LOS ANGELES (AP) – Nomar Garciaparra hit a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a much-needed 5-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Garciaparra hit a 2-1 pitch from Luis Vizcaino over the left-center field fence for his 19th homer of the season. It was Garciaparra who hit a two-run homer in the 10th Monday night in an 11-10 victory over San Diego after the Dodgers matched a big league record by hitting four consecutive homers in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game.

Garciaparra came out of the dugout a few minutes after his homer to acknowledge the cheering fans.

By winning their regular-season home finale, the Dodgers remained 1 games behind the NL West-leading San Diego Padres and a half-game behind Philadelphia in the wild-card race. The Padres beat Pittsburgh 2-1 and the Phillies topped Florida 10-7 earlier Sunday.

The Dodgers have six games left; the Padres and Phillies each have seven remaining.

Marlon Anderson started the winning rally by singling off Luis Vizcaino (4-6), and Russell Martin sacrificed. Oscar Robles grounded out, moving Anderson to third, and Rafael Furcal was walked intentionally. Kenny Lofton drew another walk, which loaded the bases for Garciaparra.

Takashi Saito (6-2), the third Dodgers pitcher, pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts to earn the victory.

Arizona took a 1-0 lead with an unearned run in the third off Hong-Chih Kuo. Stephen Drew walked, took second when third baseman Wilson Betemit mishandled Chris Snyder’s grounder for an error and scored on Carlos Quentin’s two-out double.

Los Angeles tied it in the fifth against Livan Hernandez but blew a chance for more. Kuo doubled with one out for his first big league hit, took third on Furcal’s single and scored on a single by Lofton. Garciaparra walked to load the bases, but Jeff Kent fouled out and J.D. Drew grounded out.

Kuo was outstanding in his fourth big league start, allowing four hits in a career-high seven innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. But he left after throwing 100 pitches with nothing to show for it.

Hernandez also went seven innings, allowing five hits. He walked five, struck out two and threw 118 pitches.

Conor Jackson hit a one-out double in the Arizona eighth, but Jonathan Broxton worked out of trouble by striking out Eric Byrnes and Scott Hairston.

Notes: The final regular-season game this year at Dodger Stadium was played before a crowd of 49,822, lifting the total for the year to a franchise-record 3,758,545 – the sixth-highest in NL history. That surpassed the previous Dodgers high of 3,608,881 in 1982, but that figure was the turnstile count while this year’s total was tickets sold. … Diamondbacks 2B Orlando Hudson left the team Sunday morning to attend to family issues, according to manager Bob Melvin. … Arizona 3B Chad Tracy didn’t start because of what Melvin called a mild case tendinitis in his left knee, an ailment that has plagued him all season. … After taking Monday off, the Dodgers play three games at Colorado and three at San Francisco.

AP-ES-09-24-06 1919EDT


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