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Dodgers’ Reply to Long Ball Is Short

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It’s June, but the Giants haven’t gone into their swoon yet.

They won their fifth consecutive game, beating the Dodgers, 5-2, Thursday night at 3Com Park.

San Francisco has the third-best record in the National League, a 3 1/2-game NL West lead over the Colorado Rockies and a seven-game lead over the Dodgers.

“They’re for real,” Dodger Manager Bill Russell said. The Giants have won six of their last seven and are 12 games over .500 for the first time since May 18, 1993.

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Manager Dusty Baker isn’t surprised his team is doing so well.

“I was supposed to be fired by June, according to a lot of people, but June is my month,” Baker said. “I was born in June. I believe in June. I don’t believe in no June swoon or any other superstitions.

“I’m not surprised. I’m happy with where we are, but I’m not satisfied because we still have some work to do. We still have a long way to go.”

The Dodgers managed only four hits, including Billy Ashley’s seventh-inning home run off Shawn Estes (9-2), and Eric Karros’ one-out, ninth-inning home run off Rod Beck. Karros, who has 14 home runs, has hit in 11 of his last 12 games.

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“Losing tonight is not the end of the season,” Karros said. “You’d like to put together a streak of good ballgames and tonight we didn’t do it.”

The Dodgers couldn’t get to Estes, who gave up only one run on three hits on 7 1/3 innings on a windy night on Candlestick Point. Estes, tied for third in the NL in wins, has won a career-high five consecutive games, allowing only 14 earned runs in 51 innings.

“He pitched a nice game,” said Dodger right fielder Raul Mondesi. Estes is 2-1 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers.

Mike Piazza’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end. He was hitless in two at-bats with two walks.

Ashley, whose two-run, pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning lifted the Dodgers to a 7-5 win over the Angels Wednesday night, hit a two-out home run in the seventh, drilling three-and-two pitch to center.

The Dodgers had runners at first at third in the eighth, but Todd Zeile, who had hit three home runs in his last two games, hit into a double play.

Dodger starter Pedro Astacio pitched a no-hitter for the first three innings.

Astacio, who had walked two batters or less in eight of his 13 starts, gave up back to back walks to Jose Vizcaino and Stan Javier to open the fourth inning.

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But he seemed to have worked his way out of the jam, inducing Barry Bonds to force Javier and getting Jeff Kent to fly out to right.

However, J.T. Snow bounced a double over the center field fence to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.

Astacio, who had give up a home run in six of his last eight starts after not allowing a home run in his first seven games, gave up a leadoff homer to Javier in the sixth and a two-out, two-run homer to Bill Mueller before he was relieved by Antonio Osuna.

Bonds, who was hitless in his first three at-bats, hit a one-out home run in the eighth inning off reliever Mark Guthrie.

Astacio got a scare when he was hit in the right hip by a Mueller line drive in the third inning. Astacio was stunned but threw out Mueller at first.

Trainer Charlie Strasser came out to check on Astacio, but he was fine and continued.

Ashley, starting his 22nd game in left field, almost collided with center fielder Brett Butler on a two-out fly ball by Darryl Hamilton.

Ashley made the catch, but Butler had to stumble to avoid running into him.

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But the Dodgers continued to stumble, losing for the third time in five games.

For the Giants, however, it’s another story.


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