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Dodgers' Randy Wolf outduels Giants' Tim Lincecum

L.A.'s Andre Ethier hits a two-run home run against the Cy Young Award winner.

September 21, 2009|JIM PELTZ

You don't win a Cy Young Award without a sharp knowledge of the hitters you face.

So when Tim Lincecum was asked before Sunday's game which Dodgers batters most gave him pause, he quickly replied: Andre Ethier.

Sure enough, Ethier belted a two-run home run and the Dodgers chased a wobbly Lincecum in the fifth inning on their way to beating the San Francisco Giants, 6-2, at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers, in turn, enjoyed another strong outing from veteran Randy Wolf, even though the left-hander gave up two home runs to Andres Torres.

The loss dropped the Giants to 4 1/2 games behind the Colorado Rockies in the National League wild-card race with 13 games to play.

For the division-leading Dodgers, the victory pared the magic number to clinch a playoff spot to four, and their magic number to win the NL West dropped to eight.

Wolf (11-6) is 6-0 in his last eight starts after he endured a string of no decisions.

"Going against Lincecum, it's a tough matchup for any team," Wolf said. "Obviously, there are two pitches [to Torres] I'd like to have back. For the most part, I was able to get some quick outs and get our team back in the dugout and hitting."

Lincecum, 25, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner who began the game as the league leader in strikeouts and earned-run average, clearly didn't have his best stuff.

He gave up only four hits, but two of them were Ethier's 31st home run, which also gave the outfielder 101 runs batted in, and Ronnie Belliard's two-run single.

Lincecum (14-6) also walked four as the Dodgers beat him for the first time.

"I had a tough time throwing strikes," he said. "I really couldn't find the zone."

Despite giving up Torres' home runs, Wolf gave up only five hits in six-plus innings in front of a sellout of 53,233. Hong Chih-Kuo, George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton held the Giants hitless over the last three innings.

With the Giants holding a 1-0 lead in the third inning, Lincecum walked Wolf and, one out later, Ethier hit his home run on a full count.

That "swayed the momentum in our direction and we kind of kept it from there," Wolf said.

Ethier said he was looking for a fastball, but Lincecum tried to get a changeup past him and "I was kind of out in front of it."

"The ball was carrying well out there," Ethier said, noting that after Torres hit his first home run, "I said to [Matt] Kemp, 'If you get one up in the air I think it might go [out] today.' Well, sure enough it did."

In the fourth inning, Kemp and James Loney singled, Casey Blake moved them up with a bunt, and both scored on Belliard's opposite-field single.

After Lincecum walked Rafael Furcal and Ethier in the next inning, he was replaced by Brandon Medders, who got Manny Ramirez to fly out, with Furcal tagging up and moving to third base. Then, with Kemp at the plate, Medders threw a wild pitch that allowed Furcal to score.

The scenario repeated itself in the seventh inning as Furcal tripled and scored when Bob Howry uncorked a wild pitch with Kemp batting.

After a day off today, the Dodgers make their last trip of the regular season, a nine-game stint against Washington, Pittsburgh and San Diego.


Times staff writer Kevin Baxter contributed to this report.





8This is the combination of Dodgers wins and Colorado losses that will clinch the NL West title.

H: Home games left.

R: Road games left.

*--* NL WEST W L Pct. GB H R Dodgers 90 60 600 -- 3 9 Colorado 85 65 567 5.0 9 3 *--*

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