Early Homers, Late Single Drops Dodgers 5-4

It actually took a pair of Giants left fielders to stop the Dodgers Friday night. Barry Bonds smacked his first homer -- No. 704 in his career -- and his replacement for most of the season, Todd Linden singled in the winning run with one out in the ninth to drive another nail in the Los Angeles Dodgers coffin by a 5-4 margin.

Bonds homer gave the Giants a 2-0 lead and came three batters after Randy Winn led off with his career-high 15th home run.

Although the Padres lost at home to Washington and now the Dodgers (66-80), who lost another irreplaceable day, must go 14-1 over the final 15 games just to finish .500. The rest, it seems, will be only a formality.

Brad Penny allowed only five hits in six innings but the first two were homers and the fourth and fifth were doubles, the second of which tied the score at 4-4.

The two opening-inning home runs put Los Angeles in a hole but the telling difference was 10 baserunners, six of them in scoring position, left on base. They left the bases loaded in the fourth and the eighth innings.

The Dodgers tied it at 2 in the fifth with three hits off starter Brett Tomko, including Jayson Werth's RBI triple and a run-scoring single by Penny.

Dioner Navarro was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and he scored on Jayson Werth's triple. Penny singled to right to tie the game and the Dodgers looked like they were on to something big.

With one out, Hee-Seop Choi singled to right and with two out, Jeff Kent walked to load the bases but Jose Cruz bounced out to first.

San Francisco answered in the bottom of the fifth on a one-out walk and a pair of doubles. The Dodgers walked only four in the game and two of them scored.

Pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee hit a tying two-run single in the eighth but again it looked like it was going to be a much more productive inning.

Kent and Cruz singled and Jason Repko, in the game to bunt, popped to first. Navarro singled to right, loading the bases. Ledee hit for Werth and knotted the score.

Jose Valentin pinch-hit and fanned, Willy Aybar walked to load the bases again but Choi also struck out in what was to be the final Dodger chance.

With Duaner Sanchez walked Edgardo Alfonso to open the last of the ninth, he was bunted to second and Linden sent 42,962 fans home happy with a soft single that dropped just in front to Jason Grabowski in left field.

Willy Aybar, Hee-Seop Choi, Jeff Kent and Dioner Navarro each had two hits for Los Angeles.

For the historians in the audience, Bonds has missed most of the year recovering from three operations on his right knee and he tagged first-inning curve into right-center for his first dinger of the year.

He is now third on the career list, trailing only Babe Ruth (714) and Aaron (733). It came nearly a year -- 355 days -- since he his last homer of the 2004 season on Sept. 26 off the Dodgers' Jeff Weaver.

Dodger Blue Notes-- RHP Yhency Brazoban made his 67th appearance to tie the Dodgers' rookie record. ...Shortstop Cesar Izturis underwent what was described as "successful" Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Friday by Dr. Ralph Gambardella and Dr. Frank Jobe. They transplanted a tendon to replace the elbow ligament and the team hopes he will return at the All-Star break in 2006. ...Ledee didn't start for the second straight game with a panful left hamstring and 1B Olmedo Saenz sat out with a strained left oblique muscle. ...Aybar, a September callup from Triple-A Las Vegas who has started each of the past seven games at third base and in the leadoff spot, ran his hitting streak to seven games and came into Friday's game hitting .393 (11 for 28). He left it hitting .409. …Wilson Alvarez remains on track to return from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday at Arizona. He threw a 31-pitch simulated game on Friday. …Recent reports in Pittsburgh media said that manager Jim Tracy, if he does leave the Dodgers, would be a candidate to replace the fired Lloyd McClendon as Pirates manager. Jeff Weaver will attempt to keep the flickering Dodger hopes alive today and will be opposed by Jason Schmidt.

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