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Pierre powers Dodgers late

His two-run double in the ninth gives him three RBIs as L.A. comes back to beat Milwaukee, 6-4.

May 15, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

MILWAUKEE -- The ninth inning started with the third base umpire throwing the ball down to second for the Milwaukee Brewers and ended with the Dodgers' flu-ridden closer celebrating on the mound.

And neither event was the most bizarre thing that happened in the final inning of a 6-4 Dodgers victory Wednesday that ended a season-high five-game losing streak.

More unusual, perhaps, was light-hitting Juan Pierre's driving in three runs -- including the winner -- for the first time since last September. Or Andruw Jones' getting two hits for only the second time this season, then coming through with a clutch RBI to give the Dodgers a cushion.

Or how about a walk, a single, two runs scored and another knocked in by Dodgers pinch-hitters, who were batting .238?

"Hopefully this win can get us back on the right track and everybody can settle down and just play baseball," said Pierre, whose two-run ninth-inning double turned a one-run deficit into a 5-4 Dodgers lead. "Overall, pitching and offense, everybody was pressing a little bit. That's only natural when you don't win games."

And lost in the shuffle was the fact that Wednesday's comeback marked the first time in 19 games that the Dodgers came back to win when trailing after eight innings.

"All in all you've got to look at the game as a whole," said starter Derek Lowe. "Finding a way to come back and win is very, very important at this stage of our mini-losing streak.

"It was just all-around a really good game for us to pull out."

It didn't look as if that would happen during Lowe's six innings, the most damaging of which was the second when a two-run single by pitcher Manny Parra helped the Brewers to a 3-0 lead. It was 4-1 by the time Lowe came out for pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney and that's when the Dodgers' luck began to change, with Prince Fielder's error leading to two unearned runs.

The Brewers still led going into the ninth when former Dodger Guillermo Mota came in to pitch. And that's when things took a turn.

Mota said he was about halfway through his warm-ups when the umpire crew chief came over from third and took the ball from his hand.

"Joe West took the ball and threw it to second base," Mota said. "He said I had enough warm-ups in the bullpen."

That set off both Mota and Milwaukee Manager Ned Yost, but it didn't make them nearly as angry as what happened next.

After a quick out, pinch-hitter Delwyn Young battled through a tough at-bat to get a walk, then raced to third on Andre Ethier's pinch single, bringing Pierre to the plate with the tying run in scoring position. On Tuesday, he popped out to end the game with the tying run on base.

"The object of my game is not to hit fly balls. But I was trying to get something in the air deep enough" to score Young, said Pierre, who had his third three-hit game of the season.

Pierre next stole third and scored on Jones' groundout, then Takashi Saito, still feeling the effects of flu, came on to pitch a perfect ninth, striking out two, for his sixth save.

"It was just a great game to be able to come back from behind," Manager Joe Torre said. "Winning is one thing. But when you lose five games in a row and have to come back in somebody else's ballpark, hopefully it will get us back on track."

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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