Giants Win First Two Games of Series

SAN FRANCISCO, California--The Giants used four home runs to pound the Dodgers 10-2 in the second game of their series and moved into a tie for third place with Los Angeles. Since a 6-1 loss to the Padres on April 21, the Dodgers have won consecutive games just once. Wilson Alvarez was torched early -- six runs in the first two innings -- and a loss in the season finale tonight would leave the Dodgers fourth place by themselves. The Dodgers have been outhomered in the last 11 games, 23-5.

Alvarez's tough start left the Dodgers starters with a combined 15-19 record and a 4.91 ERA. Pitching was thought to this team's strength when they left spring training and a search for a fifth starter is on in earnest.

But that's only part of the problem.

Jeff Kent has gone hitless in his past 21 at-bats. Hee-Seop Choi is hitless in his past 12 and his average has slipped from .325 to .261 in the past month. Drew, who homered in the second inning, was dropped to fifth in the order because of his inconsistent hitting. Although the Dodgers remain near the top of the N.L. in runs scored is due more to a few blowouts earlier in the year.

On the bright side, Jayson Werth (broken wrist) returned to the lineup for the first time this season but after grounding back to the box and taking a called third strike, he was removed in a double-switch, and hot-hitting Cesar Izturis, who leads the N.L. in hits and is second in hitting, extended his current streak to nine games by going 2 for 4 with an RBI double and leads the league in multi-hit games. He knocked in one of the runs with a double last night.

Alvarez got the start in place of Scott Erickson, who had been pounded in his most recent starts. Just-recalled Buddy Carlyle worked two perfect innings then was tagged with three runs, To prove how desperate things are, Rule 5 rookie D.J. Houlton could be the leading candidate to start Saturday off his two scoreless innings Tuesday night.

Since starting the season 12-2, the Dodgers are 11-20. They have lost 10 of their last 13 and have allowed at least five runs in 25 of 45 games this year.

May 24--(Ed. note: Delayed by computer problems) The Giants, without Barry Bonds. Marquis Grissom or Armando Benitez, had little trouble beating the Dodgers 5-3 Tuesday night. To add insult to injury, Schmidt homered in the third and catcher Mike Matheny, the No. 8 hitter, slugged a three-run shot. All five runs by the Giants were driven in by the bottom third of the order. The Dodgers, losers of eight of their last 11, tagged Schmidt for a pair of runs in the fifth. With one out and runners on first and second in the second inning, Antonio Perez singled to short center but Milton Bradley was nailed easily at the plate. Weaver's infield singled them in for a brief 1-0 lead. Antonio Perez, one of the few Dodgers who have been hitting regularly, led off with a ground-rule double and moved to third on Cesar Izturis' sacrifice bunt. He scored on Schmidt's balk. And pinch-hitter Mike Edwards, who had walked, scored on Hee-Seop Choi's sacrifice fly to left field. Jeff Weaver (4-4) left after just four innings, the third time this season he has made such an early exit. The third-place Dodgers (23-21) slid 3 games behind division-leading San Diego in the National League West and now lead the fourth-place Giants by a single game.

The Dodgers activated left fielder Jayson Werth for the first time this season on Wednesday, recalling him from his 20-day rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas one day before it expired. Werth, who batted .378 (17 for 45) in 13 games with the 51s, immediately returned to the starting lineup, batting sixth against San Francisco.

Dodger Blue Notes--Jayson Werth said his broken left wrist suffered in the Dodgers' spring-training opener on May 2 feels good. Rookie outfielder Jason Repko was optioned to Las Vegas to clear a roster spot for Werth. Repko hit .231 with four homers before being sent down. He remains one of the organization's top prospects will certainly return when the roster expands in September. … Tracy dropped slumping right fielder J.D. Drew to fifth in the order, moving Milton Bradley to third and Hee-Seop Choi back to his customary spot in the two hole. Drew underwent an MRI on his right wrist that revealed fluid, but no structural damage. That might explain why Drew's slugging percentage is .404, compared to his career average of .513. … Odalis Perez became the 10th Dodger to be disabled this season, and Buddy Carlyle was purchased from Las Vegas. To make room for Carlyle on the 40-man roster, injured third baseman Jose Valentin was moved from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day emergency disabled list. Players on the 60-day list do not count against the 40-man roster. … John Shelby III, son of the first-base coach, homered three times in a game last week for the University of Kentucky and accepted an invitation to participate in the USA Baseball National Team trials. He's a second baseman. Chad Tracy, son of the manager, homered in Pepperdine's West Coast Conference division clincher.