Sunday, April 27, 2003

NL: Dodgers finally get big hit

PITTSBURGH - If the Los Angeles Dodgers are successful this season, they may look back on a couple of late-inning wins in April as a catalyst. Shawn Green hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning to help the Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 Saturday night.

The Dodgers, down 3-0 after four innings, sent the Pirates to their season-high fourth straight loss. The victory came just one night after the Dodgers rallied from a 2-0 deficit with a five-run ninth inning.

"It's huge any time you win but when you get comeback wins it tends to carry over," Green said.

With two outs and the bases empty, Green lifted a 2-1 pitch from Scott Sauerbeck (0-2) into the right-field seats for his third home run.

Prior to that at bat, Green had been 0-for-7 with four strikeouts against Sauerbeck.

"He's as tough as any left-hander you ever see," Green said. "The first three pitches were pretty nasty. The last one didn't break as much."

Pirates Manager Lloyd McClendon said the home run pitch was a breaking ball that was meant to be down and away but it ended up being high and inside.

"That's a real bad spot to throw one to Shawn Green," McClendon said.

Hideo Nomo (3-3) pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits.

Eric Gagne pitched the ninth for his seventh save. He escaped a first-and-second, no-out jam, and now has pitched 14 scoreless innings to start the season.

Adrian Beltre, who had been in a 2-for-14 slump, hit a two-run single in the sixth to tie it at 3. Alex Cora opened the inning with a single off starter Salomon Torres and, an out later, left-hander Joe Beimel was brought in to face Green.

"Adrian Beltre has had some fantastic at-bats these last two nights," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "He's playing the game the way I've known he's capable of playing it. He's been fantastic on both offense and defense. He can produce multiple runs with one at bat."

Green was hit by an 0-2 pitch and after the runners advanced on Fred McGriff's groundout, Beltre singled in two runs.

The Dodgers scored their first run in the fifth. McGriff and Beltre hit singles and McGriff scored on Todd Hundley's infield grounder.

Expos 3, Astros 2

MONTREAL - Jose Macias hit his first homer of the season with one out in the 10th inning.

Macias hit Montreal's fourth game-winning homer of the season. He connected off Billy Wagner (1-1), who was working his third inning of relief.

Rocky Biddle (2-1) pitched the 10th for the win as the NL East-leading Expos improved to 15-9, including a 4-1 mark at Olympic Stadium.

Jeff Bagwell went 2-for-5 to reach 2,000 career hits. Bagwell hit his ninth homer in the third off rookie Claudio Vargas and beat out an infield hit in the 10th to join Craig Biggio as the only Astros players to reach the milestone.

The Astros, who are 3-9 on a 13-game road trip, lost their fourth straight. Houston has lost 11 of 14 to fall three games under .500 after getting off to a 7-2 start.

Bagwell's homer was one of just two hits allowed in six innings by Vargas, who was recalled from Triple-A Edmonton on Thursday to make his major league debut.

Rockies 8, Cubs 5

DENVER - Shawn Chacon threw seven crisp innings, and Chris Stynes and Jay Payton drove in two runs each as the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs to end a four-game losing streak.

Every Colorado starter had a hit by the fourth inning and the Rockies had 17 overall to win for the ninth time in 11 home games.

Chicago lost for the third time in four games after winning eight of its previous 10.

Chacon (4-0) had his fifth solid outing to start the season, allowing two runs - one earned - and three hits. He has won three straight starts for the first time in his career.

Chacon also struck out eight and had two singles. He has allowed four earned runs in 27 2-3 innings at Coors Field.

Jose Jimenez pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Shawn Estes (1-3) was roughed up in his second consecutive outing.

Phillies 10, Giants 2

PHILADELPHIA - Bobby Abreu homered, scored four runs and knocked in three as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the San Francisco Giants.

Jim Thome also homered and drove in two runs for the Phillies, who have won four of five. Abreu is 9-for-19 with nine RBIs and seven runs scored in his last five games.

The loss snapped the Giants' three-game winning streak, but their 18-5 start still matches their best since moving to San Francisco in 1958 - tying the 1962 and 1971 teams.

Brandon Duckworth (1-1) labored through five innings, giving up a run on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. He threw 99 pitches, including 34 in the first inning when the Giants loaded the bases but did not score.

Carlos Silva pitched four innings for his first save this season and the second of his career.

Barry Bonds went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.

Jerome Williams (0-1), making his major league debut, went four-plus innings, giving up five runs on five hits. He walked five and struck out three.

Braves 3, Brewers 2

ATLANTA - Marcus Giles hit a solo home run in the seventh and the Atlanta Braves rallied past the Milwaukee Brewers.

With one out, Giles lined the first pitch he saw from reliever Valerio De Los Santos (0-2) into the seats in right-center, a 410-foot shot that gave the Braves their 10th victory in 12 games.

A night after the Brewers hit five homers in a 12-5 victory, they managed only five hits. Richie Sexson, who hit three home runs in that game, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Ray King (2-0), traded from Milwaukee to Atlanta in the offseason, pitched a scoreless seventh for his second win in three games.

John Smoltz got three outs in the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances, and his 25th straight dating back to last year.

Marlins 5, Cardinals 3

MIAMI - Mike Lowell's homer sparked a five-run seventh inning that helped the Florida Marlins beat St. Louis, the Cardinals' sixth loss in seven games.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa served his one-game suspension for a fight between the Cardinals and Arizona last weekend. La Russa watched the game from a suite while third base coach Jose Oquendo took over.

Josh Beckett (2-2) gave up two runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings, winning for the first time in four starts.

The Cardinals scored an unearned run in the eighth off reliever Armando Almanza, but Braden Looper recorded four outs for his fourth save.

Steve Kline (0-3) allowed a hit and a run and got his second loss in as many outings. He also picked up the loss Thursday night at Atlanta.

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