Trailing 4-2 into the top of the ninth, pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson arched a single to center off San Diego's ace closer Trevor Hoffman on Trevor Hoffman night, when the Padres honored him for breaking baseball's all-time saves record last summer.
Rafael Furcal rolled a bunt down to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and he carefully checked second base just long enough for Raffy to whiz past him for a bunt single.
Juan Pierre quickly bunted the tying runs into scoring position and Garciaparra rifled a double into left-center that rolled to the wall, tying the score. It boosted his major league-leading average to an incredible .667 (12-for-18) and put him on base for the fifth time.
In a strange move, other that to go righty-righty, the Padres intentionally walked Luis Gonzalez (.297) to get to the .338-hitting Russell Martin. The young catcher took umbrage at the move and slammed a two-run double of his own over center fielder Mike Camerons head in center, giving him a .450 average (9 for 20) with men in scoring position.
Saito-San, Takashi Saito, showed he was human by giving up a home run to Jose Cruz and hitting Brian Giles to allow the winning run to come to the plate, but he flied to Pierre in center to end the game to record his seventh save.
The bullpen, once almost money in the bank, allowed runs in a fifth straight game. Chad Billingsley, battling to solve working out of the bullpen, allowed three runs -- two earned -- in the sixth that looked like enough for the Padres. Rudy Seanez (1-0) allowed a pair of walks to load the bases in the eighth and was saved by a spectacular, inning-ending diving catch in right field by Andre Ethier, his second run-saving catch of the game.
"That catch was the ballgame," said manager Grady Little.
All together, it allowed the Dodgers go to 14-9 and lead San Francisco by a game, Arizona by a game and a half and the Padres by 2 games, sending a Petco Park crowd of 44,035, liberally sprinkled with Dodger, fans home, some happy, some not so.
Hendrickson allowed one run on two hits over five innings but when he hit 85 pitches, Little took him out. Billingsley was charged with three runs in his first inning but fanned four of the last five batters he faced. The youngster has been scored upon in five of his eight appearances, including his last three.
Despite all, when you leave San Diego, a place where Dodger hopes have gone to die for many year, you don't question the how, you just enjoy the experience.
Score by innings Los Angeles 010 000 104-6 San Diego 000 103 001-5 Dodgers ab r h bi ave Furcal 4 2 1 0 .213 Pierre cf 4 0 1 1 .263 Garciaparra 1b 4 1 4 2 .326 Kent 2b 5 0 0 0 .321 Gonzalez lf 4 1 0 0 .282 Martin c 3 1 1 2 .338 Ethier rf 5 0 1 0 .242 Valdez 3b 3 0 1 1 .306 Billingsley p 0 0 0 0 .000 Martinez ph 1 0 0 0 .000 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Hendrickson p 2 0 0 0 .000 Betemit 3b 1 0 0 0 .133 Anderson ph 1 1 1 0 .250 Saenz 3b 0 0 0 0 .200 Totals 37 5 10 6 Padres 38 5 8 5 Error- Ethier (2). 2B- Garciaparra (8), Martin (7). RBI- Valdez (4), Pierre (4), Garciaparra 2 (19). Martin 2 (7). S- Pierre. SB- Martin (5), Furcal (3), Pierre (9). LOB- Los Angeles 10, San Diego 8. DP- Furcal, Kent and Garciaparra. Dodgers in h r-er bb so era Hendrickson 5.0 2 1-1 2 4 1.66 Billingsley 2.0 4 3-2 1 4 9.94 Seanez (1-0) 1.0 1 0-0 2 1 4.09 Saito (sv 7) 1.0 1 1-1 0 2 1.69 HBP- by Saito. T- 3:03. Att- 44,035.Kemp Optioned-- The Dodgers activated outfielder Matt Kemp from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and optioned him to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he already was playing on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment. Kemp had been on the major-league roster since Opening Day. But with shortstop Rafael Furcal having come off the DL while Kemp was on the shelf, there wasn't a roster spot left for Kemp.
In a situation similar to that of James Loney, he has run into the numbers problem and rather than have him just sit, Dodger General Manager feels he should play every day. "Andre (Ethier) has picked it up a little bit since Matt got hurt. But there is a very, very good chance that we will see Matt Kemp more than we won't."
Kemp, one of the organization's top power-hitting prospects, will be thrown into a crowed outfield mix along with James Loney and Andy LaRoche, who have been used in the outfield to increase their versatility, and regular outfielders Larry Bigbie, Choo Freeman, Mitch Jones and Delwyn Young.
Schmidt Not Nearly Ready-- Indications are starter Jason Schmidt will be in drydock for at least a month because of symptoms of the bursitis in his shoulder. Out since April 16, he has not been cleared to throw as of yet and will certainly make a number of minor-league rehabs before returning to the trenches.
?Deja Vu, Raffy-- shortstop Rafael Furcal, injured in spring training and attempting to round back into shape under the duress of the regular season, is seemingly duplicating 2006 when he hit .198 in April before hitting .317 with 15 homers and 63 runs batted in over the next five months.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Minor League left-hander Jonathan Figueroa was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. His suspension will take effect on June 19, the date of the first scheduled game for Class A Ogden. In 2003, Figueroa was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the Dodgers organization, behind James Loney, and the 35th best prospect in all of baseball, ahead of Dontrelle Willis, Travis Hafner and Chase Utley. He was signed in 2002 for a $500,000 bonus out of Venezuela, but he has had a series of arm injuries and has never pitched above Class A. …In the second game of the series tonight, Brett Tomko (0-1, 2.65 ERA) opposes former Dodgers right-hander Greg Maddux (1-2, 4.24).