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Green sees power restored
10/10/2004 1:07 AM ET
LOS ANGELES -- For a while this season, it didn't seem as if Shawn Green would ever come out of it. His bat was slow, the residue of recovering from surgery to repair a frayed labrum in his right shoulder.

Now he's back and the St. Louis Cardinals are paying for it. The lefty-swinging slugger is making the most of the first postseason appearance in his 12-year career. During the course of six at-bats over two playoff games, Green broke a Dodgers first-round record by hitting three homers.

"When you wait [so long] to get here, you don't want it to go away too soon," said Green, who hit homers in consecutive Game 3 at-bats as the Dodgers defeated the Cardinals, 4-0, on Saturday, halving their deficit in the best-of-five National League Division Series to 2-1. "You never know when you're going to get another chance. I wanted this thing to go as long as possible."

Green hit both homers off Cards right-hander Matt Morris, drilling his first to dead center to lead off the fourth inning and his second into the right-field pavilion with two out in the sixth. The homers extended an early 2-0 lead and gave Dodgers starter Jose Lima enough cushion to pitch the team's third complete game this season.

The Dodgers have played in the Division Series three previous times: once during the strike-interrupted 1981 season and again under the current format in 1995 and 1996. Green's three homers -- he also connected in Game 2 on Thursday -- eclipsed by one the team's first-round mark set by Steve Garvey (1981) and tied by Eric Karros (1995). His homers in consecutive at-bats were the first time a Dodger has accomplished the feat in a first-round series since Karros did it in Game 2 of Cincinnati's sweep of the 1995 series.

Green was 3-for-4 in Saturday's game, including a single, all three hits coming on Morris fastballs, Cards manager Tony La Russa said.

Green hit 28 homers this season after slumping to 19 homers in 2003, a season that ended with his shoulder so sore he couldn't follow through at the end of his swing. He hit 91 total homers for the Dodgers in 2001 and 2002.

This season's comeback was filled with peril and Green hit his low in May, when he batted .204 with three homers and 14 RBIs, forcing manager Jim Tracy to bench him at times.

"For me, obviously, I started off slow and had a tough first half," Green said. "Coming off the shoulder surgery I expected it to take a little while just to get the feeling back and the confidence. I had a good game against the Giants at midseason and started feeling the confidence again."

Now Green is reaching the seats again, too.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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