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Green Running Deep Again

Baseball: Latest home run binge reaches four in a row, and Dodgers even series against Angels with 10-5 victory.


The first home run, a towering solo shot to center field, came in the first inning, and the second homer, a two-run laser to the same spot, came in the second.

Saturday night's Dodger-Angel game was a mere two innings old, Shawn Green had two home runs in the bank, and heads in the Dodger Stadium sellout crowd of 52,165, as well as those in the home dugout, began spinning with possibilities.

Green tied a major league record with four home runs in a game in Milwaukee on May 23; could the Dodger right fielder do it again? Even more outrageous: Could he hit five?

Green settled for a smaller chunk of history, becoming the 22nd major league player to homer in four consecutive at-bats over two games, and the Dodgers parlayed that, another strong Odalis Perez start and several other significant offensive contributions into a 10-5 interleague victory over the Angels.

Green, who homered in his last two at-bats Friday night, walked in the fifth inning and struck out in the sixth and eighth innings Saturday, concluding a seven-game stretch in which he hit .333 (nine for 27) with seven home runs and 11 runs batted in.

"The way he was swinging the bat, I thought we had the makings of something we visited in Milwaukee not too long ago," Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said. "That's the impression you got watching him. He was as locked in as much as he was that week [of May 21-26, when he homered nine times].

"That's one of the prettiest swings in the game. It's the type of swing where if he gets extended and his bat gets centered, the ballpark is not going to hold the ball. That's all there is to it."

It was Green's 21st multiple-homer game of his career and fifth of the season, and he became the first player to homer in four consecutive at-bats over two games since San Francisco's Barry Bonds on May 19-20, 2001.

"Every club has a guy on it who, before you go out there, you hope isn't going to beat you," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's locked in right now. It's difficult to pitch around him without flat-out intentionally walking him. This is not a fluke. When great players get hot, this is what happens."

Dodger shortstop Cesar Izturis snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a career-high four hits, two runs and two RBIs, and Paul Lo Duca and Brian Jordan also homered, giving the Dodgers 37 homers in the last 20 games. They hit 22 homers in the their first 40 games.

Perez gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking none, to improve to 7-3 and keep his earned-run average at 2.62. The left-hander threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 27 batters, and of his 95 pitches, 68 were strikes. He has not walked a batter in seven of his 14 starts this season.

"In the absence of [injured] Kevin Brown, if you wanted to make an argument about who the ace of our staff is, this young man makes a strong case for himself," Tracy said. "He's throwing the ball like he did earlier in the season, when he was on a roll."

Perez was perfect through 4 1/3 innings before Tim Salmon lined a home run to left with one out in the fifth, a shot that gave him 846 career RBIs to tie Brian Downing for first place on the Angels' all-time list.

Benji Gil doubled to lead of the sixth, David Eckstein hit an RBI single, and Darin Erstad added a milestone hit, a sixth-inning single that gave him 1,000 career hits, but the Angels were unable to inflict further damage on Perez.

Angel starter Scott Schoeneweis (5-5) took batting practice before the game, a novelty of sorts for an American League pitcher, but he didn't hang around long enough to get a plate appearance.

The left-hander who was 4-0 with a 3.10 ERA in his past six starts, his last loss coming on May 4, was bombed for six runs on six hits in two innings and was pulled for a pinch hitter in the third.

Lo Duca homered to left in the first inning and Green homered to center, extending the Dodgers' string of consecutive solo home runs against the Angels to six--all four of their hits in the Dodgers' 8-4 loss Friday night were solo homers.

But the Dodgers adopted a more-the-merrier approach in the ensuing innings. After a walk, an Adrian Beltre single and Perez's sacrifice bunt in the second, Izturis fisted a two-run single to center and Green lined a two-run homer to center--giving him 20 home runs and 52 RBIs on the season--for a 6-0 lead.

Izturis doubled and scored on Lo Duca's RBI single off reliever Scot Shields in the fourth, and Jordan followed Green's fifth-inning walk--which was greeted with boos--with his 11th homer of the season, a two-run shot to left that made it 9-1.



*--* Hitting a Green Streak Shawn Green has hit 14 of his 20 home runs in two stretche s of the season totaling eight games (May 21-25 and June 12-15). A look at his statisti cs in the two stretche s and how they compare to his other 58 games: May 21-25 June 12-15 Total of Two Stretches Other Games Games 5 3 8 58 At-Bats 21 12 33 210 Runs 12 6 18 31 Hits 14 6 20 49 Doubles 1 0 1 11 Triples 1 0 1 0 Home Runs 9 5 14 6 AB-to-HR 2.3 2.4 2.4 35.0 Ratio Runs 17 6 23 29 Batted In Batting 667 500 606 233 Avg Slugging 2.095 1.750 1.970 371 Pct Strikeou 3 4 7 51 ts


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