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Pena and Dodgers Get No Relief in 7-4 Loss

July 13, 1986|DAN HAFNER | Times Staff Writer

Alejandro Pena turned in another strong five innings Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, but he also proved he isn't ready to go six.

Pena had a 4-0 lead in his third start of the season, but he was chased in the sixth when the Chicago Cubs tied the score.

It was then the turn of the bullpen to blow another one, and the Cubs sank the Dodgers deeper into the cellar in the National League West with a 7-4 victory.

Jerry Mumphrey singled off Tom Niedenfuer to drive in the go-ahead run in the seventh, and Leon Durham hit a two-run home run off Ken Howell in the eighth to make sure the Dodgers did not spoil their 1986 record of being unable to win a game in which they trailed after seven innings.

In 34 of their 48 defeats the Dodgers have been behind after seven innings. Not once have they pulled out a victory.

Ed Lynch gained his first win as a Cub with an impressive relief performance. He pitched four hitless innings, giving up just one walk.

Both Manager Tom Lasorda and Steve Sax were thrown out of the game by umpire Bob Engel after they objected to a third strike call on Sax in the eighth inning.

Pena, who missed almost all of last season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder, appears to need only stamina to make it all the way back.

In his first start, July 2 at Cincinnati, Pena gave up one run and two hits through five innings, then yielded three singles and departed with two out in the sixth.

In his next start, Monday against St. Louis, Pena held the Cardinals to two hits in five innings. He was leading, 1-0, when Lasorda removed him after five.

Through five innings in this one, he was superb. He breezed through the fifth, striking out Jody Davis for the second time. There was no sign he was tired.

His demise came suddenly. With just a little luck, he would have escaped without giving up a run. But these days, the Dodgers don't have much good luck.

With one out in the sixth, pinch-hitter Terry Francona rapped a single to right. Mumphrey, batting from the left side, sent left fielder Ken Landreaux to the warning track for his drive. Then Gary Matthews, who went into the game with three home runs in his previous seven at-bats, got his second single of the game.

Lasorda had Carlos Diaz and Niedenfuer warming up but chose to go with Pena, who had handled Ryne Sandberg easily twice, once on a strikeout. Three times Sandberg hit pop fouls just into the stands. Then, his blooper to right landed just in front of Mike Marshall and barely inside the line for a double. When Keith Moreland followed with a booming double, Pena was gone.

Diaz came in to face the left-handed hitting Durham. The left-handed reliever broke Durham's bat with an inside pitch, but Durham had the strength to bloop the ball into right-center, and the tying run scored.

"We don't have a limit on the pitches Pena throws," Lasorda said. "But he didn't look tired when he breezed through the fifth. And with any luck, he gets out of the sixth. Sandberg's hit was barely fair."

The Cubs' new manager, Gene Michael, was impressed by Pena. "He made some good pitches," Michael said. "I thought he was losing it in the sixth, but Tommy had faith in him and let him pitch to the right-handed hitters."

Even before the game, Michael was impressed with Lynch, the 6-5 right-hander picked up recently from the pitching-rich New York Mets for two minor leaguers. He spent most of the first half of this season recuperating from knee surgery.

"If the All-Star break wasn't coming up after tomorrow, I wouldn't have used him in relief," Michael said. "But I decided if the chance came, I would use him in relief in one of the games.

"He knows how to pitch. In two starts for us, he has pitched 13 innings and given up only one earned run. I'm glad he finally got a victory."

Durham, who went into the game batting only .241, was a thorn in Lasorda's side all night. Not only did he hit the bloop single that tied the game and a two-run homer that put it out of reach, he also figured in a play that cost the Dodgers at least one more run.

With two out in the third and Sax on third, Bill Russell hit a bouncing ball over second base. Shortstop Shawon Dunston made a fine play, but his throw to first was in the dirt. Although it appeared that Durham trapped the ball on the ground, first base umpire Tom Hallion called Russell out.

"The ball was outside Durham's glove," the still angry Lasorda said. "The next inning Durham showed us how the ball was outside his glove. But the umpire said he was out."

And so, the last-place Dodgers fell deeper into the cellar, eight games out of first.

Dodger Notes Today's final game before the All-Star break will start at 2:05 p.m. It will be preceded by the old-timers' game.. . . The old-timers were feted at a luncheon Saturday in the Stadium Club, and among the guests were former Manager Leo Durocher and former executives Buzzie Bavasi and Red Patterson. All agreed that their best times in baseball were spent with the Dodger organization.

In today's game, Dennis Eckersley (5-5), who pitched his first complete game in more than a year in his previous start at San Francisco, will pitch for the Cubs against Bob Welch (4-7) . . . Davey Lopes, another ex-Dodger having a big year, has a sore arm and was not in the Cub lineup. Lopes is working on a 10-game hitting streak. He has scored a run in every 4.8 plate appearances, the best ratio in the league.

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