SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—All about the dramatic are these Dodgers.
Russell Martin scored the go-ahead run on Mike Stanton’s wild pitch in the ninth inning after pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz singled in the tying run, and Los Angeles beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Friday night to tie San Diego for the NL West lead.
J.D. Drew hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the Dodgers, who overcame a 3-0 deficit to win their fifth straight. Los Angeles and San Diego also share the wild-card lead, two games ahead of Philadelphia, and each team would clinch a playoff berth with one more win or a Phillies loss.
“Tonight definitely was a big win,” Drew said. “We could have stayed right where we were with San Diego and lost a game to the Phillies.”
Los Angeles got a scare when Nomar Garciaparra came out of the game after re-injuring his left side on a swinging strikeout in the eighth. He could be seen hunched over in the dugout being attended to by the training staff. He was scheduled to be re-evaluated Saturday.
“He was in a lot of pain in the dugout,” manager Grady Little said. “That’s about as much grimace as I’ve seen in his face.”
Steve Finley and Winn singled with one out to put runners at the corners, and Omar Vizquel then fouled out to Martinez, who leaned way over the railing to make the catch. Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney then took a called third strike, sending the Giants to their seventh loss in eight games.
“That is the usual way that we lose,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “We’ve had a few games like that the last couple of years.”
Noah Lowry gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings, retiring his first 10 hitters before Kenny Lofton’s one-out single in the fourth.
Given a 3-2 lead, Stanton a save for the third time in 11 chances.
“It’s frustrating. I made some good pitches, and sometimes good pitches don’t work,” Stanton said. “That one hurts. I didn’t do my job. The wild pitch was on a split that hit the plate and didn’t come up.”
After Jeff Kent’s leadoff single, Drew struck out and Martin walked. Saenz was replaced by pinch-runner Delwyn Young and Julio Lugo grounded into a fielder’s choice that moved Martin to third. He scored on a wild pitch moments later.
“Every night it’s somebody different,” Martinez said. “That’s what a championship team is made of.”
Little announced before the game that Derek Lowe would start Game 1 of the division series as long as he isn’t needed to pitch in Sunday’s season finale.
Even if the Dodgers were to clinch the wild card in the next two days, Little said he would still hold out Lowe for the playoff opener rather than try to win the NL West.
“I’d go with Derek Lowe,” Little said. “We’re not going to be comfortable until we’re able to get the job done. When you have your fate in your own hands, it makes it a lot easier.”
Barry Bonds was back in the lineup after sitting Tuesday and Wednesday against Arizona to rest his tender left elbow, which will undergo a cleanup procedure to remove bone chips after the season. The slugger, who has 734 career home runs, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Kuo, making his fifth major league start, allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.
Kuo, who gave up Bonds’ 705th homer last year, is 0-1 in four career appearances against the Giants. … Giants GM Brian Sabean will sit down with Alou in the coming days to discuss the 71-year-old skipper’s future. Alou’s contract is up after four seasons as manager. “By season’s end we’ll have a conversation,” Sabean said from his box before the game. … Vizquel received the 2006 “Willie Mac” Award—named in honor of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey— before the game, recognized by his teammates, coaches and training staff as the team’s most inspirational player. … San Francisco’s Pedro Feliz struck out four times and is 1-for-14 on the homestand. … Lowry threw 105 pitches but only 66 strikes. … The Giants drew 42,587 for their 21st sellout.