Dodger pitcher Bob Welch reached a milestone Monday night.
It took Welch four tries, but he finally got his 100th career victory, beating the Atlanta Braves, 7-0, Monday night before a cap night crowd of 36,166 at Dodger Stadium.
"Sure it's special. I'm proud of the 100 wins," Welch said. "But I'm also proud of a shutout. I wanted it.
"I'm just happy he (Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda) is still giving me the baseball eight years later. That's why I go out and bust my (bleep) for the man.
"The main thing is I had an opportunity to go out and pitch quite a few games."
Welch, 29, has a career record of 100-75.
It was Welch's third shutout of the season. The others were a three-hitter on April 9 against San Diego and a six-hitter on April 30 against the Cubs.
But Welch (7-11) had won just four games since April 30th and had lost his last two starts coming into Monday night's game despite compiling a 1.09 earned-run average in that span. The Dodgers had scored just three runs the last three times Welch pitched.
But Welch had no trouble blanking the Braves, limiting them to just four hits in nine innings. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter.
The Dodgers gave Welch three runs in the fifth inning and it was all he needed. The three-run lead was the biggest that he has had to work with in his last four starts.
"You still have to pitch like it's 0-0," Welch said. "If you walk a guy, they've got three or four cats who can pop one out if you make a mistake. One of the things I've been able to do is not to be concerned about the score no matter what it is."
Said Lasorda, when asked about Welch's milestone: "He could have won quite a few ballgames under better conditions. He's lost a lot of 2-1 games. But we finally got some runs for him.
"He had tremendous stuff tonight. He really pitched a super game. He had a good fastball from inning one to inning nine."
The seven-run win was the Dodgers' largest margin of victory since July 2, when they beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-2.
Catcher Mike Scioscia, who had only three home runs this season coming into the game, provided Welch with all the offense he needed.
Scioscia opened the Dodger fifth by smashing a 3-and-2 pitch off losing pitcher Rick Mahler into the Braves' bullpen in right field. Scioscia also singled.
Second baseman Steve Sax extended his hitting streak to seven games. Sax was 2 for 4 with a pair of singles. He also scored and drove in a run. Sax is 15 for 31 (.484) in his last seven games. He's hitting .324 this season, third in the National League.
Not that it matters much now with the season winding down, but the Dodgers passed the Braves and moved back into fourth place.
The Dodgers had 10 hits, but the Braves also helped the Dodgers by giving them four unearned runs. The Braves made four errors.
Mahler (12-15) was sharp in the first four innings, limiting the Dodgers to just one hit, a first-inning double by Bill Madlock. Mahler struck out four.
But the Dodgers chased Mahler in the fifth, sending nine batters to the plate. Two of the three runs they scored in the inning were unearned.
Scioscia got things going with a home run, his first since Aug. 25, when he hit one against the Phillies.
Rookie right fielder Ralph Bryant followed with a double to left. Brave left fielder Ken Griffey appeared to have a shot at Bryant's towering fly, but it dropped in for a double. Mahler struck out Franklin Stubbs, but Bryant scored when third baseman Ken Oberkfell let Dave Anderson's grounder go through his legs and into left for an error. Welch grounded out with Anderson taking third, from whence he scored on Sax's single to center.
Len Matuszek followed with a single to right and was awarded second base because Mahler blocked him as he was rounding first. Mahler got an error on the play for interference.
Mahler departed after he intentionally walked Madlock to load the bases.
However, reliever Ed Olwine came in and ended the rally when he got pinch-hitter Enos Cabell to ground out to short.
The Dodgers added another unearned run in the seventh. With two outs, Sax beat out a grounder to short, and he scored from first when first baseman Bob Horner lost pinch-hitter Jose Gonzalez's high flyball in the lights. Horner got an error.
They added three more runs in the eighth inning.
With one out, Cabell singled to center. He went to third when Scioscia followed with a single to left. Catcher Alex Trevino ran for Scioscia. Bryant singled to center to score Cabell, and Trevino reached third. Stubbs, who struck out in his first two at-bats, followed with a run-scoring single to right.
Pedro Guerrero, pinch-hitting for Anderson, drove in Bryant on a fielder's choice.
The Dodgers held yet another closed-door meeting before the game. They were opening a seven-game home stand after coming off a horrible trip, in which they lost six of nine games.
"It was a very calm meeting," Sax said. "There was no yelling or screaming."
Mike Marshall took batting practice for the first time in a couple of weeks Monday. Marshall hasn't been able to hit because of stiffness in his lower back. "It felt all right," Marshall said after he got out of the batting cage. Asked when he'll be available to hit again, Marshall said: "I really don't know yet. I haven't made any decision." . . . Omar Moreno's stolen base in the first inning was the Braves' first since Aug. 25.