Two at the top
Lo Duca's hit streak reaches 25 as Dodgers catch GiantsPosted: Thursday June 19, 2003 1:46 AM
Updated: Thursday June 19, 2003 2:41 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- When Paul Lo Duca came to the plate in the sixth inning Wednesday night, the focus was on his hitting streak since the Los Angeles Dodgers had their game with San Francisco well in hand.
Lo Duca increased the drama by waiting until the ninth pitch from Joe Nathan before hitting a two-run double to extend his streak to 25 games as the Dodgers went on to an 8-2 victory.
The win was the eighth straight for the Dodgers and moved them into a tie for the NL West lead with the Giants.
"I told myself if it was meant to be, it was meant to be," Lo Duca said. "He threw the strike, and there it was."
Lo Duca was hitless in three at-bats before coming through during a six-run rally that blew the game open. His streak is the longest by a Los Angeles player since 1986, when Steve Sax hit in 25 straight.
The franchise record is 31 by Willie Davis in 1969.
"To see him up there with all those pitches, battling his tail off, and hit the ball in the gap with his hitting streak on the line, that was awesome," teammate Brian Jordan said.
"That was about as good an at-bat as you can get," manager Jim Tracy said.
The first three pitches to Lo Duca were balls before Nathan threw a strike.
"I never swung at a 3-0 pitch," Lo Duca said. "When I do, I usually pop it up."
The count went full before Lo Duca fouled three pitches off. He then hit a liner to the gap in right-center, and the Dodger Stadium crowd of 50,247 went crazy.
Kazuhisa Ishii (7-2) struggled with his control, walking six to equal a career high, but he held the Giants hitless except for Rich Aurilia, who doubled in the fourth and singled in the sixth.
Ishii allowed an unearned run in six innings of work. Afterward, noting the length of the game -- 3 hours and 16 minutes -- he smiled and apologized to reporters through an interpreter for pushing them so close to deadline.
Alex Cora's two-out, two-run single off Kirk Rueter (7-2) in the fourth gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.
Rueter allowed six hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"That inning was just an unlucky inning," Rueter said of the Dodgers' sixth. "They didn't really hit the ball hard, but they hit the ball where they needed to and found the holes.
"We're in the middle of June. We're not even halfway home, so you just keep trying to play good baseball and give yourself a chance come the end of September. We've been able to accomplish that every year that I've been here, so I don't think anybody's going to panic in here. We're still tied for first place."
The Giants, who have lost three straight and five of eight, took a 1-0 lead in the first when shortstop Jolbert Cabrera booted Benito Santiago's two-out grounder, enabling Marquis Grissom to score from third.
Ishii struck out Pedro Feliz with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Grissom hit a solo homer with one out in the ninth off reliever Tom Martin to complete the scoring.
San Francisco's Barry Bonds walked in the first, making it 39 straight games in which he's reached base -- baseball's longest active streak. He also singled with two outs in the ninth.
Notes: The game was played before a crowd of 50,247. ... RHP Kevin
Brown's strained left groin was improved to the point where the
Dodgers' ace hopes to take his regular turn in the rotation Sunday
against Anaheim. Brown, 10-1 with a major league-leading 1.97 ERA,
was injured running out a grounder to short for the last out in the
sixth Tuesday night. ... San Francisco's J.T. Snow didn't start
after straining his left groin Tuesday night. "It's better than we
expected today," trainer Stan Conte said. "There are no plans to
put him on the disabled list." ... Dodgers 1B Fred McGriff, who
has 488 career homers, didn't play for the fourth straight game
because of an injured right groin. ... Dodgers RHP Darren Dreifort
underwent reconstructive surgery on his right knee Wednesday. "The
anticipation is he'll be back with us in spring training ready to
go," manager Jim Tracy said. ... Giants OF Marvin Benard was
placed on the 15-day disabled retroactive to Monday because of a
bruised left knee. INF-OF Francisco Santos was recalled from
Triple-A Fresno. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the
seventh and went hitless in two at-bats.