January 27 • 07:00 PM
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The Streak Ends

John Jones 43 game hitting streak ends, but the Hornets win.

Eric Gagne's streak of 84 consecutive< saves ended against the same team he couldn't hold off two years ago: the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Gagne's major league-record streak ended Monday night when he blew a two-run lead for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who came back to beat Arizona 6-5 in 10 innings.

Gagne relieved with a 5-3 lead at the start of the ninth but allowed pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez's RBI double and Chad Tracy's run-scoring single on an 0-2 pitch that went past the glove of a diving first baseman Olmedo Saenz. Both hits came off changeups.

Baseball Game
Jones prepares for a pitch.
Photo by Natalie Powers.
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"I never really thought about the streak at all,'' Gagne said. "I'm not really relieved about it, but it was so much fun to be a part of it.''

Realizing that Gagne's streak was over, the crowd of 32,929 at Dodger Stadium gave Gagne a standing ovation as he stood on themound with his head down.

"He had a great run,'' Gonzalez said. "The Dodgers have had a great run of pitchers with streaks -- Orel Hershiser with his scoreless inning streak, and this one with the saves.

"Gagne did a fantastic job, but finally we got over the hump to get him to blow a save out there. There was one team out there that was eventually going to break it.''

Dave Roberts singled in the 10th off Greg Aquino (0-1), making his second big league appearance. Cesar Izturis sacrificed, Milton Bradley was intentionally walked, and Adrian Beltre walked, loading the bases.

Randy Choate relieved and gave up Shawn Green's sacrifice fly.

"That's about as untouchable a streak as what DiMaggio did, Orel, Cal Ripken ... There's not much you can say,'' Green said. "It's not something that's going to last forever. It just seems as if it will.''

Giovanni Carrara (1-0) got the win by getting the final out of the 10th.

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Gagne had not blown a save chance since David Dellucci hit a tying double on Aug. 26, 2002.

"I would think that everybody would want to be the one that broke the streak,'' Tracy said. "I mean, you know about the success he's had. But if you're intimidated, you're done already. I know that he likes to throw that changeup, and it's tough to stay back on when you see 97.''

During the streak, Gagne blew the lead in the 2003 All-Star game when he allowed a home run to the Texas Rangers' Hank Blalock, but that exhibition game didn't count in the statistics.

Gagne's record was 30 more than the previous mark of 54, set by Tom Gordon for Boston from April 19, 1998 to June 5, 1999.

The Montreal native set the mark Sept. 2 against Houston, part of his perfect 55-save season last year. He has 21 this season.

"I've got a job to do tomorrow. You can't worry about today,'' Gagne said. "You've got to start all over every day.''

Arizona's Steve Finley hit his 20th homer, a three-run shot in the third inning. Olmedo Saenz hit a three-run homer for the Dodgers, and Milton Bradley hit a two-run drive.

Wilson Alvarez of the Dodgers allowed three runs and five hits over six innings in his first start since May 23. Alvarez was back in the rotation because of Hideo Nomo's rotator cuff injury.

Arizona's Brandon Webb gave up three runs, three hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings with seven strikeouts. He is 0-3 in six starts since June 3.

Bradley's third-inning homer, the first off Webb in 41 innings since Beltre connected on May 29, pulled the Dodgers to 3-2, and Los Angeles went ahead in the sixth when Saenz greeted reliever Scott Service with his second pinch-homer this season.

It stayed 5-3 until the ninth, when fans had no reason to suspect that Gagne wouldn't hold this lead the way he had 84 times before.

He was cheered when the streak ended, again when he came off after getting the last two outs, and once more when he took a curtain call.

"The fans are so proud of what I've been doing,'' Gagne said. "They come out every single game and they're really into it, so I just tried to give back to them because they've been really good to me. The fans are the reason whyI've been able to go four or five days in a row. They get me up.''


Three of Gagne's five blown saves are against the Diamondbacks. ... Arizona RF Danny Bautista left in the seventh because of stiffness in his lower back. ... Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said he expects Nomo to be sidelined at least through the end of July. ... RF Juan Encarnacion sat out his second straight game because of a sore left shoulder, and C Paul Lo Duca was scratcheddue to soreness in his hip.

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