LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- While
set a major league record,
inched closer to an exclusive milestone.
Gagne notched his 55th consecutive save and McGriff homered twice to move within nine of the 500 plateau as the
Los Angeles Dodgers
posted a 4-1 victory over the
After McGriff belted his second homer of the game in the eighth inning, Gagne - who got the third out in the top of the frame - mowed down Houston in the ninth to break
's record for most consecutive saves - set from April 19, 1998-June 5, 1999.
"It is fun, it has been a great season," Gagne said. "Everybody has played hard in front of me for eight innings. ... I am just going out there and trying to do my job. I want to get people out as quick as possible. ... I am not really big into records, but I know it is a great record because it means we are winning games.
"I am just a hockey player out there, I never thought I would make it to the major leagues. Now that I am here and having success against some of the best players in baseball, it is awesome. It is fun to play baseball, but the only reason I am here is to go to the playoffs. The records don't really matter, getting to the playoffs is what matters."
The Canadian righthander, who has converted 47 save opportunities this season, has not blown one since August 26, 2002 against Arizona.
"I couldn't be happier for
and the record he set," Dodgers manager
said. "I have run out of words to describe him and the job he has done for us all year. He is a strong
candidate. If we get to play baseball in October, there is no doubt who the Cy Young Award winner should be."
"Eric is the most dominant pitcher I have ever seen," Los Angeles right fielder
said. "We feel that the game is over every time he steps out there."
McGriff gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in the fourth with his 12th homer, a two-run shot off Houston starter
. His solo shot in the eighth gave him his first multi-homer game of the season and 40th of his career. It also pulled him within nine of becoming just the 20th player to join the 500-homer club.
"I have played a long time," McGriff said. "Five hundred home runs is a great milestone, but I still have a long way to go."
The blasts made a winner of
(3-1), who allowed a run and six hits in five innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
Redding (8-14) was handed his fifth straight loss, yielding three runs - two earned - and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four without a walk and fell to 3-7 away from Minute Maid Park.
The win pulled the Dodgers within 1 1/2 games of Philadelphia and Florida in the National League wild card race.
Entering the game tied with St. Louis atop the NL Central Division, the Astros jumped ahead in the second inning.
led off with a base hit and, after a flyout by
singled to put runners on the corners.
followed with a forceout that plated Kent for a 1-0 lead.
Houston threatened to increase the advantage with two outs in the fourth. Ausmus walked and
singled. A passed ball by catcher David Ross allowed the runners to advance, but Alvarez got Redding on a flyout to escape unscathed.
Los Angeles got to Redding in the bottom of the inning.
reached on an error by shortstop Everett and scored on a one-out double by Green. It was Green's 45th double, tying his career high set with Toronto in 1999.
Green took third on Everett's second error of the frame and scored when McGriff belted Redding's first offering over the right field wall.
"Any home run is tough," McGriff said. "They are making it look easier these days, but they are tough."
With one on and two outs in the fifth, Kent doubled to left. But Hidalgo flied out to strand the runners and leave Houston in a 3-1 hole.
Hidalgo did hit a ground-rule double with one out in the eighth, but
struck out Berkman and Gagne came on to fan Ausmus to end the threat.
McGriff homered off lefthander
in the eighth to cap the scoring.
Gagne got pinch hitter
on a popout and former Dodger
on a flyout before fanning
to end the game.
"It is incredible, the numbers he has put up out there," Biggio said. "Nobody has ever done it before. He is so tough because he has four pitches out there. Anytime a guy can throw you a 96 mile per hour fastball and then come back with a 67 mile per hour pitch, it is going to be tough."
"I have always seen myself as a reliever," Gagne said. "(John) Wetteland, (Mariano) Rivera, (Robb) Nen, they used to be my favorite players. Every time I watched them go out there, I had goose bumps. Now that I have been given the opportunity, I have jumped on it."