Dodgers 5, Giants 2

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Derek Lowe wanted to talk about his hitting. There was a lot to be said for his pitching too.

He allowed five hits in eight plus innings and J.D. Drew and Nomar Garciaparra each hit two-run homers to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers past the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

Lowe (11-8) also had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, who improved to 19-3 over their last 22 games.

“I got to a .100 there for a moment,” Lowe joked.

Lowe has won four of his last five starts since ending a three-game losing streak on July 29.

“I’ve always loved the end of the year when every game and every pitch matters,” Lowe said. “If anything I focus more. If I could keep that same focus and intensity over 34 starts instead of 10 I’d have better years.”

Lowe retired 13 straight after giving up a third-inning single to Eliezer Alfonzo. The 32-year-old veteran won his fourth decision in the last five and recorded his 22nd win in August, his highest total of any month.

“Lowe was the best I’ve seen since he was in Boston,” Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel said. “He didn’t throw above the knees. He’s like (Greg) Maddux with more speed.”

Lowe, who induced 14 groundouts, struck out six and walked one.

“We’ve seen a heck of a pitcher out their in his last seven outings,” Dodgers’ manager Grady Little said. “He’s been good for a lot of years. That was a beautiful game. I loved every minute of it. He was outstanding.”

Matt Morris (8-11) lost his fourth straight decision and the Giants lost their second straight game following a season-high five-game win streak.

The Giants broke through against Lowe in the ninth. Randy Winn opened the inning with a single. He reached third when Jeff Kent allowed Omar Vizquel’s grounder to go through his legs, and scored on Ray Durham’s single. Lowe then walked Todd Linden to load the bases.

Takashi Saito came in and struck out Steve Finley before walking pinch-hitter Barry Bonds to force in a run. Saito then struck out Pedro Feliz and Alfonzo for his 14th save in 15 chances.

“That was the toughest situation I’ve faced,” Saito said through an interpreter. “I just wanted to avoid giving up a home run. I couldn’t imagine I would have succeeded like this.”

Garciaparra improved to .388 against the Giants this season while Drew drove in six during the three-game series.

“It’s getting down to nitty gritty now so it’s nice to win the series,” Drew said. “It’s easy to get caught up in the adrenaline rush playing in front of crowds like this. You just need to settle yourself down and take a nice, easy approach without adding any extra stress on yourself.”

Morris settled down after giving up three runs in the first two innings. He retired 17 of the next 19 batters after allowing Lowe’s RBI single in the second.

“He had a couple of hittable pitches and they hit them out,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “We had ample opportunities. It was 3-0 for a few hours and we didn’t do anything. We chased a lot out of the strike zone.”

The Dodgers added two runs in the eighth. Kenny Lofton doubled with one out and Garciaparra followed with his 14th homer of the year.

Morris gave up five runs and eight hits in eight innings. He walked one and struck out six. He has lost three straight to the Dodgers, last beating them on Sept. 3, 2004 while with the St. Louis Cardinals.

“We knew it was a big series,” Morris said. “Schmitty pitched great in the opener, but we couldn’t hold them down the last two games. They’re in control of the division.”

Garciaparra hit a two-out single ahead of Drew’s 12th home run of the year to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the first.

Andre Ethier singled to open the second and eventually scored on Lowe’s RBI single.


Moises Alou left the game after the second inning with tightness in his left calf. … Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal stole his 30th base in the fifth, giving him three seasons of at least 30 stolen bases. … Drew has 18 RBI in his last 21 games. … The Dodgers won their sixth consecutive series. … Durham’s single in the ninth extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

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