ATLANTA — Great moments in Dodger history, revisited: When the Brooklyn Dodgers scored 15 runs in the first inning of a 19-1 win over Cincinnati in 1952, the Reds' starting pitcher, Ewell Blackwell, showered, changed his clothes and flagged a cab back to the hotel. He walked into a bar to watch the game on TV and was shocked to discover it was still the first inning.
Wednesday night, Brave starting pitcher Steve Bedrosian didn't have the luxury of fleeing the premises until after the Dodgers had completed turning the screws in another 12-3 torture of Atlanta. Not surprisingly, he left without a word.
Like Blackwell, Bedrosian was party to an inning that threatened never to end--the third, which began with Fernando Valenzuela's first home run of the season and didn't lose steam until the Dodgers had strung together seven straight hits, three short of the big-league record.
The shame of ending that streak belonged to Len Matuszek. All he did was hit the ball to the warning track in left for a sacrifice fly that scored the sixth Dodger run of the inning.
"I thought it had a chance to hit the wall," said Matuszek, who bravely faced reporters afterward even though he was the only guy in the starting lineup who failed to get a hit, although he did have two RBIs.
"I saw guys getting hits left and right, and I'm begging for one," he added.
If you've ever seen anybody pluck the wings off a butterfly, then you'll understand what the Dodgers have done to Atlanta pitching in the last three nights.
The Dodgers, who sent 11 men to the plate in the third for half of their dozen runs, sent another 10 batters to the plate in the fourth, when they scored five more runs on five hits, including another four in a row.
When it came time to give the scores on one Atlanta TV station Wednesday night, the announcer prefaced his remarks with: "And now it's time for our daily Dodger damage report."
The Dodgers, in taking four straight from Atlanta, have outscored the Braves, 41-15. They've also had 57 hits to the Braves' 34.
Mike Marshall, who had four hits and four RBIs Wednesday, has nine hits in the series and 10 RBIs.
Greg Brock, who hit an opposite-field home run for his 20th of the season, has two home runs and eight RBIs for the series. Mike Scioscia has seven hits in the series, while Ken Landreaux has seven hits in the last two games--four on Wednesday--and now trails Pete Rose's all-time hit record by only 3,223.
"I'd probably have to play 20 more years to catch him," said Landreaux, who has yet to announce his intentions of playing past the age of 50.
For Bobby Wine, who became Brave manager when Eddie Haas was fired, the Dodgers have turned an interim into an eternity.
"They look just like we did in 1980," said Wine, speaking of the Philadelphia Phillies, for whom he was coaching when they won the World Series that year. "We got hot in September and ran away with it.
"We (the Braves) just hit the wrong team at the right time."
The Dodgers, of course, could have argued when they arrived that the Braves had caught them at the wrong time, with their pitching tired and Pedro Guerrero hurt.
You remember Pedro Guerrero, don't you? The slugger with the MVP credentials.
"The young kid who just came up," said Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda, trying to be helpful.
When Guerrero missed seven games in July with a back injury, the Dodgers won six out of seven without him. Since he injured his left wrist on Saturday, the Dodgers have won four out of five.
"When I'm there," Guerrero said to Lasorda, "the guys know they can lay back."
For two innings, Bedrosian laid the Dodgers out, striking out three. But he came unraveled one out into the third, when Valenzuela splattered a fat slider against the scoreboard in right-center field for a home run, one year to the day he hit his last one.
"I think that must have shocked him," said Brock, who sent a jolt of his own through Bedrosian when he followed singles by Steve Sax, Landreaux and Marshall with a line drive over the left-field fence for homer No. 20, matching his career high.
Before the season, the Dodgers said they would be satisfied with Brock if he hit 20 home runs and batted .250. Brock has 25 games to add to his home run total, and at the moment he's hitting .256.
"Sure, I really am satisfied," said Dodger Vice President Al Campanis.
With a 12-1 lead, so was Valenzuela, who won for the 10th time in 11 decisions and now has 17 wins in all.
Valenzuela, who went 11 scoreless innings against the Mets in a game the Dodgers eventually lost in 13, had the luxury of going just six before coming out for Brian Holton.
During batting practice, Valenzuela had hit several home runs off batting-practice pitcher Joe Ferguson.
"In batting practice, everybody can hit them," Valenzuela said.
The same can be said of Atlanta, which now has gone through 19 pitchers in four games. And there's no relief in sight.