Green Gives Dodgers Series Win

Just when the guys in black hats were about to steal the girl, the cattle and burn down the home place, the guys in white hats arose and thrashed them with (to complete the color scheme) a guy named Green leading the way. Shawn Green drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning after homering in the seventh, Paul Lo Duca added a solo homer while Eric Gagné struck out the side in the ninth for this 20th save and rode into the sunset. Film over, fade to credits.

Jim Tracy gave a pre-game pep talk in a team meeting and Hall of Famer Tom Lasorda personally added a vote of confidence to Shawn Green whose bat, taken for dead, revived to key a crucial 5-4 win over the first-place San Francisco Giants Thursday night before 54,717 delighted fans at Dodger Stadium.

"Tommy gave me words of encouragement. He just told me to keep going. More than anything, he made me feel good. I have a lot of respect for him."--Shawn Green

The Dodgers came from behind three times to earn the win and take two of three in the important series after getting swept four games in San Francisco last week.

They faced Jason Schmidt who had not lost since April 21 and who was sailing along on a 10-game winning streak and Barry Bonds homered but on this night, the Dodgers overcame it all. The 466-foot blast was Bonds' 21st of the season. Six have come against the Dodgers in only 29 at-bats, and his batting average against the Dodgers this year is .483 although they have walked him 23 times.

With the starting rotation is in trouble, with Hideo Nomo on the disabled list and Odalis Perez ailing with a sore shoulder, they needed a solid effort from Lima. He gave them just that, allowing four runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. Rebounding from being pounded in his last outing and knowing the staff needed a big effort, the effervescent Lima kept the Dodgers in the game into the seventh inning. He has not lost consecutive starts this season.

The teams traded runs in the third. Starting pitcher Jason Schmidt helped his own cause with his second homer of the season, a two-out shot to left. However, Lo Duca came back in the bottom of the frame with a two-out solo shot of his own to tie it up.

In the fourth each team registered one run. After t Giants scored, Milton Bradley doubled inside the line and scored on a ground ball by Juan Encarnacion.

In the seventh inning Bonds led off the with his 21st homer of the year and the Giants added another later in the inning. In the bottom of the frame, Green matched Bonds' homer with an opposite-field leadoff homer of his own, his 10th of the season, to bring LA within one. Encarnacion then singled, moved to second on a bunt and scored on a clutch base hit by Dave Roberts.

With the contest tied at 4-4 in the eighth, the Dodgers took the lead for good. Former Dodger Felix Rodriguez was on the mound for the visitors when Bradley drew a walk, then scored the tie-breaker from first on the double by Green to deep left-center field.

Eric Gagné struck out the side in the ninth to record his 20th save while extending his major league-record streak to 83 in a row. The right-hander also notched his 127th save to tie Todd Worrell for second place on the franchise list, just two behind Jeff Shaw's 129. Setup man Guillermo Mota (5-3) pitched two-thirds of an inning in the eighth for the win.

The Dodgers (40-36) moved back into second place, percentage points ahead of San Diego and 2 1/2 games behind San Francisco (44-35).

Nomo on DL--Before the game Thursday the Dodgers placed Hideo Nomo on the 15-day disabled list with what was described as rotator cuff tendinitis. He will undergo an MRI Friday but the problem isn't pain but arm strength. There have been concerns over Nomo's velocity since Spring Training, due to a slow recovery from arthroscopic surgery last Oct. 8 to clean up his rotator cuff and labrum. It is hoped that therapy and exercise will restore enough strength that Nomo can contribute later in the season. However, General Manager Paul DePodesta doubted it would be a 15-day situation. Reliever Giovanni Carrara, who was signed last month after declaring free agency from the Cubs organization and was 0-1 with a 2.51 ERA and two saves at Las Vegas, was recalled to replace Nomo on the roster. Carrara, released by the Dodgers before the 2003 season, will provide long relief, allowing Wilson Alvarez be moved into a starting role if needed. The Dodgers will probably call up 20-year-old rookie Edwin Jackson or Brian Falkenborg to pitch Saturday against the Angeles in place of Odalis Perez, who also has rotator cuff inflammation.

Dodger Blue Notes--DePodesta said he's still looking to improve the roster through a trade. The Dodgers attempted to deal for Seattle's Freddy Garcia before he was sent to the White Sox, but DePodesta indicated the best addition to the staff might have to come from within, probably, Jackson. He noted the 20-year-old righthander just might be better than the pitchers who are available and wondered if he is ready not only for just a spot start but to move into the rotation. The Dodgers are looking for both a starting pitcher and a position player.