LOS ANGELES (AP)—One down, eight to go.
Manager Jim Tracy thinks the Los Angeles Dodgers may have to win all their remaining games to gain the NL wild card berth, and they took the a step forward Sunday with a 7-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
The win moved them within 2 1/2 games of the wild-card lead.
“We have a tall order ahead of us,” Tracy said. “It looked like we had to win out to get there, to win the final nine. To do that, you have to win the first one.”
Shawn Green started the Dodgers with the first of their four homers. Robin Ventura, Adrian Beltre and Jeromy Burnitz hit consecutive homers off rookie Kevin Correia in the fourth inning to tie the game at 5.
“What we did today, we haven’t done much—and that’s to hit the home-run ball,” Tracy said. “Those back-to-back-to-back home runs ignited us, ignited the crowd.”
Paul Quantrill (2-5) pitched a perfect seventh for the win, and Eric Gagne retired all four batters he faced—striking out three. The major league save leader recorded his 53rd save, four shy of Bobby Thigpen’s major league record, and has converted 61 straight chances going back to last year.
Gagne came out of the bullpen to a thunderous, standing ovation from the crowd of 54,584, on hand for the regular-season finale at Dodger Stadium.
“I had goose bumps,” Gagne said. “Now I want to come back and give them some more in the postseason.”
Florida (85-70) leads the wild-card race, with Philadelphia (85-71) a half-game back and Chicago (84-72) 1 1/2 games behind, followed by the Dodgers (82-72).
Barry Bonds got the day off along with most of the regulars on the Giants, who already have clinched the NL West.
Bonds has 44 homers this year and needs three to tie Willie Mays for third place on the career list at 660. Manager Felipe Alou said he plans to play Bonds in four of the seven remaining games—in two at Houston and two at home against the Dodgers.
The 23-year-old Linden, in only his 24th major league at-bat, became just the 12th player to hit a ball into the second deck at Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962.
Alou was impressed.
“He’s a legitimate prospect. He can do it all,” Alou said of the young outfielder. “He’s got power, speed, a good arm, and he’s a good defensive outfielder. He’s a good-looking player, but he hasn’t played a lot of baseball. That’s the thing.”
San Francisco made it 5-2 in the fourth on an RBI single by Correia and a run-scoring grounder by Pedro Feliz.
Correia gave up five runs and six hits in four innings, while Ishii allowed five runs, six hits and five walks in three-plus innings.
The Dodgers are at San Diego for four games before wrapping up the regularseason with four at San Francisco, including a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Dodgers hit three straight homers for the first time since May 23 last year at Milwaukee, when Green, Beltre and Dave Hansen homered. … Ishii and teammate Hideo Nomo were the only two pitchers in the majors last season to walk 100 or more batters. Ishii has walked 97 this year and Nomo 92. They each have one start left. … This is the seventh straight season the Giants will finish ahead of the Dodgers in the standings—their longest such streak since1921-31.