Archive for Sunday, July 6, 2003

Dodgers’ Perez flirts with no-hitter

Hillenbrand’s bloop single ends gem in eighth; L.A. blanks Diamondbacks, 2-0

July 6, 2003


— One more close call for Odalis Perez.

The Los Angeles left-hander held Arizona hitless through seven innings and combined with Eric Gagne on a four-hitter Saturday as the Dodgers snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Shea Hillenbrand blooped a single to right field leading off the eighth, making it four times in two seasons Perez has flirted with a no-hitter and fallen short.

"I wanted it bad," he said. "But there will come a day when that's going to happen. If I go out there in the future and have another no-hitter go to the eighth inning, I don't think I'm going to lose it again."

He sure is familiar with the feeling.

Perez threw a pair of one-hitters last year -- giving up a seventh-inning infield single at Chicago April 26 and a leadoff single in the sixth against Colorado June 25.

He also took a perfect game into the seventh against the Mets Aug. 17.

Hillenbrand spoiled this one, going the other way with an 0-1 pitch -- Perez's 94th of the game -- and dropping it into short right field.

"There's a little more pressure in those situations because you know what's on the line," Hillenbrand said. "But every hitter thrives off that."

Perez (5-7) was criticized by his teammates after complaining about the Dodgers' lack of offense following his previous start in Anaheim, so he wasn't about to get on right fielder Shawn Green for not diving for Hillenbrand's hit.

The ball was way out of Green's reach, anyway.

"It was nice to step up for the team," Perez said. "Some guys were mad at me because of what I said, but my responsibility was to go out there and win a game. So it doesn't matter if they were mad at me or not. I still have to give the best effort."

Braves 3, Expos 2

Atlanta -- Montreal closer Rocky Biddle hit Javy Lopez with a pitch to force in the tying run and walked Rafael Furcal with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Furcal fell behind in the count 0-2 to Biddle (3-3), then worked it back to 3-2. After fouling off a pitch, Furcal took one high and outside, allowing Robert Fick to score.

Padres 5, Giants 2

San Diego -- Brian Buchanan went 3-for-4 with two RBIs as San Diego beat baseball's hottest pitcher, Jason Schmidt. The last-place Padres scored four runs on seven hits off Schmidt and beat the NL West-leading Giants for just the second time in eight games this year.

Pirates 4, Astros 3

Pittsburgh -- Jeff Suppan overcame a shaky start to pitch seven innings in his second consecutive strong outing and also hit a run-scoring double, leading Pittsburgh past Houston. The Pirates overcame the Astros' two-run first inning by scoring three runs on four straight hits to start their half of the first against spot starter Kirk Saarloos (2-1), and Suppan took over from there.

Rockies 9, Brewers 8

Milwaukee -- Todd Helton drove in four runs with a triple and a home run in Colorado's victory over Milwaukee. The Rockies received six solid innings from Darren Oliver (6-5), who allowed three runs on five hits for his second straight win on the road after beginning 0-5 in his first eight starts away from Coors Field.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4

Philadelphia -- Brad Penny pitched seven strong innings, and Ivan Rodriguez homered as Florida defeated Philadelphia. Rookie Miguel Cabrera had a single, double, and homer as the Marlins beat Philadelphia for the second straight game and moved within four games of the Phillies in the race for the NL wild card spot.

Mets 6, Reds 2

Cincinnati -- Jeromy Burnitz's RBI double ended Danny Graves' no-hit bid in the seventh inning and started a four-run rally that swept New York past Cincinnati. Steve Trachsel (8-5) pitched six innings on a humid, 90-degree evening, keeping it scoreless until Graves faltered. The heat got to Ken Griffey Jr., who felt dizzy during pregame warmups and was a late scratch from the Reds lineup.

Cubs 6, Cardinals 5

Chicago -- Alex Gonzalez's infield single with the bases loaded in the ninth inning gave Chicago a win over St. Louis. Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou homered for the Cubs, who pulled within one game of the NL Central-leading Cardinals. St. Louis' Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds homered.

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