Rookie's Home Run in 10th Boosts Dodgers

The Dodgers trailed the Mets 6-3 going into the last of the seventh, having blown a first-inning 3-1 lead. The way things have gone this season, most fans felt the game was over but at least for this night, they were wrong. Oscar Robles's two-run single tied the game in the seventh and rookie Dioner Navarro saved the best for last, slugging his first major league home run in the last of the tenth for a 7-6 win.

All seemed depressingly normal for the Dodgers, stranding a total of four runners in the eighth and ninth innings of a tie game -- three in scoring position -- but the young catcher battled with two out through eight pitches before lofting the ninth offering over the right field wall to delight of a another sellout crowd of 54,361. Navarro, who also had two walks, is 7-for-14 (.500) on the homestand, is batting .289 overall and leads the club with a .407 on-base percentage.

It gave the Dodgers a modest two-game winning streak and moved them within six games of the Padres in the National League West.

Third baseman Oscar Robles, who seemes to have shaken off an ugly slump, shared the hero's role both with his bat and with his glove.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh, he rappeded a game-tying, two-run single through the left side of the infieldto tie the game at six all. And with runners on first and third in the seventh, he made a diving catch of a sinking liner to end the inning and keep the game knotted.

It was an evening when former Dodgers inflicted a good deal of pain on their old team. Miguel Cairo, Mike Piazza, Jose Offerman and Victor Diaz gained a measure of revenge. All four developed in the Dodger minro league system, one more than is on the current 25-man Dodgers roster.

The main thorn in the Dodgers side was former Los Angeles minor leaguer Diaz who many Los Angeles aficinados expected to star in Dodger Stadium but didn't dream it would be in a Mets' uniform.

New York had recalled Diaz from Triple-A Norfolk to take the roster spot of Mike Cameron, who suffered several facial fractures in an outfield collision with teammate Carlos Beltran in San Diego. The rookie replacement then made the Dodgers, and right-hander Jeff Weaver, feel their own kind of pain.

Diaz, sent to New York in the Jeromy Burnitz deal in 2003, homered twice off starter Jeff Weaver, including a two-run blast to tie the game in the second inning and a solo shot to give the Mets a 6-3 lead in the seventh. His first homer ran halfway up the left-field foul pole screen the second landed 438 feet and midway up the left-field pavilion.

The Mets scored one in the first on a pair of doubles but the Dodgers bounced back in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 lead. With the bases loaded and one out, Ricky Ledee's sacrifice fly scored Oscar Robles and former Met Jason Phillips put the Dodgers ahead with a two-run double to left.

Diaz's first homer changed that into a 3-3 tie in the fifth after a leadoff Offerman.

With one out in the fifth, Jose Reyes singled up the middle, and broke for second on the second pitch. Navarro threw the ball to second in time to get him, and Izturis applied the tagbut didn't catch the ball. Cairo then singled him to third and both of them scored on a double inside the bag at third that was hotly contested by Weaver.

Diaz did his thing again in the sixth and the Mets led 6-3.

The Dodgers got even with a seventh-inning rally when both Jose Valentin and Navarro walked. Hee-Seop Choi loaded the bases with a pinch-hit single, then Cesar Izturis was hit with a pitch to force in one run and Oscar Robles followed with a two-run single, one of his three hits.

Piazza, not known for his throwing ability, ended the Dodger rally on a strike-him-out-throw-him-out double play, with Jeff Kent swinging though a third strike and Robles getting nailed at second.

Olmedo Saenz struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth and in the ninth, Milton Bradley doubled down the third-base line but Jose Cruz Jr., lined a shot to Offerman at first and he doubled up Kent to end the inning.

Weaver left the game after six innings, having allowed six earned runs on eight hits. The bullpen worked four scoreless innings for only its third win since the All-Star break against 11 losses. Giovanni Carrara followed Weaver with a 1-2-3 seventh inning. Steve Schmoll was saved in the eighth by Robles' diving catch and Duaner Sanchez (4-4) retired six of the seven batters he faced over the final two innings, lowering his ERA to 3.86, best in the Dodgers' bullpen.

New Team President
Dodgers vice chairman Jamie McCourt, already the highest-ranking female executive in the major leagues, was officially named team president, giving her the actual title for a role she effectively has filled since the organizational hierarchy was restructured four months ago. McCourt also will continue to hold the title of vice chairman, which she has held since she and her husband Frank bought the club from NewsCorp in February 2004. The Dodgers previously have not had a team president since the McCourts' purchase. "This basically formalizes the role Jamie has been playing since the reorganization that occurred this spring and is a natural progression from what she has been doing since we acquired the team," Frank McCourt said.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers sent Las Vegas infielder Tony Schrager, who wasn't on their 40-man roster, to Boston as the player to be named in Tuesday's Jose Cruz Jr. trade. Schrager, 27, has played the entire season at Las Vegas, where he hit .233 with 10 homers and 34 RBIs in 86 games. He signed during the winter as a Minor League free agent after spending the entire 2004 season with Boston's Triple-A affiliate Pawtucket. …Jason Phillips will catch today for the first time since Navarro was called up because it is a day game after a night game and scheduled starter D.J. Houlton is one of the Dodgers' best pitchers at holding runners close. Phillips has been working extensively with catching instructor Jon Debus to correct mechanical flaws in his catch-and-throw technique. …Manager Jim Tracy juggled his outfield, sitting Jayson Werth and Jose Cruz Jr. Jose Valentin went back to left field and Ricky Ledee played right. Ledee is playing despite a sore hamstring that received a cortisone injection Tuesday. He said the hamstring feels better but the area of injection is still sore.