In search of their first division title since 1995, the Dodgers rallied for five runs in the ninth inning Tuesday to stun the Rockies 5-4. The win, coupled with San Francisco’s 7-5 win over San Diego, kept the Dodgers’ lead over the Giants in the West at three games with five to play.
Los Angeles completes the regular season with a three-game home set against San Francisco this weekend.
The Dodgers needed a big start from Perez in his last outing, and they got one as the 27-year-old left-hander held San Francisco to two runs and three hits over eight innings in a 3-2 win Friday.
They could use a similar effort Wednesday, not only to help secure the division crown, but also to help manager Jim Tracy get a better handle on what his potential postseason rotation will look like.
Prior to shutting down San Francisco, Perez had been winless in his previous seven starts with an ERA of 5.45. Two of the three hits Perez allowed were home runs, including one to Barry Bonds. However, Perez came back to strike out Bonds twice in the game, marking just the fourth time all season Bonds has struck out more than once in a game.
“A huge step-up performance,” Tracy said of Perez, the only Dodgers starter since August to pitch into the eighth inning.
“He did a tremendous job of handling their lineup, a tremendous job of dealing with Barry. Those are the things we talked about needing to do to beat this team.”
A strong start from Perez would also help the Dodgers in their quest to gain home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Los Angeles currently trails NL East champion Atlanta by two games.
Though this has been another disappointing season for the Rockies, the future does look bright as long as Jeff Francis is in the rotation.
The rookie left-hander has won three of his last four starts, including allowing just one run and seven hits with a career-high eight strikeouts over six innings in a 7-1 win over Arizona on Thursday.
“I like that kid,” Diamondbacks manager Al Pedrique said. “He’s got a good arm, and he’s not afraid to pitch inside. If he keeps doing that, he’s going to be successful up here.”