Dodgers Gain Nothing but Time

It's the time of the year that Pee Wee Reese once described as "When you go to spit, there isn't any." Take that quote from a veteran whose career spanned 1940-58, with three years out for WW II, and most of them involved a gut-wrenching pennant race, and multiply it by a 10 is the feeling a number of young Dodgers are now experiencing.

And the clubs who have been eliminated and who will (again) have to watch the playoffs on television, albeit from Hawaii or somewhere pretty nice, and are ticked about their plight will play harder than ever against the few teams still in the thick of the battle.

Thus you have the Giants, who have been, well, really bad all season long, rising up to take two of three from their long time rivals in Los Angeles.

The fellows from San Francisco pitched as if their lives depended upon it and the guys in the field, although they didn't hit much, caught nearly everything that was hit, sliding on their faces and leaping into the air to take hits away.

That's the honorable way: make the other team earn it if they are going to take it from you.

And as it came to pass the folks from by the bay determined that to beat the Dodgers, you had to not let Manny Ramirez hit and their plan worked perfectly except for the second game when they walked 11 Dodgers and Manny knocked in five.

Today Los Angeles players slept late on their final day off of the regular season before hosting San Diego for the last three games in Dodger Stadium and Arizona flew from Colorado to face the sometimes bad, sometimes good Cardinals.

As to the game itself, it was the Giant's pitcher what done them in.

Four of them held the Dodgers to a skimpy five singles and a sixth supplied the cruelest blow of all. Brad Hennessey, who was the starter the night before and one of eight pitchers who walked 11 L.A. batters, pinch-ran for Pablo Sandoval with one out in the 11th inning with the score tied 0-0.

While Takashi Saito was pitching to Eugenio Valdez, he shocked the stadium as well as catcher Russell Martin by stealing second base with two out. He so surprised everyone that he was able to go into second base standing up and didn't even draw a throw.

Valdez beat out a bang-bang play at first base that both James Loney and Joe Torre protested in vain, and that allowed Hennessey to move to third from whence he scored on Rick Aurilla's single for the first and last run of the game.

The Dodger batters, like lemmings, marched off the cliff in line over the final five innings; 16 of them going down in order after their only two scoring threats were blotted out by remarkable defensive plays.

Martin and Andre Ethier singled and Ramirez was walked in the first inning. Bases loaded and none out. Matt Cain on the mound who had never beaten the Dodgers. Perfect, right?

Somewhere between "perfect" and "Oh, @#**#!" the Giants wriggled out of the mess.

Loney lined a broken bat shot headed for left field that shortstop Ivan Ochoa nearly leaped out of his shoes to catch. Then Casey Blake and Matt Kemp out to end the threat.

In the third, with Ramirez on base with his second walk, Loney ripped a ball into right field that Nate Schierholtz slid on his face to catch.

In the fifth, Berroa singled, Lowe bunted him to second and Martin walked. Ethier spanked a single up the middle but Aaron Rowland scooped it up and nailed Berroa at the plate on a close play.

Ramirez was given a free pass (his third) before Loney banged a ball on which left fielder Randy Winn made a diving catch close to the left field foul line to rob the Dodgers' first baseman of a third hit.

Schierholtz made a second spectacular catch in the sixth after Blake DeWitt had singled with two out. Angel Berroa lined it to right and Schierholtz again made a sliding catch.

Giant starter said, "Holy Cow. I think everbody got a golf Glove today, didn't they?"

That was the end of the Dodgers offense. Not another player in a white uniform reached base the rest of the game.

Derek Lowe started and the Giants loaded the bases in the second on a air of singles and a walk but he ended the threat with a strikeout.

Loney took his turn in the fielding exhibition, racing back to the stands and talking a foul pop out of the hands of a reaching fans to open the fourth inning.

Ramirez lost a ball in the sun and it fell for a double with one out in the fifth, Lowe allowed a double and a walk in the sixth and ended the seventh with a pair of strikeouts after a leadoff single.

He finished the game after throwing 120 pitches and allowing five hits over seven innings. He walked three, all intentionally, and had seven strikeouts. Over his last five starts he had give up 42 hits and nine runs in 61 innings (1.32 ERA) and is 5-1 with a pair of no-decisions.

Cory Wade retired six straight Giants in the eighth and ninth, Jonathan Broxton worked around a walk and pitched a scoreless 10th.

Then came Saito, just off the disabled list and after throwing 15 pitches in the game before. He struck out the first Giant, then allowed a single and got Sandoval to hit into a force play for the second out. He never got the third one.

An infield hit that might have been called either way, an unexpected stolen base by a pinch-running pitcher and a single sealed his day and the Dodgers fate.

Joe Beimel came in to close out the inning with a strikeout.

Then the 14th, 15th and 16th lemming tumbled off the cliff and, coupled with Arizona's win over Colorado, the Dodgers' lead was cut to 2 1/2 games while the magic number remains at five.

It was only the fifth loss in the last 21 for Los Angeles.

"We'll bounce back," Torre said. "We're used to doing that all year. This was a tough loss. We'll have a day off to rest up."

Following the off day, the Dodgers host San Diego and Chad Billingsley will have his work cut out for him because the Padres have saved Jake Peavy, the Dodger killer, for just this opportunity. Clayton Kershaw and Greg Maddux will pitch the final two games.

 Score by innings
San Francisco	000 000 000 01-1
Los Angeles	000 000 000 00-0

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Martin c	4  0  1  0  .275
Ethier rf	5  0  2  0  .301
Ramirez lf	2  0  0  0  .399
Loney 1b	5  0  0  0  .291
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .245
Kemp cf	        4  0  0  0  .289
DeWitt 2b	4  0  1  0  .260
Berroa ss	3  0  1  0  .238
 Young ph	1  0  0  0  .250
 Hu ss	        0  0  0  0  .161
Lowe p	        1  0  0  0  .141
 Pierre ph	1  0  0  0  .271
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .135
 Saito p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	36 0 5 0
  San Francisco	41 1 9 1

 S- Lowe. LOB- Los Angeles 8, San Francisco
12.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe	        7.0  5  0-0  3  7  3.29
Wade	        2.0  1  0-0  0  2  2.22
Broxton	        1.0  0  0-0  1  0  3.09
Saito (4-4)	0.2  3  1-1  0  1  2.40
Beimel	        0.1  0  0-0  0  1  2.09
 T- 3:27. Att- 55,294.

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