Nomar Rides In to Save the Day -- Again

Playoff Perels, Episode #14 -- As we join our heros, they are clinging precariously to a small branch at the edge of a cliff, their playoff hopes in danger of being dashed on the rocks below. But in the distance is the sound of pounding hooves and a cry of "Hi, Ho Nomar". He jumps from horse, reaches over the abyss and snatches the defeat away in just time to save the club. Cut. Print.

It's A Grand (Slam) Night for Singing With the scoreboard reflecting a Padres and Phillie win, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks rolled in the dust for nine and a half innings before with a final lurch they managed to stay in the race as Nomar Garciaparra's grand slam with two out in the ninth broke a 1-1 tie and gave the Dodgers a 5-1 lead.

The Dodger first baseman nailed a 2-1 pitch from Luis Vizcaino over the left-center field fence for his 19th homer of the season and his second game-winning home run in the last four games.

Garciaparra was called out of the dugout for a curtain call to acknowledge the 49,822 wildly cheering fans.

Los Angeles barely remained 1 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading San Diego Padres and a half-game behind Philadelphia in the wild-card race. The Dodgers have six games left (Colorado and San Francisco); the Padres and Phillies each have seven remaining, also on the road..

In yet another Kodac Moment of the late-season scrambling, Marlon Anderson started the winning rally by singling and was bunted to second by Russell Martin. Oscar Robles, who had just replaced Wilson Betemit at third grounded out, moving Anderson to third, and Rafael Furcal was walked intentionally. Kenny Lofton also drew a walk and the bases were loaded for Garciaparra's booming drive.

Hong-Chic Kuo made a statement toward a starting slot in 2007 when he worked seven innings and allowed only an unearned run. He allowed four hits, two walks and fanned a career high eight.

Jonathan Broxton made things a bit dicey in the eighth when he allowed a one out double to Conor Jackson, but Broxton worked out of trouble by striking out Eric Byrnes and Scott Hairston, giving him three Ks for the inning.

Dependable Takashi Saito (6-2) pitched a perfect ninth to earn the victory while with two strikeouts, running the total to 13.

Arizona scored in the third inning when Stephen Drew walked, took second when third baseman Wilson Betemit fumbled Chris Snyder's grounder for an error and scored on Carlos Quentin's two-out double but Kuo fanned the next two hitters to end the threat..

Los Angeles collected their first hit in the fourth, a single by Betemit, then tied the game in the fifth. Kuo doubled to right field with one out, moved to third on Furcal's single and scored when Kenny Lofton singled to left.

With Livan Hernandez on the ropes, the Dodgers blew a chance to take the lead when Garciaparra walked to load the bases, but Jeff Kent fouled out to first base and and J.D. Drew bounced out to the first baseman.

Kuo left after throwing 100 pitches and after four starts has a 2-1 record while posting a 2.59 earned run average with seven walks and 29 strikeouts in 24.1 innings.

The Dodgers are off today (Monday) before moving to Colorado for three and then to San Francisco for the final three games of the regular season.
  Score by innings
Arizona     001 000 000-1
Los Angeles 000 010 004-5
  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      2 1 2 0 .301
Lofton, CF      4 1 1 1 .298
Garciaparra, 1B 4 1 1 4 .300
Kent, 2B        4 0 0 0 .281
Drew, RF        3 0 0 0 .281
Betemit, 3B     4 0 1 0 .262
 Saito, P       0 0 0 0 .000
Anderson, LF    3 1 1 0 .291
Martin, C       3 0 0 0 .282
Kuo, P          2 1 1 0 .143
 Lugo, PH       1 0 0 0 .279
 Broxton, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Robles, 3B     1 0 0 0 .167
    Totals     31 5 7 5
    DBacks     32 1 5 1

  Error- Betemit. 2B- Kuo (1). HR- 
Garciaparra (19). RBI- Lofton (38), 
Garciaparra 4 (90). S- Martin. LOB- 
8. Arizona 7. CS- Furcal (12).

  Dodgers   in h r-er bb so era
Kuo         7.0 4 1-0 2 8 4.12
Broxton     1.0 1 0-0 0 3 2.71
Saito (6-2) 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 2.15
  T- 2:58. Att- 49,822.
Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers went 5-5 on their homestand and Arizona finished 2-7 in nine games in Dodger Stadium. The final regular-season total for the year boosted a franchise record total to 3,758,545 -- the sixth-highest in NL history. That surpassed the previous Dodgers high of 3,608,881 in 1982, but that figure was the turnstile count while this year's total was tickets sold.