We Have Three .. Do We Hear Two?

Steve Finley's two-run single in the bottom of the ninth finished off an improbable five-run rally that erased a 4-0 Colorado lead and gave the Dodgers an important boost toward the National League West title. The win cut the magic number of three and eliminated the Padres from the pennant mix, although they still have wild-card thoughts. As improbable as the rally, Kaz Ishii worked seven innings and allowed two hits, four walks and struck out seven ... but left trailing 1-0.

After managing only three hits against the Rockies through eight innings, the Dodger comeback, the 11th in the team's last 12 games and league-leading 51st overall, was helped just as much by Colorado wildness than Dodger bats.

After Almedo Saenz struck out to open the last of the ninth, reliever Shawn Chacon walked Alex Cora, pinch-hitters Robin Ventura and Jose Hernandez and Cesar Izturis to force in the first Dodger run of the night. Jayson Werth slugged a double to score two and cut the lead to 4-3, then Steve Finley's single scored Izturis and Werth, setting off a wild Dodger celebration.

Ishii (13-7) became the starter by default in a Rube Goldberg sort of way, having replaced the injured Wilson Alvarez after Alvarez had replaced him on the starting staff. He got only a no-decision because the Dodger offense got nothing off the Rockies, going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Elmer Dessens (2-6) picked up the win in relief.

Ishii got off to a stumbling start, walking the leadoff man, then allowing back-to-back singles to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. He retired the next nine batters and struck out seven of 11, allowing no other hits in his seven-innings, fanning a season-high nine and allowing three walks and a hit batter in a 115-pitch outing.

Dodger outfielder Bradley lost his composure in the eighth inning. He had fanned with runners on base earlier in the game, then in the eighth with two out he dropped a line drive that allowed two runs to score.

When the next Rockie stepped to the plate, a fan threw an empty plastic beer bottle at Bradley, landing some 30 feet away from him. He picked it up, walked to the right field stands and demanded to know who threw it at him. Unsatisfied with the answer, he spiked the bottle into the stands, not hitting anyone but splashing some of the fans with beer.

Manager Jim Tracy and teammates Steve Finley and Alex Cora raced into the outfield in an attempt to calm the outfielder but he was out of control. The first base umpire quickly threw him out of the game. It was Bradley's fourth ejection of the season.

After Bradley's ejection, Giovanni Carrara got out of the inning with the Dodgers trailing 4-0.

Dodger Blue Notes--The miracle comeback was the 51st of the season, which leads the National League this year and is second in franchise history after the 52 by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953. Eleven of the last 11 Dodger wins have been comeback wins. Of the Dodgers' 13 wins in September, relievers have eight of them and four of those are by rookie Yhency Brazoban. ... Jose Lima threw his between-starts bullpen session and was reported he was better. "Oh, so much better," Lima said, referring to his Saturday start in San Francisco. "Today, for the first time, I threw 100 percent, full speed. I let it go, man. Everything, the slider, the change, the sinker. I'm extremely happy." ... Dr. Frank Jobe will throw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the famous elbow surgery he performed on pitcher Tommy John.

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