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Dodgers won't give 'em a break

They cash in Arizona miscues in 5-3 win that completes sweep and pushes West lead to 1 1/2 .

September 08, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

Nomar Garciaparra wanted to talk about how Angel Berroa properly laid down a bunt, not how Adam Dunn lost his footing trying to pick it up. Or how hard Andre Ethier hit the ball on his infield single that scored Berroa, instead of how Stephen Drew failed to field it.

Garciaparra conceded that fortune played a part in the Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, which completed a sweep, but said his team deserved the breaks that resulted in its eighth consecutive victory and extended its lead in the NL West to 1 1/2 games.

"If you do everything right," Garciaparra said, "things work out in your favor."

Only nine days ago, the Dodgers were on an eight-game losing streak and trailed the Diamondbacks by 4 1/2 games, every bounce and close call seemingly conspiring to take them out of contention.

Today, they will be in San Diego to open a 10-game trip that includes stops in Colorado and Pittsburgh, the baseball gods seemingly on their side and their destiny in their own hands.

"Now the responsibility is on our shoulders," Manager Joe Torre said. "It's our lead now. Let's see if we can do it."

The Diamondbacks helped them get there, first by not burying them in the standings while the Dodgers were on their eight-game free fall, and again Sunday in a game-deciding seventh inning that started with the score tied, 3-3.

Blake DeWitt led off the bottom half of the inning with a double, and moved to third on Berroa's sacrifice bunt that led to Dunn's taking a seat on the infield grass. Berroa reached first safely, bringing up Garciaparra with men on the corners.

Garciaparra hit a fly ball to right that was caught by rifle-armed Justin Upton. DeWitt put his head down and started toward home, only to hear third base coach Larry Bowa scream, "Stop! Stop!"

DeWitt stopped, not realizing immediately that Upton had dropped the ball while transferring it from his glove to his throwing hand. DeWitt still made it to the plate to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. Garciaparra was credited with a sacrifice fly and run batted in.

Berroa got to second on that play, advanced to third on a groundout by Russell Martin and scored on a sharply hit ball by Ethier that handcuffed Drew at short. Ethier barely beat Drew's throw to first for what was ruled an infield hit.

The Dodgers made no apologies for how they scored the game-deciding runs.

"When you put pressure on the other team, it creates the opportunities," DeWitt said.

The Diamondbacks also hurt themselves on offense, as Mark Reynolds bolted home from third base with one out and Chris Snyder attempting a squeeze bunt. Snyder failed to make contact with the pitch delivered by Chan Ho Park and Reynolds was tagged out by Martin after a rundown. The Diamondbacks, who were up 3-2 at the time, gave up the tying run in the bottom half of the inning when James Loney drove in his third run of the day with a sacrifice fly to center.

Dunn acknowledged the Diamondbacks could only blame themselves for their 10th loss in 13 games.

"This was a game that would have been big for us," he said. "We played hard, but they made the plays and got the key hits. We didn't."

That wasn't limited to the seventh inning.

Garciaparra, who entered the game in seventh inning as a defensive replacement at third and moved to first base in the eighth, made a diving catch on a line drive hit by Conor Jackson to end the game with men on first and second. The stop earned Jonathan Broxton his 13th save and completed the fifth scoreless inning by the Dodgers' bullpen.

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

NL WEST STANDINGS

*--* TEAM W-L PCT. GB Dodgers 73-70 510 -- Arizona 71-71 500 1 1/2 Colorado 67-77 465 6 1/2 San Fran. 62-80 437 10 1/2 San Diego 55-88 385 18 *--*

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REMAINING GAMES

*--* DODGERS ARIZONA Home (6) Home (10) S.F. (3) S.D. (3) Cin. (3) S.F. (4) Colo. (3) Road (13) Road (10) S.D. (3) Colo. (3) Pitt. (4) S.F. (3) S.F. (3) Colo. (3) StL.(4) *--*

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