wasn't a five-game series." Los Angeles was hit hard by the Giants broom in the four-game sweep, loosing the final game 9-3 in a contest that saw a second consecutive bench-clearing 'dance' (you can't really call baseball confrontations a fight) and that resulted in Eric Gagné getting ejected. The Dodgers were swept by the Giants in a four-game road series for the first time since 1975.

Los Angeles stepped off the plane June 21 with a 1 1/2 game lead after winning a home interleague series against the New York Yankees amid an October-like environment, but playoffs weren't their focus when they left trailing by 2 1/2 games.

"Bad karma up here." -- Jose Lima

Former Giant-killer Hideo Nomo suffered a league-leading ninth loss, and was charged with seven runs in 5.1 innings. He is winless since April 21, 3-9 with a 7.65 ERA and his performance underscores GM Paul DePodesta's insistence that another starter is much more important than another bat at this point in time.

But on the flip side, Nomo received little help. The Dodger offense was very mild with Milton Bradley injured and Shawn Green returning to the lineup to go 0-for-5. The Dodgers scored runs on a steal of home by catcher Paul Lo Duca on the front end of a double steal, a home run and a ground out by Cora. The Dodgers offense went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

The Giants broke the game open with a six-run sixth inning that included former Dodger Marquis Grissom's two-run homer, the only Giants home run of the series.

An incident involving Giants outfielder Michael Tucker again triggered a bench-clearing altercation with the Giants holding a commanding 9-1 lead.

Tucker and Dodger pitcher Jeff Weaver had run into each other on a bunt earlier in the series, apparently payback for Weaver colliding earlier with first baseman Damon Minor.

Last night, Gagné struck out the first Giants batter and walked the next. Gagné's fourth pitch — a 97-mph fastball — to Tucker was high and over the plate but nowhere close to him, but he spun then dropped to the ground, qualifying himself for a nomination as best actor in a dramatic performance.

Tucker said something to Gagné, who dropped his glove. Tucker was grabbed from behind by catcher David Ross as the benches cleared and Tucker then threw a punch at Ross. When it was all over, Tucker and Gagné were ejected, Gagné apparently for dropping his glove.

In a frightening bit of Deja Vu, the Dodgers dropped out of first place last June on a trip to San Francisco and never regained the lead. They opened this season winning five of their first six games against the Giants.

The Dodger offense at this point starts and ends with a limping Adrian Beltré, who added three more hits and went 8-for-15 in the series, boosting his average to .322. Milton Bradley was out with a bad back; Shawn Green was 0-for-13 and Paul Lo Duca 1-for-13 during the four game debacle.

Dodger Blue Notes--Bradley will have an MRI on his sore right shoulder today. Bradley missed his second game with the shoulder injury. Bradley has dropped his appeal of a four-game suspension and will use it as an opportunity to rest his shoulder. ... Teammates continued to publicly support a slumping Shawn Green, saying that the struggling first baseman has worked tirelessly throughout a disappointing first half. ... Paul Shuey's rehabilitation did not go as well as originally reported Wednesday. In 2/3 of an inning he allowed an earned run with two hits, four walks and two strikeouts. Shuey also reported soreness in his surgically repaired hip.

Pitching Matchups vs. the Angels
Tonight --Jose Lima (6-2, 3.75) vs. Jarrod Washburn (7-3, 5.17).
Saturday--Odalis Perez (4-3, 2.84) vs. Aaron Sele (4-0, 3.56).
Sunday--Kazuhisa Ishii (8-3, 3.78) vs. Bartolo Colon (5-6, 5.62).