LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Milton Bradley was right where he wanted to
be -- at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth
inning of a close game.
So was San Francisco closer Armando Benitez, signed during the
offseason for just these kinds of situations.
Bradley's two-run single off Benitez tied the game, left fielder
Jason Ellison's error on the play allowed the winning run to score,
and the Dodgers beat the Giants 9-8 Tuesday in their home opener.
"If I could go up there every time in a pressure situation, I
might hit .400," the switch-hitting Bradley said. `I want to be in
The Giants led 8-5 entering the ninth, and Benitez (0-1) retired
leadoff batter Jason Phillips on a grounder to short to start the
inning. But pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee doubled and took third on
Cesar Izturis' single. After pinch-hitter Jose Valentin popped to
first, J.D. Drew walked to load the bases.
Jeff Kent drew another walk to force in a run, making it 8-6,
and Bradley followed by lining a 2-2 pitch to left. The ball got
past Ellison and rolled to the wall, allowing Kent to score from
"I wanted to take a strike, and I knew that Benitez wouldn't
let me pull the ball," Bradley said. "I was looking on the outer
half of the plate."
Ellison retrieved the ball after Kent had scored, and spiked it
in anger on the warning track. The Dodgers mobbed Bradley on the
The error was the Giants' fourth of the game.
"What we've got here is a team that's going to play nine
innings," Kent said. "You don't see many balls like that go by an
The win was reminiscent of the Dodgers' division-clinching rally
from a 3-0 deficit on the second-to-last day of the season against
the Giants last year -- one of the factors that led San Francisco to
pursue a proven closer like Benitez in the offseason.
"He's at his best between 93 and 95 (mph)," Giants manager
Felipe Alou said. "I saw him at 91, 92 and one at 94. He didn't
have much command and he got behind almost every hitter. He'll be
back in there tomorrow."
Benitez was disappointed in himself.
"Today was not my day," he said. "This isn't the first time
I've had a blown save. Nobody's perfect -- tomorrow's a new day. My
location was a little bit wild."
Benitez had 47 saves for Florida last season and saves in his
first two appearances with the Giants.
Ellison, who entered the game in the eighth, said he was trying
to make a play at the plate on the tying run.
"The ball just took a kick on me," he said. "I still have to
get the glove on it. I'm going to come back and battle, do what I
need to do, come back strong."
Said Alou: "We had him playing shallow. He missed it. Ellie is
here to be a defensive guy. He's a very good defender. He'll be OK.
He was trying to make a play at the plate, he was trying to do what
was right. I'll take that over laying back."
The late heroics took Jeff Weaver off the hook. Weaver, a local
product in his second season with the Dodgers, had the honor of
starting the home opener, but was roughed up for 11 hits and eight
earned runs in three-plus innings.
The Los Angeles bullpen held the Giants scoreless after Pedro
Feliz's three-run homer with nobody out in the fourth make it 8-3.
Giovanni Carrara (1-0) the fourth Dodgers pitcher, worked two
scoreless innings to earn the victory after Buddy Carlyle and D.J.
Houlton pitched two scoreless innings each.
Weaver hit Ray Durham to open the game and Omar Vizquel followed
with a single. After J.T. Snow flied to deep left, the Giants
scored five runs on consecutive RBI singles by Feliz, Edgardo
Alfonzo, Marquis Grissom, Michael Tucker and Mike Matheny before
Weaver retired the side.
Rueter retired 11 straight batters before Repko reached on
shortstop Vizquel's error to open the sixth. After Drew singled and
Kent walked to load the bases, Scott Eyre relieved Rueter. Bradley
hit a sacrifice fly and Olmedo Saenz followed with an RBI double to
make it 8-5 before.
San Francisco lost to snap a three-game winning streak despite
collecting 16 hits, including four by Alfonzo.
Rueter gave up five hits and five runs -- four earned -- in
The attendance was 55,892 -- the largest regular-season
crowd in the history of Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962. ...
Hall of Famer Duke Snider, who played for the Dodgers from 1947-62,
threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Snider was the center fielder
in 1955, when the team won its only World Series while playing in
Brooklyn. The franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1958. ... When
Vizquel booted Repko's grounder, it snapped a 61-game errorless
streak. It was Vizquel's first error since July 25. ... Izturis had
three hits. He's had at least two hits in six of his team's seven
games this season. ... All the Giants were booed during pregame
introductions, but none louder than home run king Barry Bonds,
sidelined indefinitely following two arthroscopic surgeries on his
right knee Jan. 31 and March 17.
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