'Manager' Nomar Garciaparra Loses First Game

Nomar Garciaparra, the designated "manager of the day", took a 1-0 lead into the seventh inning but pushed the wrong buttons and his bullpen surrendered three runs. Choosing a player as manager on the final day of the season is a tradition for Torre. San Francisco took two of the three games with a 3-1 win in the finale.

The Dodgers concluded their division championship season with an 84-78 record and will face the NL Central champion Chicago Cubs starting Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

Giants' starter Tim Lincecum, who had not faced the Dodgers this season, won his 18th game, struck out 13 and finished the majors' strikeout leader with 265.

Lincecum recorded strikeouts for the first nine outs of the game —- the first time that's happened since the Mets' Sid Fernandez did so on July 30, 1986, against the Chicago Cubs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

On the afternoon, 14 Dodgers struck out. Loney was nipped three times; Kemp, Blake, DeWitt, Ellis and Kuroda twice each.

Garciaparra rested slugger Manny Ramirez and kept second baseman Jeff Kent on the bench. Rafael Furcal was a late scratch.

Andre Ethier doubled in the Dodgers only run in the second and that held up until a pinch-hit single in the seventh tied the game. The Giants added another in the seventh and a single run in the eighth to win.

Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers' Game 3 playoff starter, pitched the first five innings and allowed two hits and no runs while striking out three. Clayton Kershaw worked out of a bases-loaded mess in the sixth when Loney converted a line drive into an unassisted double play but Chan Ho Park (4-4) allowed a pair of runs in the seventh and took the loss.

Joe Beimel closed out the seventh, Cory Wade allowed a run in the eighth and Ramon Troncoso got the final out.

Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp struck out in the first. Andre Ethier singled and Casey Blake fanned. In the second, James Loney and Blake DeWitt struck out, Angel Berroa walked and A.J. Ellis, making his first major league start became strikeout victim #6.

In the third, Kuroda struck out, Pierre singled to center and stole second (#40). Kemp walked before Ethier doubled to drive in Pierre but Blake and Loney struck out for the second time.

The Dodgers mounted their only other rally in the ninth when Delwyn Young doubled and pinch-hitter Russell Martin beat out an infield hit. Loney lined out, DeWitt fanned and Berroa bounced to third base to end the game and the regular season.

Torre planned to give the team a break today and not hold a workout until Tuesday in Chicago.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	001 000 000-1
San Francisco	000 000 21x-3

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Pierre lf-cf	4  1  1  0  .293
Kemp cf	        3  0  0  0  .290
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
Ethier rf	2  0  2  1  .305
 Young ph-rf-lf	2  0  1  0  .246
Blake 3b	2  0  0  0  .251
 Ozuna 2b	1  0  1  0  .219
 Martin ph	1  0  1  0  .280
 Hu pr	        0  0  0  0  .181
Loney 1b	4  0  0  0  .289
DeWitt 2b-3b	4  0  0  0  .264
Berroa ss	3  0  0  0  .230
Ellis c	        3  0  0  0  .000
Kuroda p	2  0  0  0  .148
 Kershaw p	0  0  0  0  .069
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .111
 Beimel p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Repko ph-lf	1  0  0  0  .167
  Totals	32 1  6 1
  San Francisco	32 3 10 3

 Error- Pierre (3). 2b hits- Ethier (38), 
Young (9). RBI- Ethier (77). SB- Pierre 
(40). CS- Ozuna (1). LOB- Los Angeles 6, 
San Francisco 8. DP- Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda	        5.0  2  0-0  0  3  3.73
Kershaw	        1.0  2  0-0  1  0  4.26
Park (4-4)	0.2  3  2-2  0  1  3.40
Beimel	        0.1  1  0-0  0  0  2.02
Wade	        0.1  2  1-1  1  1  2.27
Troncoso	0.2  0  0-0  0  0  4.26
  T- 2:29. Att- 39,167.
Down and Out in Chicago
The Dodgers were 0-3 in Wrigley Field this season and 2-5 overall mark against Chicago but those games were played in late May when the Dodgers were a completely different team.

"It doesn't make any difference, I think we match up well against anybody in the playoffs," Chad Billingsley told the Los Angeles Times. Billingsley, a 16-game winner, is scheduled to start the second game of the best-of-five National League division series at Wrigley.

"We're playing our best ball of the year right now in September, which is what you want," he said.

The Dodgers drew the Cubs in the first round when Florida beat the Mets, 4-2, and the Milwaukee Brewers defeated Chicago, 3-1, clinching the wild card for Milwaukee and eliminating New York.

The East champion Phillies will play the Brewers in the other division series.

Derek Lowe (14-11) is scheduled to start Game 1 Wednesday at Wrigley, and the Cubs are expected to start Ryan Dempster (17-6). Carlos Zambrano and Rich Harden are likely to start Games 2 and 3 for Chicago.

Lowe won one of two starts in Chicago and had a 1.93 earned-run average over 14 innings. Kuroda was 1-1 with an 0.59 ERA in 15 1/3 innings, and his win was a four-hit shutout June 6.

Fans Welcome Dodgers Home
The Dodgers held a Postseason Rally Sunday night at Dodger Stadium, where some 10,000 fans came out to wish the club luck in the playoffs.

Fans, waving white rally towels, welcomed the players back from San Francisco at the event, which included motivational speeches by former club personnel as well as a few words from current players and manager Joe Torre.

Nomar Garciaparra, a 12-year veteran who is no stranger to October baseball, came away very impressed by the Dodgers faithful at the rally.

"I'll tell you what, never in my career have I ever seen anything like this," Garciaparra told the crowd.

"We've got 11 more games to win now, fans," said Dodgers legend Don Newcombe, who helped the Dodgers win their first championship in 1955. "You talk about partying, wait until we win those 11 games."

Former players Maury Wills, Kenny Landreaux, Bobby Castillo, Derrel Thomas, Lee Lacy, Rick Monday and Rudy Law all showed up to the event to support the Dodgers, just as many former players have throughout this 50th anniversary season of the franchise's move to Los Angeles.

The rally featured free parking, free admission and a special pricing of $2 for Dodger Dogs, soft drinks, peanuts, and nachos. That meant for long lines at the concession stands but happy customers.

The event ended with fans excited about the Dodgers, and not just because Manny Ramirez hinted he may want to stick around next year in his brief address to the crowd.

Kuo Out of First Round
The Dodgers will have to make-due without lefthander Hong-Chih Kuo in the first round at least.

Kuo will not be available after having trouble loosening up in the second game of the Giants series and the lefthander underwent tests for a possible circulatory problem in his throwing arm.

Kuo has emerged as one of the most reliable weapons for one of the best bullpens in the National League. He began experiencing a "weird" feeling in his fingers after warming up Saturday, according to the team. Though initial tests came back negative, the 28-year-old reliever will undergo further examination in Los Angeles this week.

However, the team just got All-Star closer Takashi Saito back from injury, and the 38-year-old righthander recorded his 18th save in the penultimate game of the season.

He missed two months of the season with a sprained ligament in his right elbow before returning to the team on September 13.

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