Back in May I wrote about a magnificent at bat Alex Cora had against the Cubs, one where he fouled off fourteen consecutive pitches before hitting a home run. It was surprising to me at the time, because Cora had really never demonstrated that kind of patience in years past, and he was the last guy in the line up one expected to hit a home run. Since then, he's gone on to have the best season of his career so far. Mind, he's still not an elite hitter, but he's improved. He's hit ten home runs, twice his usual number, he walks more than he used to, and his average has improved. He's also become one of the best fielding second basemen in baseball, and with Cesar Izturis, gives the Dodgers the best double play combination in the bigs. Today, he not only hit what turned out to be the game winning home run, but he also made a tremendous, diving stop of a ball hit by Pedro Feliz in the bottom of the ninth to help preserve the victory. (Not that he was totally perfect on the day. In the top of the ninth, Milton Bradley was caught trying to steal home while Cora was batting. At least, that's what it said on the Gameday recap of the play. The thing is, I doubt very much if it was actually a straight attempt at stealing home, because almost nobody tries that. What I suspect happened, but don't know for sure because I didn't actually see the play, is that there was a squeeze play on, and Cora tried to bunt the ball and missed. At that point Bradley was a dead man jogging, because the ball was in the catcher's mitt instead of gently rolling towards first.)
So, the Dodgers took two out of three in San Francisco, much to the surprise of practically everybody, especially the Giants, who fully expected the Dodgers to roll over and die at SBC as they've done so many times in the past. They didn't. Weaver scuffled his way to the win, giving up his usual three runs, including a homer to Bonds, but managing to keep things from getting out of hand. Meanwhile, the Dodgers scored two in the first on Jayson Werth's home run, and after that it was a run here, a run there, never more than a run an inning, but they piled a bunch of those one-run innings up until it was 7-4.
The Dodgers have four games at home with the Rockies, then finish the season with three more against the Jints, who have three with the Padres before they come to LA. If the Dodgers go 5-2, the Giants can't catch them, even if they sweep their remaining six.