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DODGERS HAVE A BLANK STARE NL WEST LEAD NARROWS TO 2 1/2 GAMES SAN DIEGO 3, DODGERS 0.



Byline: Rich Hammond Rich Hammond
Los Angeles Daily News sports writer. Instrumental in bringing the Los Angeles Kings hockey organization closer to the fans. He is the atypical "what a guy" to Kings fans everywhere.

Rich Hammond on himself.
  Staff Writer

The footsteps, almost inaudible two weeks ago, must now seem deafeningly loud to the Dodgers. The San Francisco Giants The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team based in San Francisco, California that currently play in the National League West Division. New York Giants history
Early days and the John McGraw era
 are coming, and the Dodgers' grip on first place is becoming increasingly tenuous.

For the fourth time in five days, the Giants picked up ground on the Dodgers in the race for the National League West title. With the knowledge that the Giants had won earlier in the day, the Dodgers were shut down by San Diego's Adam Eaton Adam Thomas Eaton (born November 23, 1977 in Seattle, Washington) is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Early career
Eaton graduated from Snohomish High School in 1996 where he went 8-0 with a 0.
 and lost 3-0 Thursday night before 43,185 at Dodger Stadium     [ .

When they awoke Sunday morning Sunday Morning may refer to:
  • "Sunday Morning (radio program)", a Canadian radio program formerly aired on CBC Radio One
  • CBS News Sunday Morning, a television news program on CBS in the United States
  • Sunday Morning (TBS TV series)
, the Dodgers led the Giants by six games. But the Padres took three of four games from the Dodgers, who now lead the Giants by only 2 1/2 games with 16 remaining.

This is the Dodgers' slimmest division lead since July 31, thanks to an outstanding effort from Eaton (10-13), who pitched seven strong innings and combined with Akinori Otsuka and Trevor Hoffman Trevor William Hoffman (October 13, 1967 in Bellflower, California) is a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who has played for the San Diego Padres since 1993. He bats and throws right-handed.  for the shutout, the 10th pitched against the Dodgers this season.

Hoffman struck out Robin Ventura
    Robin Mark Ventura (born July 14 1967 in Santa Maria, California) is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the Chicago White Sox. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
     with runners on second and third to end it for his 38th save in 42 chances, and the third of this series. The save was the 390th in Hoffman's career, moving him into a tie for third place on baseball's all-time list with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley
    "Eck" (note lowercase) redirects here. "ECK" is also a clipped form of a religion called Eckankar. For the 16th century Catholic theologian who opposed the Protestant Reformation, see Johann Eck.
    .

    Jeff Weaver This article is about Major League Baseball player Jeffrey Weaver. For other people named Jeff Weaver, see Jeff Weaver (disambiguation).
    Jeffrey Charles Weaver
     (Simi Valley Simi Valley (sē`mē, sĭm`ē), city (1990 pop. 100,217), Ventura co., SW Calif. in an oil, fruit, and farm region; laid out 1887, inc. 1969.  High) had inspired some concern with his last two outings, in which he allowed a total of nine runs in 13 innings, but Weaver has been far and away the Dodgers' most consistent starter of late. He hadn't lost since July 25, a span of nine starts, and had enjoyed good results against San Diego San Diego (săn dēā`gō), city (1990 pop. 1,110,549), seat of San Diego co., S Calif., on San Diego Bay; inc. 1850. San Diego includes the unincorporated communities of La Jolla and Spring Valley. Coronado is across the bay.  this year.

    The Padres hit Weaver hard in April, but in three other outings against San Diego, Weaver allowed a total of four earned runs in 22 innings, and he turned in another mostly solid effort Thursday, as he allowed three runs in seven innings, with one walk and three strikeouts. Weaver (12-11) had only sporadic trouble.

    With two outs in the first, Brian Giles hit a towering home run to right field off Weaver for a 1-0 lead. Weaver quickly settled down and retired the next eight Padres, but Giles started the trouble for Weaver again with one out in the fourth.

    Giles crushed a double down the right-field line, which was followed by a walk to Phil Nevin. Ryan Klesko then singled sharply to center to advance both runners and bring up Ramon Hernandez.

    Hernandez flied out sharply to right field and Giles easily beat the throw to the plate for a 2-0 lead. Weaver then got Dave Hansen to ground out to end the inning.

    Weaver didn't get much luck in the seventh. With one out, Hansen dribbled a single through the left side, then moved to second when Jay Payton's broken-bat dribbler evaded Adrian Beltre's bare-handed grab. With two outs, Ramon Vazquez singled sharply to center to score Hansen for a 3-0 lead.

    Eaton, 7-2 lifetime against the Dodgers, left after he walked Jason Grabowski to lead off the seventh. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out six.

    In their first three meetings, the Dodgers managed almost nothing against Eaton, who beat them twice and allowed a total of three earned runs and 11 hits in 22 innings. But on July 30 in San Diego, the Dodgers pounded Eaton for seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.

    The early innings strongly suggested that Eaton had rediscovered his rhythm against the Dodgers. Eaton retired the side in order in the first, then got even better, as he struck out five of the next six Dodgers.

    Eaton got Cesar Izturis to ground out to open the fourth, but then Jose Hernandez crushed a double off the wall in left-center field. Steve Finley then lined out to center and, on the first pitch, Beltre fouled out to the catcher, Hernandez, to end the inning.

    The Dodgers' best scoring chance came in the seventh, with Beltre on third and one out, but Bradley popped up and Ventura hit a liner that second baseman Mark Loretta dove and caught.

    Rich Hammond, (818) 713-3611

    rich.hammond(at)dailynews.com

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    PADRES 3, DODGERS 0
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    Title Annotation:Sports
    Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
    Date:Sep 17, 2004
    Words:716
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