Dodgers 5, Expos 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ When a team is struggling offensively, they have to try everything possible to manufacture runs. And few managers this season have had more practice at pulling out all the stops than Bill Russell.
The Los Angeles Dodgers manager started Todd Hollandsworth from first on a 3-1 pitch to Greg Gagne with one out and the score tied 1-1 in the eighth. The move avoided a double play because Gagne grounded out.
Moments later, Raul Mondesi and Todd Zeile hit consecutive two-run doubles, giving the Dodgers a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Expos on Friday night.
``Sometimes you want your runners going on that pitch, and sometimes you don’t, but Hollandsworth runs good,″ Russell said. ``So we felt if it was a called strike, or if Gagne missed it, he could steal the base. Gagne hit a ground ball that could have been a double play, but it wasn’t and it kept the inning going. Little things like that win games.″
After Montreal’s Dustin Hermanson and David Veres blanked the Dodgers for seven innings, rookie Wilton Guerrero greeted Ugueth Urbina (1-2) with a leadoff double in the eighth and was sacrificed to third by pinch-hitter Nelson Liriano. Hollandsworth then sneaked a game-tying single through a drawn-in infield.
Mike Piazza was intentionally walked after Gagne’s groundout, and catcher Chris Widger’s fourth passed ball of the season gave the Dodgers two men in scoring position. Eric Karros, who leads the Dodgers with 17 walks, refused to bite at a borderline 3-2 pitch, loading the bases for Mondesi.
``Karros had a big walk to keep the rally going and get Mondesi up there,″ Russell said. ``That was a close pitch to take. A hitter’s taught that normally, anything close with two strikes, you swing at it _ especially in that situation. But we got the call.″
Mondesi then lined Urbina’s 1-2 pitch down the left-field line for a 3-1 lead, and Zeile greeted Marc Valdes with a two-run double. But by then, it was too late to help Ismael Valdes get the victory, despite the fact that he held the Expos to a run and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings.
``I feel bad for Ismael, but we were able to come back and get the win, and that’s what’s important,″ Hollandsworth said. ``He did a great job, gave us everything he had and pitched outstanding. He kept it at 1-0 until we were able to bust out there in the eighth.″
The Dodgers had scored only 10 runs for Valdes in his seven starts until the five-run rally. For the fourth time in his last five starts, he allowed fewer than three earned runs and came up empty.
``What can I say? I did my job and I felt good about it,″ said the hard-luck right-hander, who allowed his only run in the first inning on a leadoff triple by Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Lansing’s sacrifice fly.
``I’ve pitched some very good games this year and have been pitching in very close games also. It’s the same story, but we won the game and that’s what counts.″
Hermanson allowed just three hits and struck out four in 6 1-3 innings and was lifted by manager Felipe Alou after 91 pitches. The right-hander, who relieved exclusively with San Diego prior to this season, hadn’t gone more than five innings in any of his other three major league starts after being inserted into the Expos’ rotation on April 22.
``I still haven’t changed my game plan. I’m still going out there and just giving 100 percent on every pitch until I wear out,″ Hermanson said. ``I think I still had more in me tonight, but it was a situation where I hadn’t gone that late in a game, and Felipe’s word is gold. He’d made all the right decisions so far.″
Reliever Scott Radinsky (1-0) retired the only batter he faced, getting Joe Orsulak on a grounder with runners at the corners to end the eighth inning.
Notes: Mondesi’s clutch hit helped make up for his baserunning blunder in the seventh, when he took a wide turn at third base and was thrown out by Orsulak on Zeile’s infield hit to first base. ... The five-run eighth was the Dodgers’ most productive inning since April 12, when they scored nine in the third to beat Pittsburgh 14-5. ... The Dodgers are 14-1 when they score more than four runs. ... Guerrero and his younger brother Vladimir, the Expos’ rookie right fielder, played in the same big league game for the first time.