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Gagne Gets Job Done Again

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Times Staff Writer

Pitching for the fifth time in six days, closer Eric Gagne labored in the ninth inning of a 4-3 interleague victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

Gagne’s fastball was clocked as high as 97 mph, and he had two strikeouts while recording his fifth save of the trip, 26th in as many chances and 34 spanning two seasons -- the longest streak in the major leagues.

However, Gagne did not possess his typical command, walking a batter and giving up a single. For only the third time in 35 outings, Gagne threw at least 23 pitches.

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Manager Jim Tracy is tired of discussing his handling of Gagne.

“Starters aren’t always completely at the point of perfection, but they figure out a way,” Tracy said.

“That’s a sign of growth for me.”

Gagne acknowledged he was out of sync, citing a 1 p.m. Eastern start time as the problem -- not overuse.

“Day games kill me,” he said. “A 10 [a.m. Pacific] game is hard. I was tired from not sleeping, maybe. Maybe my mechanics were a little bit off.”

With the team off today, Gagne said he would be available to pitch in all games of a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants beginning Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

“That’s why I took a day off [Saturday],” Gagne said.

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Catcher Paul Lo Duca and Cleveland center fielder Milton Bradley ended their brief feud stemming from Bradley’s actions after hitting a home run Saturday in the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory.

Lo Duca blasted Bradley for showing up starter Andy Ashby after hitting a leadoff homer in the fourth, prompting Bradley to rip back.

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Stepping into the batter’s box for the first time Sunday, Bradley extended an olive branch.

“Milt tapped me [on the shin guard] and said, ‘Sorry about yesterday,’ and I said, ‘I’m sorry about yesterday too,’ ” said Lo Duca, booed throughout the game by Indian fans, presumably upset about his comments while wearing a microphone for Fox.

“It was real professional and that was it. Things get heated once in a while. You just can’t carry it over to the next day.”

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First baseman Fred McGriff was out of the lineup for the second day in a row after aggravating a groin injury in Friday’s 4-3, 10-inning victory.

“I hope to get back in there against the Giants,” McGriff said. “I’m getting my treatment, so we’ll see.”

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