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8-Ball in Tied Pocket

Dodgers catch Giants with eighth consecutive victory, 8-2, behind another wildly effective Ishii outing. Lo Duca streak reaches 25 games.

June 19, 2003|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

Remember when the Dodgers were sputtering and the San Francisco Giants were soaring in the National League West?

My, how times have changed.

The Dodgers added another chapter to a surprising story of role reversal Wednesday night, routing the Giants, 8-2, and forging a tie atop the division at Dodger Stadium.

"Baseball is what it is," said left fielder Brian Jordan, who had two hits and scored a run. "Those guys got off to a great start and they played some great baseball.

"But now, it's a different story. Our pitching is awesome, and we seem to get it done, somehow, with the bats. Today was just really a great breakthrough day for us."

The Dodgers handled their Northern California rivals for the second time in as many nights, pleasing an enthusiastic, towel-waving crowd of 50,247.

They used a familiar formula of strong pitching -- and had a breakout game offensively by their standards with four doubles among 11 hits -- winning their eighth in a row and pulling even with the Giants at 42-28.

"They are doing what we were doing earlier," said Giant Manager Felipe Alou, whose team began the season 13-1. "Now, we're doing what they were doing earlier."

The Dodgers broke the game open with their biggest inning since April 20, which also came at the Giants' expense, pounding starter Kirk Rueter and reliever Joe Nathan for six hits in a six-run sixth highlighted by Paul Lo Duca's two-run double.

The line drive into the right-center gap extended Lo Duca's career-high hitting streak to 25 games, tying him with three others for the fifth longest streak in franchise history.

"It says a lot about that individual," Manager Jim Tracy said of Lo Duca, batting .336 overall and .422 during the streak. "But we've seen him do things before."

Lo Duca's bid to extend his streak was the only suspense remaining in a game the Dodgers dominated after failing behind in the first, 1-0.

The Dodgers were 7-11 and a season-high 8 1/2 games out of first place after losing their fifth in a row to San Francisco on April 19, stirring concern throughout Chavez Ravine. And after catching the Giants on May 26, the Dodgers disappointed in falling 4 1/2 games back.

Now, the Dodgers have put together their second winning streak of at least eight games and go for a three-game sweep today. The Giants are speeding in the other direction, having dropped three in a row and four of five.

Things are definitely more upbeat for the Dodgers these days, and having a blast at the Giants' expense only makes it sweeter.

"We're not surprised, because we know we've got a good team," said third baseman Adrian Beltre, who continued to sparkle defensively and had a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

"They started off good, and we didn't start too good. Now, we're winning a lot of games, and it doesn't look like the first couple of weeks we played them.

"We look better than them right now. Hopefully, we can keep beating those guys."

Starter Kazuhisa Ishii (7-2) experienced his usual command problems, walking six, including three in the first inning. And again, Ishii sidestepped big trouble while pitching six innings, outdueling Rueter (7-2) in a matchup of crafty left-handers.

Ishii walked at least six batters for the fourth time, including in his last two starts, but won his third consecutive start. He gave up only two hits and an unearned run in the first on shortstop Jolbert Cabrera's error.

The Dodgers chased Rueter in the sixth as Lo Duca's determination at the plate thrilled the crowd. He doubled on the ninth pitch from Nathan to drive in two and extend the lead to 7-1.

Struggling right fielder Shawn Green knocked in Lo Duca with a double, closing the scoring in the Dodgers' biggest inning since an eight-run seventh April 20 in a 16-4 victory over the Giants. The Dodgers had not scored six runs since May 24, a 20-game streak.

Now their streaks are of the positive sort.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Park Production

How Barry Bonds has fared in the NL West away from Pacific Bell Park over the last three seasons (2001-03):

*--* AB H HR RBI BB AVG SLG Qualcomm Stadium 65 25 11 26 28 385 923 Coors Field 71 27 10 20 16 380 859 Bank One Ballpark 69 26 9 26 31 377 870 Dodger Stadium 69 17 7 15 32 246 580

*--*

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And the Streak Goes On ...

Paul Lo Duca's hitting streak reached 25 games Wednesday. Major league hitting streaks of 25 or more games since 1990:

*--* Player Team Year Games Luis Castillo Florida 2002 35 Vladimir Guerrero Montreal 1999 31 Nomar Garciaparra Boston 1997 30 Sandy Alomar Jr Cleveland 1997 30 Eric Davis Baltimore 1998 30 Luis Gonzalez Arizona 1999 30 Hal Morris Cincinnati 1996 29 Marquis Grissom Atlanta 1996 28 Garret Anderson Angels 1998 28 Shawn Green Toronto 1999 28 Gabe Kapler Texas 2000 28 John Flaherty San Diego 1996 27 Albert Belle Chicago (AL) 1997 27 John Olerud Toronto 1993 26 Jose Offerman Kansas City 1998 26 Shannon Stewart Toronto 1999 26 Brian Harper Minesota 1990 25 Lance Johnson Chicago (AL) 1992 25 Jason Giambi Oakland 1997 25 Joe McEwing St. Louis 1999 25 Mike Sweeney Kansas City 1999 25 Paul Lo Duca Dodgers 2003 25

*--*

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