Garciaparra's Two-Run Homer Drops Giants

Garciaparra's game-winning home run

Nomar Garciaparra joined a special group Friday night, etching himself into the Dodger memory book with a game-winning two-run home run that beat the San Francisco Giants 9-7, much to the delight of 53,991 at Dodger Stadium. The victory was tempered by the news that Eric Gagne would be lost for the rest of the season due to back surgery.

The game was typical Dodger-Giants- five lead changes, eight pitching moves and a home run by arch-enemy Barry Bonds, his 720th of his career.

It was a welcome victory for a club accustomed to bad luck. Before the game, they learned Eric Gagne was done for the year with back surgery, set for today. Jeff Kent was again a on the bench with a sore oblique, and Kenny Lofton's sore hamstring allowed him to play just a single inning.

Manager Grady Little told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, "When you're managing the Dodgers, "you'd better have a lot of White-Out."

Rookie starter Chad Billingsley remained winless, leaving in the sixth inning having allowed four runs, walking four and giving up the three-run show to Bonds, who will be 42 later this month, just about twice Billingsley's 21.

He also served up a home run to Ray Durham as Los Angeles scored in five different innings. They trailed 1-0 after the first half-inning. Then scored three to take the lead before he Giants went up 5-4.

L.A. tied in the fifth and took a one-run margin in the sixth before the Giants tied in the seventh. A three-run eighth put them up 9-6 before a seventh inning rally closed the gap to 9-7.

It was much like watching and indoor football game with the team that had the ball last winning.

White-hot rookie Andre Ethier and newly minted third baseman Cesar Izturis each added three hits. J.D. Drew, who is hitting .471 during the homestand, and Russell Martin had two each.

Ethier tops Drew's average, crafting a 10-for-19 (.536) on the homestand with nine RBI, and either could be accused of leading the team except for the fact that Garciaparra boosted his hitting streak to 19 games and is hitting .558 after the sixth inning.

Billingsley, his ERA about three runs higher than he is used to at 5.27, was hurt by two pitches that resulted in four runs -- homers by Bonds and Durham.

Bonds shot gave the Giants a 5-4 lead in the third. It was Bonds' 12th homer of the season, and he is now 35 shy of tying Hank Aaron for the all-time record.

Giovanni Carrara, took over with one-out and the bases loaded in the sixth and retired the Giants efficiently on four pitches -- fanning Eliezer Alfonzo on three pitches, and then S.F. pitcher Matt Morris line out to center.

Garciaparra stayed alive long enough against Giants reliever Jeremy Accardo to finally smash the two-run home that broke the 6-6 tie. Cesar Izturis added an RBI single later in the inning to give the Dodgers a 9-6 cushion.

Singles by Ethier and Izturis sandwiched with a walk in between to Ramon Martinez, added the ninth run.

"Sammy" Saito, now the full-blown (bad choice of words) owner of the closer's job, gave up a walk and a single in the ninth, allowing but a single run on a sacrifice fly and earning the important save.

The Dodgers moved to 45-41 and back into second place after the Padres won and Colorado lost. Derek Lowe (7-4, 3.49 ERA) will oppose Noah Lowry (3-5, 3.88 ERA) today in the third-game of the four-game series.
  Score by innings
San Francisco  113 000 101-7
Los Angeles     310 011 03x-9

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      3 1 2 0 .264
Lofton, CF      0 0 0 0 .296
  Kemp, CF      4 1 0 1 .286
Garciaparra, 1B 5 2 2 3 .359
Drew, RF        5 2 2 0 .293
Ethier, LF      5 1 3 1 .352
Martinez, 2B    2 0 1 2 .325
Izturis, 3B     5 0 3 1 .279
Martin, C       3 2 2 0 .290
Billingsley, P  2 0 0 0 .250
  Carrara, P    0 0 0 0 .000
  Cruz, PH      0 0 0 0 .243
  Broxton, P    0 0 0 0 .000
  Saenz, PH     1 0 0 0 .295
  Baez, P       0 0 0 0 .000
  Saito, P      0 0 0 0 .000
    Totals     35 9 15 8
    Giants     33 7  9 7 

  Error- Martin, Kemp. 2B- 
Drew 2 (16), Martinez (6), 
Martin (11). 3B- Martin (3). 
HR- Garciaparra (11). RBI- 
Garciaparra 3 (53), Martinez 
2 (20), Kemp (21), Ethier (31), 
Izturis (6). S- Lofton; Furcal. 
LOB- San Francisco 8, Los 
Angeles 10. SB- Furcal 2 
(21), Ethier (2).

  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Billingsley   5.1 6  5-4 4 5 5.27
Carrara       0.2 0  0-0 0 1 1.93
Broxton       1.0 2  1-1 1 0 2.80
Baez (W, 5-4) 1.0 0  0-0 1 0 3.95
Saito (S, 7)  1.0 1  1-1 1 2 2.20
  WP- Billingsley. T- 3:11.
Att- 53,991.
Dodger Blue Notes-- First baseman Nomar Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a single in the first inning, while right fielder J.D. Drew extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double, also in the first inning. ... Jeff Kent convinced the Dodges he should be in the lineup, then changed his mind after batting practice when his strained oblique muscle again kicked in. Ramon Martinez again took over at second base. Kent has played in about half the Dodger games, 64 of the 86, including is a 15-day stint on the disabled list with a sprained left wrist. …Garciaparra's longest hitting streak in the big leagues was 30 games, in 1997 with Boston. He is only the second player in history to make an All-Star roster as a shortstop and a first baseman. The other was Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. ... The only players to represent the Dodgers and Giants in an All-Star game are Kent and C Tom Haller. …Little pulled a surprise when he announced his his rotation for the four-game series in St. Louis after the All-Star break -- winless rookie Chad Billingsley, followed by Derek Lowe, Mark Hendrickson and Brad Penny. Aaron Sele will pitch the first game of the Arizona series.

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