Antonio Perez Rides to the Rescue

SAN FRANCISCO, California--Antonio Perez was a reluctant third baseman in spring training but the youngster may be the answer to the revolving door problem the Dodgers have had at third base since Jose Valentin injured his knee. His 4-for-4 performance last night in San Francisco averted a series sweep and (hopefully) added a bat to a Dodger lineup that has struggled.

After six weeks on the sideline and a minor-league rehabilitation assignment in Las Vegas, Perez doggedly dragged the Dodgers to a 6-4 victory over the Giants to keep Los Angeles from dipping into fourth place in the National League West.

Perez's career-high four hits were evenly spaced through the game with his two run homer in the top of the second -- the first home run by a third baseman in 42 games -- giving the Dodgers and early lead and a single in the ninth arrived just after Yhency Brazoban blew a victory for starter Brad Penny who had worked seven scoreless innings.

The Dodgers sailed into the eighth with a 3-0 lead only to see Penny lose his shutout on a pinch-homer by Deivi Cruz leading off the eighth. Omar Vizquel's single one out later brought on Brazoban, who was greeted by J.T. Snow's double. Edgardo Alfonzo's two-out, broken-bat single tied the game.

J.D. Drew drew his third walk of the game to begin the ninth, Giants manager Felipe Alou brought in closer Tyler Walker to face Perez, who smacked Walker's next pitch through a right side of the infield on a perfect hit-and-run that set the table for a three-run inning.

After Paul Bako walked to load the bases, and Ricky Ledee, whose time with San Francisco last year were not pleasant, followed with a pinch-hit, two-run single. Jayson Werth's second hit provided an insurance run that came in handy when Gagne allowed consecutive two-out doubles in the bottom of the ninth but recorded his first save since 2004.

Perez finished 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. Since his May 18 activation from the disabled list, he is batting .533 (8 for 15), with three multiple-hit games.

In his professional career, Perez, at 25, already has been traded three times. Before this season, he had hit just .246 in 61 big-league games. But he also had a .340 on-base percentage, a number that caught GM Paul DePodesta's eye.

Derek Lowe, the most consistent starter in the rotation, takes the mound in Arizona on Friday night to open a three-game series.

Dodger Blue Notes--Left-hander Derek Thompson will be recalled from Jacksonville and start Saturday night's game at Arizona. Thompson got the nod over other minor-league candidates such as Edwin Jackson because the Diamondbacks' lineup is stacked with left-handed hitters. At Jacksonville, he has made eight starts, going 0-2 with a 3.89 ERA, and has walked 19 batters in 41 innings. Originally drafted by Cleveland as a first-round sandwich pick in 2000, Thompson was taken by the Chicago Cubs in the 2002 Rule 5 draft and traded later that same day to the Dodgers. He missed the following season with an elbow injury, which is how the Dodgers got around the Rule 5 issue and how Thompson accrued a year of big-league service time. … Reliever Elmer Dessens (shoulder) will throw batting practice for the first time Saturday and the second time Tuesday. After that, the right-hander expects to begin a rehabilitation assignment at Las Vegas. ... Tracy moved J.D. Drew in the lineup for the third time in four days Wednesday, this time dropping the slumping right fielder to sixth. … Tracy said Wilson Alvarez will get another start Monday against the Chicago Cubs. Alvarez allowed six earned runs and two first-inning homers in Wednesday night's loss to the Giants.