Another day in baseball and more disputes betweem managers and replac
Another day in baseball and more disputes betweem managers and replacement umpires.
The big one Sunday was in New York, where St. Louis manager Joe Torre was tossed out after home plate umpire Frank Ballina negated a run and a possible big inning when he ruled Jose Oquendo was inside the restraining line on a wild throw to first base.
Torre was ejected and protested the game, but withdrew the protest after Danny Shaeffer, his third-string catcher, hit a three-run homer to give the Cardinals a 3-0 win over the Mets. The 33-year-old Shaeffer, who had just seven career home runs, was in the game to catch Kevin Urbani, who limited the Mets to three hits in six innings.
``All I wanted him to do is handle Urbani,″ Torre said. ``As it turns out, he gave us a bonus with the home run.″
There was also a dispute in Chicago, where Montreal beat the Cubs 4-2, Chicago’s first loss after four wins, and another in Los Angeles, where the Atlanta Braves beat the Dodgers 6-3.
In other games, Houston beat Colorado 3-1, handing the Rockies their first loss; Florida won its first, 10-3 in San Francisco, and San Diego beat Cincinnati 7-6.
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia was rained out.
In New York, Shaeffer’s homer off Bobby Jones (0-1) was made possible in an inning extended by the second of two throwing errors by Bobby Bonilla, the Mets’ third baseman. Bonilla also made an error that set up the dispute between Torre and Ballina, throwing the ball into right field on a ground ball to give the Cards runners on first and second with none out in the second.
Jose Oquendo then bunted in front of the plate and catcher Kelly Stinnett’s throw was high and wide of first baseman Rico Brogna as John Mabry scored and Shaeffer and Oquendo ended up at second and third.
But Ballina, invoking a rarely called rule, negated the play, called Oquendo out and sent the runners back to first and second. That set off Torre.
Ballina said it was a judgment call, but Torre claimed it was the rules.
``I don’t deny that Oquendo had one foot out of the restraining line, but the umpire went out of his way to make the wrong call,″ Torre said. ``I just don’t think he knows the rule, and that’s what I based my protest on.″
Ballina replied: ``He definitely interfered with the throw to first base. I told Joe that he couldn’t protest a judgment call, but I never refused to accept it.″
Braves 6, Dodgers 3
John Smoltz, back from off-season elbow surgery, pitched five strong innings in his season debut for the Braves in a game in which Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda was ejected in the seventh inning by replacement umpire Wade Ford.
Lasorda argued that Atlanta’s Mike Kelly should have been called out for running outside the first-base line _ as TV replays showed he did _ after hitting a dribbler in front of the plate. Catcher Carlos Hernandez’s throw hit Kelly and led to two runs that gave the Braves a 5-2 lead.
Javier Lopez homered for the second day in a row and Jose Oliva also connected for the Braves.
The Dodgers’ first home series of the strike-delayed season drew 137,851 fans for three games, compared to the small crowds that some teams have experienced. A crowd of 40,785 turned out on ``Fan Appreciation Day,″ a promotion cancelled last year by the walkout.
Expos 4, Cubs 2
Visiting Montreal denied the Cubs their best start in more than 60 years as Wil Cordero’s two-run homer first-inning homer led the way. Chicago has not started 5-0 since 1934, when they won their first seven games.
Gil Heredia (1-0) allowed four hits and a run in five innings. He walked none and struck out five.
Cordero homered after Tony Tarasco led off the game with a single against Frank Castillo (0-1). Cordero and Tarasco each had three hits.
This game’s dispute came after Tarasco singled and Cordero doubled to open the third. Roberto Kelly bounced back to Castillo, who ran at Tarasco and trapped him halfway between third and the plate.
Castillo flipped the ball late to catcher Rick Wilkins, who missed the tag. TV replays showed that Tarasco went wide out of the baseline, but plate umpire Terry Bovey ruled Tarasco safe, bringing Cubs manager Jim Riggleman out of the dugout.
Astros 3, Rockies 1
In Houston, pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez singled in the go-ahead run in a three-run seventh inning as the Astros rallied to hand Colorado its first loss in five games.
Juan Acevedo allowed one hit over five innings in his major league debut for the Rockies and left the game with a 1-0 lead. But he was deprived of the victory when the Astros rallied off reliver Curtis Leskanic.
Leskanic walked Dave Magadan and Milt Thompson with one out in the seventh before Tony Eusebio had an RBI single. After Orlando Miller popped out to second base, Gonzalez singled home Thompson before James Mouton’s RBI double.
Marlins 10, Giants 3
In San Francisco, Jeff Conine homered twice as Florida broke out of a hitting slump with a club-record four home runs.
Gary Sheffield and Mario Diaz also homered for the Marlins, who had lost their first four games this season and had a 23-inning scoreless streak. Diaz added an RBI double and an RBI single.
John Burkett (1-1), who pitched for the Giants for five seasons, allowed three hits and three walks in six scoreless innings for the Marlins. He struck out five.
The attendance was 19,810 on a rainy day, bringing the total for the opening three-game series to 61,538. The Giants drew 80,157 for their opening weekend series last year, on April 22-24 against the Mets.
Padres 7, Reds 6
Steve Finley hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth and the San Diego Padres swept the winless Cincinnati Reds 7-6. The loss means the Reds (0-5) are off to their worst start in 40 years.
After Barry Larkin’s two-out, two-run homer tied the game in the top of the ninth, the Padres loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning against Hector Carrasco (0-2) to set the stage for Finley’s fly to medium left.
The Padres entered the ninth with a 6-3 lead. Trevor Hoffman (1-0) got the first two hitters, but Willie Greene singled, Reggie Sanders doubled him home and Larkin hit his second home run of the season over the center field fence.
That denied Fernando Valenzuela the win in his first start as a Padre.
He recovered from a shaky start in which he allowed four hits and a run in the first inning to last five innings, allowing two runs and six hits before a crowd of 18,964, the Padres’ second-biggest since drawing 41,961 on opening night.