LOS ANGELES (AP)—Even when the Dodgers’ season seemed to be heading south, Brett Tomko was sure they would turn it around.
“We went through a very trying stretch. And to bounce back the way we have, that’s great,” Tomko said Friday night after he pitched a perfect eighth inning in Los Angeles’ 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
“We could easily have given up and coasted when we were six or seven games back. But we knew that wasn’t going to happen. There are too many guys here who wouldn’t let that happen.”
The Dodgers lost 13 of 14 after the All-Star break and were 7 1/2 games behind division leader San Diego on July 26. Then Los Angeles reeled off an 11-game winning streak. After having that string snapped earlier this week, the Dodgers have won two in a row.
The surge has carried them to a 1 1/2 -game lead over San Diego and Arizona, both of whom lost on Friday night.
“We like the way things are going right now,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said.
Mark Hendrickson pitched seven strong innings and Julio Lugo provided the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth to carry the Dodgers past the rival Giants, who have lost three straight and 14 of 17.
Jeff Kent added a solo homer for Los Angeles.
Barry Bonds went 1-for-1, walked three times and singled home the Giants’ second run. He has been stuck for a week on career home run No. 723 in his chase for Hank Aaron’s record of 755. The slugger’s last homer, his 15th of the year, was Aug. 4 at home against Colorado.
Lugo followed with his sacrifice fly to deep center off Brian Wilson.
Hendrickson gave up two runs and scattered 10 hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out three. Tomko (8-6) worked the eighth and Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for his second save in four chances.
The Giants stranded nine runners, continuing a trend.
“We had opportunities tonight,” said Shea Hillenbrand, who went 0-for-4. “I left five guys on base. I can’t speak for the team, but I haven’t been doing as well this year.
“It’s one of those things I need to work on and continue to get better at. I’m expecting a little bit too much out of myself and pressing too much instead of letting things happen.”
Bonds drove in Omar Vizquel from third with a sharp single to left in the fifth inning to tie it at 2. The RBI, Bonds’ 49th of the year, gave him 1,902 for his career—one behind his godfather, Willie Mays, who’s No. 7 on the list.
The Dodgers took a 2-1 lead on Kent’s 11th home run, leading off the fourth inning against Noah Lowry.
Lowry allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Hendrickson walked Bonds to load the bases in the third after getting ahead of him 0-2. Durham followed with a single that drove in Randy Winn and tied it at 1. Durham also singled after Hendrickson walked Bonds with two outs in the seventh, but Ethier threw Durham out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double.
Nomar Garciaparra’s sacrifice fly put the Dodgers up 1-0 in the first inning.
San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said he is taking RHP Jamey Wright out of the rotation. Wright has lost seven of his last eight decision and is 6-10 overall, with a 5.18 ERA. RHP Brad Hennessey will come out of the bullpen to join the rotation and start Monday, which was Wright’s scheduled spot, against San Diego. Hennessey is 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 25 appearances, including six starts.