Unlikely Heros Choi, Ross Key 4-2 Win

The beautiful thing about baseball is the off-the-wall unexpectedness of it. If you would have known that Jayson Werth, Steve Finley, Adrian Beltré and Robin Ventura would neither get a hit or score a run, you might have just curled up with a good book and checked the results the next day. But with San Francisco winning in San Diego, the Dodgers were struggling with an upstart Colorado team, the heros were Alex Cora, Hee-Sop Choi and David Ross. That's strange ingredients for 4-2 win.

Well, you could certainly add Jose Lima's name to the hero-of-the-day club after his gutty seven innings. He allowed eighth hits but was unhittable with men on base and only allowed a fourth inning run. Gio Cabrera pitched well and Yhency Brazoban (5-2) worked a scoreless 11th for the victory.

Lima got little help from his offense. They finally got him a run in the seventh on a double by Shawn Green, a single by Robin Ventura and an RBI grounder by Cora.

After a not-so-sharp Eric Gagné gave up a run in the top of the 10th, it was Hee-Seop Choi's double leading off the bottom of the inning set up the tying run and Ross' homer won it.

Two less likely hitters could not be imagined.

Choi came into the game hitting .158 since joining the Dodgers two months ago and Ross was hitting .169 for the entire season. Adrian Beltré's .340 is higher than both of them combined.

Choi had his first hit in nearly a month and Ross his first homer since Aug. 11. Ross' giddy home-run trot and team reunion at home plate has written another chapter in the miraculous season and in the Dodgers' history book.

It ended the 3-hour 9-minute game and reduced the Dodgers' magic number to one to clinch their first National League West title in nine years.

In the 10th, Choi led off with a booming double and Cesar Izturis bunted, but reliever Chin-hui Tsao's throw pulled Todd Helton off the bag for an error. Jayson Werth's fielder's choice grounder scored Choi. Beltré nearly won it with two out but his line smash was caught by a diving second baseman.

In the 11th, with Alex Cora on first after having been hit with a two-out pitch, setting a new club record in the category, Ross connected on a 2-and-1 slider and the ball just cleared the left-field wall, landing on the roof of the Dodger bullpen waiting room.

The Dodgers (92-67) rallied for three victories in a four-game series that saw the winning team score the winning run in the final inning against and matched the team record for comeback wins with their 52nd this year.

The NL West leaders play host to the second-place San Francisco Giants (89-70) in the teams' final three-game series beginning tonight at Dodger Stadium, needing one victory to finally end the suspense and win the division outright. The Dodgers would have to lose five consecutive games to have any chance of missing the postseason.

Pitching line for the Giants series
Tonight--Jeff Weaver (13-12, 4.01 ERA) vs. Kirk Rueter (8-12, 4.81).
Saturday--Edwin Jackson (2-1, 6.75) vs. Brett Tomko (11-7, 4.19).
Sunday--Kazuhisa Ishii (13-7, 4.69) vs. Jason Schmidt (17-7, 3.29).
*Note--The Dodgers might use Odalis Perez to pitch the final regular-season game Sunday on three days' rest if a playoff berth is at stake.