Steve Finley drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning double and Eric Gagne collected the victory with a perfect inning of relief Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium during the Dodgers' 6-5 come-from-behind triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
And the save? That could have been credited to Olmedo Saenz, whose pinch-hit grand slam in the fifth inning -- the Dodgers' second pinch-hit grand slam in two days after going more than 11 years without one -- pulled the Dodgers out of a 3-0 bind.
One day after Robin Ventura moved into a tie for third place on baseball's career grand slam list with his 18th, Saenz hit his first, over the left-field wall, to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.
The blast earned Saenz a mini-hug from Milton Bradley and a curtain call from a crowd of 28,888 who appreciated the rare feat. Dave Hansen had hit the Dodgers' last pinch-hit grand slam before Wednesday -- on June 28, 1993, against San Francisco.
"I was really just looking to get a base hit," said Saenz, who connected on a hanging breaking ball from Casey Fossum. "He gave me a good pitch, and I hit it out of the ballpark. It's one of the best feelings in baseball, especially since we got the win."
Saenz's slam might have been relegated to a footnote if Finley had not delivered another blow to his former team with a ninth-inning double to right-center against Mike Koplove (3-4) that drove in Cesar Izturis from first base with the winning run.
Finley, who had driven in all four Dodger runs during a victory over the Diamondbacks on Aug. 31, prompted the Dodgers to race out of the dugout in celebration after his clutch hit allowed them to maintain a 4 1/2 -game lead over San Francisco in the National League West.
One significant reason the Dodgers continue to inch closer to their first playoff appearance since 1996 is the depth of their bench. Manager Jim Tracy used the left-handed-hitting Ventura to pinch-hit Tuesday in the seventh against Diamondback right-hander Chad Durbin.
On Wednesday, Tracy opted for the right-handed-hitting Saenz against the left-handed Fossum.
"We have weapons from both sides of the card," Tracy said. "We can counter moves made against us."
Nonetheless, the Dodgers found themselves in another hole in the sixth after Shea Hillenbrand hit a two-run homer against former teammate Elmer Dessens to give Arizona a 5-4 lead.
Ventura had a chance to make it a truly historic night for the Dodgers when he pinch-hit for Jayson Werth in the sixth against right-handed reliever Scott Service with the bases loaded and one out.
Ventura generated more cheers when he hit a fielder's choice grounder that drove in the tying run. It might have been an inning-ending double play if first baseman Hillenbrand hadn't momentarily lost his grip on the ball.
If there was a positive for the injury-ravaged Diamondbacks in losing for the 15th time in 18 games against the Dodgers, it was catcher Chris Snyder, called up from double-A El Paso on Aug. 18 to replace the injured Koyie Hill.
Snyder's two-run homer to center in the second and his solo shot to left in the fifth -- both off Dodger starter Odalis Perez, who earned his major league-leading 17th no-decision -- gave the Diamondbacks a 3-0 lead. Snyder, who doubled his career home run total in a five-inning span, has hit three of his four homers off Perez, in seven days.
"The only thing wrong with [Perez's] performance was that he couldn't figure out Snyder," Tracy said.
Perez said he was disappointed Tracy pulled him after only five innings but conceded afterward that it was the right move.
"I felt bad because I'm not a pitcher to be out there for five innings," said Perez, who gave up four hits and three runs. "But it worked out. Olmedo made it happen."
Said Tracy: "We're trailing, 3-0, and we have the bases loaded. We can't wait around."
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West Side Story
The Dodgers play 21 of their last 24 games against NL West opponents. A look at how they have fared against their division rivals this season:
* vs. Arizona...15-3
* vs. Colorado...6-6
* vs. San Diego...8-4
* vs. San Francisco...7-6