Perez Steps Up With Magnificent Three-Hitter

Odalis Perez fired a three-hitter at the Giants and a pair of home runs from Shawn Green and Jose Hernandez scored three in the fourth inning as the Dodgers held on for a 3-2 win and moved 2 1/2 games ahead the Giants (three in the loss column) in the NL West. Despite three walks, including an intentional one to Barry Bonds, closer Eric Gagné battled through bases-loaded mess in the ninth to record his 44th save in 46 opportnities. The victory reduced the Dodgers' magic number to seven.

After a tough series in San Diego, the Dodgers are assured of leaving San Francisco with at least a half-game lead in the division.

Perez (7-6), who has been the low man on the starting staff in run support, earned his first victory in eight starts since Aug. 13, Green and Hernandez hit homers No. 28 and 13, respectively, and Gagné staggered to the save.

Perez smothered the league's second-highest-scoring team despite giving up two solo home runs in the second inning, including Bonds' 44th of the season and 702nd of his record-setting career. But Perez also fanned Bonds twice.

The left-hander provided a huge start for a rotation that has been in disarray. He retiring 12 straight and 19 of 21 at one point and facing one batter over the minimum over his last six innings of work.

The Giants walked MVP candidate Adrian Beltré for the second time in the fourth inning and Green slugged a game-tying, two-run homer to center field, his 28th of the year. Milton Bradley lined out to left before Hernandez hit his 13th homer of the year to put the Dodgers in front for good.

After having pitched two innings to save a victory over the Padres the night before, Gagné quickly got two groundouts in the ninth, one on a nifty play by shortstop Cesar Izturis, but he then his control left him.

Gagné gave up a four pitch walk and with Bonds on deck, the Dodgers went against the traditional 'book' and intentionally walked the future Hall of Famer, putting the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on first. Then Gagné walked a pinch-hitter on four pitches to load the bases.

With the crowd screaming "Beat L.A." Gagné got the final Giants hitter on a line drive to left where Jayson Werth squeezed it to end the game.

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