Wells Perfect Into Sixth Inning, Beats Giants

On the anniversary of Sandy Koufax's 1965 perfect game, David Wells, as diametrically opposite of Koufax as could be, took a perfect game into the sixth inning against San Francisco. He lost the perfecto, no-hitter and shutout in record time but the Dodgers held on for a 6-2 win. Luis Gonzalez smacked a three-run homer in the first to kick-start the team

All in all, the Dodgers bookended the Giants, scoring three in the first and in the ninth with seven scoreless innings in between during which they managed only one hit, a harmless single by Jeff Kent in the third.
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The Giants battled back to crack Wells' perfecto, scoring twice in the sixth and leaving a runner at third base. Wells completed seven, working around a leadoff double in that inning and leaving him at third also.
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L.A. put it away in the ninth, scoring three times on a walk, three singles and a squeeze bunt. Jonathan Broxton, who had allowed costly home runs in his last two outings, got back on the horse and pitched a scoreless eighth, striking out a pinch-hitting Barry Bonds.
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Super Sammy Saito-San pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save appearance but at this time of the year there are saves and then there are saves. This one needed to be nailed down, and he did just that.
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Juan Pierre got things started in the second with a swinging bunt for a single, hitting in his 10th game and his 25th game in the last 26. Only a questionable fielder's choice ruling has kept him from a remarkable streak.
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Matt Kemp followed with a walk and Gonzalez ripped a shot to deep right-center, putting the Dodgers in front 3-0.
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Wells, displaying a variety of arm-angles, curves, sliders and cunningly-placed fastballs to retire the first 16 Giants in succession without a hard-hit ball in the entire batch.
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But with one out in the sixth, Kevin Frandsen's line shot to left field broke the suspense. Pinch-hitter Scott McClain bounced a ball on the left side of the infield and third baseman Shea Hillenbrand cut in front of shortstop Rafael Furcal, just like the book says to do.
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But finding McClain well down the first base line, he opted to go to second for the force, hitting Frandsen on the foot with the throw. The ball rolled into the outfield as Frandsen scored. Nate Schierholtz followed with a booming triple off the center field wall and S.F. trailed by one.
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Wells retired the side on a ground ball to Furcal, but James Loney deserves an assist when he long-hopped the throw while falling toward the plate to end the inning.
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Pedro Feliz doubled to lead off the seventh but the old master finished with a flourish, retiring the next three on a ground ball, a strikeout and a easy bouncer to second.
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Between Gonzalez's homer and the ninth inning, only Kent's single broke up the Dodger doldrums.
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But in the ninth, Gonzalez walked and Wilson Valdez ran for him. Russ Martin fanned but Loney singled to right field. Tony Abreu, playing third in place of Hillenbrand then second for Kent, singled to left to drive in Valdez.
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Then Ramon Martinez, who had taken over at third, came to the plate.
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Manager Grady Little has an unusual fixation about Martinez. With the third-best pinch-hitter of all time (Mark Sweeney) and the fourth best Dodger pinch-hitter of all time (Olmedo Saenz) on the bench with bats in had, allowed Martinez to hit, .180-something average and all.
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Like Paul Harvey, you know the rest of the story. Martinez singled up the middle to drive in Loney and Furcal softly laid down a perfect bunt to allow Abreu to cross the plate with the third run.
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Saito performed his oriental magic and the Dodgers left the park hoping something bad would happen to San Diego and Arizona later in the evening.
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Brad Penny (15-4, 2.82 ERA) opposes Matt Cain (7-14, 3.83) the series finale this afternoon.

Score by innings Los Angeles 300 000 003-6 San Francisco 000 002 000-2 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 4 0 0 1 .270 Pierre cf 5 1 1 0 .292 Kemp rf 2 1 0 0 .339 Kent 2b 3 0 1 0 .292 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Gonzalez lf 3 1 1 3 .280 Valdez pr 0 1 0 0 .236 Ethier lf 0 0 0 0 .000 Martin c 4 0 0 0 .298 Loney 1b 4 1 1 0 .316 Hillenbrand 3b3 0 1 0 .252 Abreu 3b-2b 1 1 1 1 .295 Wells p 3 0 0 0 .111 Martinez 3b 1 0 1 1 .192 Totals 33 6 7 6 Giants 31 2 4 1 Error- Hillenbrand (5). HR- Gonzalez (13). RBI- Gonzalez 3 (60), Abreu (10), Martinez (27), Furcal (45). S- Furcal. LOB- Los Angeles 5, San Francisco 3. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Wells (2-0) 7.0 4 2-2 0 4 3.71 Broxton 1.0 0 0-0 0 1 2.33 Saito 1.0 0 0-0 1 0 1.26 T- 2:31. Att- 42.228

Quote of the Day-- "He's been swinging the bat good since the start of the trip, putting together good at-bats, hitting the ball hard. He hit a ball to right-center that could have been a home run, too. I don't think it's an aberration [three homers in two games]. Anybody who hits as hard and as consistently as he does, all the speculation about the kind of power hitter he's going to be might be underestimating what he can do." -- Manager Grady Little talking about James Loney. Little wouldn't speculate on Loney's ceiling as a power hitter, but said he expects him to get stronger, not that that would guarantee more production. "If it was pure strength," said Little, "we'd have our scouts watching the World Wrestling Federation."

Dodger Blue Notes-- Wells just returned from a seven-day suspension for a ruckus with an umpire while with the Padres. However, there is no truth to the rumor that Little is going to put the rest of the Dodger starters on an every-seven day basis after his performance. He beat Barry Zito, who signed to a $126 million, seven-year contract last winter with San Francisco. ...Dodgers 3B Nomar Garciaparra was originally going to start Saturday but manager Grady Little changed his mind to keep James Loney in the lineup. Garciaparra came off the DL and made his first start back Friday. ...Offensively, Kemp is on fire. He is batting .400 over the last three weeks and he's 14-for-29 against the Giants this year and .370 for his short career. ...Los Angeles has won nine of its last 13 contests and 14 of its last 22 games overall. The team has captured four of the last six series it has played and has closed the gap in the NL West. ...Luis Gonzalez is nine hits shy of 2,500 and once he reaches that mark, he'll be just the 20th player in big league history to do so while also notching 550 doubles. ...Mark Sweeney joined Smokey Burgess and Lenny Harris as the only Major Leaguers in the last 51 years to record two 20-pinch-hit seasons when he collected a pinch single Thursday. Sweeney had 22 pinch-hits while splitting time between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres in 1997. Burgess accomplished the feat in 1965 and 1966 for the White Sox. Lenny Harris, the all-time pinch-hit leader, turned the trick in 1999, 2001 and 2002. ...Takashi Saito's 1.26 ERA would tie him for second best in franchise history with Jim Brewer among pitchers with 50 or more innings behind only Eric Gagné (1.20 in 2003). Saito saved his 37th game on Wednesday, the sixth-highest single season total in franchise history. Saito also surpassed Charlie Hough for sole possession of ninth place on the all-time Dodger saves list with 61 career rescues. He is beginning to be considered as a legitimate Cy Young Award candidate. 

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