Weaver Loses In What Might Be Final Dodger Start

LOS ANGELES, California-- Jeff Weaver made his final start at Dodger Stadium, again pitching well enough to win but receiving no support to lose 2-0. Like two inexperienced boxers, the clubs circled each other, landing a couple of tentative jabs each but doing no damage. Then suddenly with two out in the eighth inning, Arizona landed a short left to the stomach (a double by Luis Gonzalez) and a right cross (a homer by Chad Tracy), then clinched with the exhausted Dodgers as time ran out.

The veteran right-hander who was stolen from the Yankees and became the ace of the shaky Dodger staff will be a free agent in five days unless San Diego has not nailed down the N.L. West flag, in which case he will go against the Padres in the final game of the season.

That scenario would put Weaver (14-11) in an unusual position for a Dodgers pitcher -- trying to help the Giants by beating the Padres.

Sources have said Weaver is seeking a five-year contract - which is two more years than the Dodgers reportedly are willing to give him. And with Scott Boras guiding his fortunes, he is destined to land a fat contract somewhere, just not in L.A.

If this was the end of the short but remarkable Weaver went out on a high note, allowing just three hits over seven shutout innings before giving up a two-out double to Luis Gonzalez and a two-run homer to Chad Tracy in the eighth, his third game-winning hit in as many days.

Arizona stranded runners at third base in the fourth and seventh innings. Weaver retired Troy Glaus on a line drive to center fielder Jason Repko to end the fourth, and escaped the other jam when Royce Clayton struck out and Chris Snyder hit a soft liner to third base.

But the Dodgers couldn't get a runner to second base, smothered by Brandon Webb who allowed a pair of singles, both by Hee-Seop Choi. Webb is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in his last four starts. He was 5-11 with a 4.15 ERA in his previous 19 outings, after going 6-0 in his first nine starts this season.

Choi was erased after each hit by double play balls off the bat of Oscar Robles in the first and seventh innings. Jeff Kent walked to open the fifth and was the Dodgers' only LOB.

Giovanni Carrara finished up for Weaver, allowing a single and throwing a double play ball of his own in the top of the ninth.

The Dodgers have lost 11 of 16 to Arizona this season after winning last year's season series 16-3. The DBacks have a three-game lead over the fourth-place Dodgers in the NL West with five games to play. Los Angeles hasn't finished lower than third since 1993.

Arizona remained five games behind first-place San Diego in the NL West with five to play, following the Padres' 9-6 win over San Francisco. One more Arizona loss or San Diego win eliminates the Diamondbacks.

Dodger Blue Notes-- In the small victories department, shortstop Cesar Izturis already has had the cast removed from his right elbow after undergoing Tommy John surgery Sept. 16. That could speed his rehabilitation program to the point that he can return before his current target of next year's All-Star break. …Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta had little to say about the future of manager Jim Tracy on the day news broke that a meeting took place during the club's previous homestand involving Tracy, DePodesta, owner Frank McCourt and Tracy's agents. Tracy has an escape clause in his current two-year deal that would allow him to leave the Dodgers and seek employment elsewhere after this season. …The Dodgers fell to 39-39 at home. …OF Jose Cruz, Jr. continues to excel at the plate since joining the Dodgers on August 9. Cruz has a .319 (46-for-144) average with Los Angeles, including 13 doubles, six home runs, 22 RBI, and an impressive .401 (65-for-162) on-base percentage. He had six straight multi-hit games before Tuesdays game and has raised his season average from .215 to .260 (92-for-354) in his 41 games with Los Angeles. ... 3B Willy Aybar has an even better on-base percentage since being called up from Class AAA Las Vegas on August 28. In his 17 major league starts, he has reached base safely in 15, with an overall on-base percentage of .471 (40-for-81). ... RHP Yhency Brazoban made his 103rd appearance as a rookie Monday, giving him the fourth highest total in history, just four appearances behind Terry Foster and Dan Quisenberry, who appeared in 107 games as rookies in the 1970's. ... With 13 doubles over the past five games, the Dodgers have amassed 280 on the season, the second-highest total in team history since it moved to Los Angeles in 1958. The 2002 club tallied 286 two-base hits.

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