Giants 9, Dodgers 3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—No matter the season or the standings, certain things never change when the Giants play the Dodgers. The teams play harder, the losses sting a bit more—and there’s often some sort of scuffle.
The game also included the second bench-clearing dustup in two days between the archrivals. San Francisco’s Michael Tucker and Dodgers closer Eric Gagne were ejected in the eighth inning for nearly starting a brawl after Tucker dived away from a high pitch by the NL Cy Young Award winner.
Gagne was incensed when he learned of his ejection, attempting to charge the umpires gathered at the mound. He flipped the ball over his shoulder toward the mound while leaving the field, then doffed his cap to the San Francisco fans jeering him into the dugout.
Giants manager Felipe Alou, a former San Francisco star, has seen it all before.
“My feeling has been, ever since I was a player and there were fights with the Dodgers, there should never be a fight or a brawl without a reason,” Alou said.
The Giants only had reason for celebration after taking a 2 1/2 -game lead over Los Angeles in the NL West with their 15th home victory in 16 games.
The trouble started when Gagne threw a high pitch that sent Tucker tumbling to the ground. Though the pitch appeared to be well over the plate, Tucker stepped toward the mound and pointed at Gagne, who advanced.
Gagne and Dodgers manager Jim Tracy both thought Tucker wildly overreacted, with Tracy calling it “highly theatrical.”
“I thought that that was completely overdone by Michael Tucker,” Tracy said. “If you look at the replay, the ball was not even close. … What’s Eric Gagne supposed to do, stand there with his hands at his side?”
Tucker also was involved in Wednesday’s scuffle, precipitated by a collision with Dodgers starter Jeff Weaver on a tag play at first base in the fifth inning. Weaver and Tucker also nearly came to blows, but there were no ejections.
“He knows it wasn’t even close,” Gagne said of his pitch. “If you look at the play, he just got carried away. He knew he tried to hurt our guy yesterday. He just got emotional.”
Teammates intervened, and no punches were thrown—but umpires still ejected both players. Gagne was tossed because he removed his hat and glove while yelling at Tucker.
“You all can write what you want,” Tucker said. “I don’t care. I’m not talking about it.”
Brett Tomko returned from the disabled list to pitch six innings of three-hit ball for his first win since April 28. He got ample run support from the Giants, who earned two blowout wins and two one-run victories over the Dodgers.
Barry Bonds went 1-for-2, drawing two walks and scoring a run just a few hours after reacting to the latest round of doping allegations against him. In federal grand jury testimony, the six-time NL MVP was identified by sprinter Tim Montgomery as a possible recipient of performance-enhancing drugs, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“I don’t even know who he is, so how he’s making accusations of me, I don’t even know,” Bonds said.
Bonds hasn’t homered in 10 games, but most of his teammates finally are thriving after a season of inconsistency.
Dustan Mohr delivered a pinch-hit RBI double and Ray Durham had a two-run single as San Francisco batted around in a six-run sixth inning. Grissom capped the rally with his 10th homer of the season, a two-run shot off reliever Wilson Alvarez.
Hideo Nomo (3-9) allowed nine hits and seven runs in losing his eighth straight decision for the Dodgers, who have dropped five of six since holding a 2 1/2 -game division lead Friday.
Alex Cora homered for Los Angeles, and Paul Lo Duca stole home in the fourth—just the seventh stolen base of his career. It wasn’t exactly pure speed: Durham couldn’t handle Pierzynski’s throw to second base in an attempt to get Juan Encarnacion on a steal attempt, and Lo Duca trotted home.
Tomko (2-4) made his first start in 17 days, returning Wednesday from a two-week rehabilitation program for inflammation in his right elbow.
“It’s a big difference in the club from a month ago,” Tomko said. “All the guys are hitting. Everyone’s contributing. We’re moving people over, we’re getting the big hits. There’s always a little doubt when you’re not winning, but all of a sudden, guys started producing.”
Dodgers OF Milton Bradley missed his second straight game with soreness in his right shoulder. He is to have an MRI exam Friday. … After the game, San Francisco activated 1B J.T. Snow and outrighted Damon Minor to Triple-AFresno. Minor has 72 hours to accept the assignment or become a free agent.