Green's Grand Slame Brings Dodgers Back

The Dodgers have been looking or a big hitter -- and they may have found him. Shawn Green slugged a grand slam home run in the last of the eighth to reverse a 3-0 deficit and get their second half off on a good foot. The big bomb negated a seven inning, four-hit shutout by Randy Johnson who watched from the dugout as his 11th win of the season disappeared.

Johnson struck out nine in his seven innings of work, knocking in the Diamondbacks third run himself, but when the Dodgers got into the Arizona bullpen, they ended up winning for the 12th time in their past 15 games.

A one-out single by Cesar Izturis started things in the eighth and a two-out single by Paul Lo Duca kept the Dodgers' hopes alive, but just barely. A gimpy Adrian Beltré drew a pinch-hit walk to load the bases.

Green crushed a long shot that nearly landed in the swimming pool down the right field line. Green went 2-for-4 after getting a free single in the fourth inning when the Diamondback first baseman didn't throw the ball to Johnson covering first.

Green's 410-foot drive, his 11th of the year and seventh career slam -- #5 in Los Angeles -- electrified the Dodgers dugout and stunned the crowd of 28,150.

"It was definitely relaxing to have those three days off. It was nice to relax and get away from it. But I wouldn't say I had a new outlook. I'm just trying to help us make the playoffs. I didn't do a good job in the first half, but some other guys carried the team like Beltré and Lo Duca. I hope the second half, I can chip in and pull my weight. It's not fun to perform below your capabilities. Hopefully, the second half will be different for me." -- Shawn Green.

Jayson Werth seemingly gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the second inning when he slugged a triple but was later called out for leaving the base too soon on a long fly ball off the bat of Chin-Feng Chen. Television replays indicate that he did not leave before the catch.

Jeff Weaver pitched well again, allowing three runs before leaving in the sixth and Tom Martin got a fly ball with the bases loaded to end the inning. Wilson Alvarez (4-3) pitched a scoreless seventh, Darren Dreifort allowed an infield hit but struck out two in the eighth.

Then Eric Gagné struck out a pinch-hitter to end the inning, then fanned the side in the ninth for his 24th save in 25 opportunities.

The Dodgers (49-38) maintained a tenuous, half-game lead over San Francisco in the N.L. West after the Giants (50-40) won 7-5 at Colorado on Thursday.

Dodger Blue Notes--Adrian Beltré was a late scratch because of a strain in his upper right quad. Milton Bradley did not make the starting lineup with continued soreness in his right shoulder. Werth, who came into the game with a .350 average, six homers and 14 RBI in his 15 starts, has filled in brilliantly during the stretch of injuries. ... Odalis Perez, who returned from a visit to his Dominican Republic home, threw a strong bullpen session before the game and will be taken off the disabled list and start on Saturday. ... Rumors say the Dodgers have been tracking Houston center fielder Carlos Beltran since the Astros have apparently fallen out of the NL Central race. The Astros are expected to trade the switch-hitter before the July 31 deadline and Edwin Jackson and setup man Guillermo Mota have been the top targets of not only Houston but also other teams.

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