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No Mistake About It, Dodgers Win : Guerrero Hits 2 Homers in Error-Free Victory Over Mets

May 24, 1987|SAM McMANIS | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — That offensive explosion Tom Lasorda had been predicting didn't happen here Saturday afternoon, but many of the things the Dodger manager has seen over the last week didn't happen, either.

But, after seven games and 12 days of trial and (many) errors, the Dodgers finally found an alternate method to earn an elusive win on this heretofore disastrous Eastern trip.

It took a combination of Pedro Guerrero's bat, Bob Welch's arm and John Shelby's glove for the Dodgers to post a 4-2 win over the New York Mets before 38,606 at Shea Stadium.

Along with Guerrero's two home-run effort, Welch's solid pitching and a dramatic home-run saving catch by newly acquired Shelby, this day also was noteworthy for what didn't happen to the Dodgers.

They didn't make any errors, didn't strand too many runners in scoring position and didn't watch the bullpen blow another lead.

"It's been a long time since I've smiled," said Lasorda, smiling into a plate of pasta. "I hope I can smile for another seven days in a row."

In the midst of the Dodgers longest losing streak since 1982, Lasorda had a vision of a scoring binge that would awaken the club from its slumber. He's still waiting for that, but in the meantime, Guerrero, Welch and Shelby opened some eyes.

Guerrero, among the National League leaders in most offensive categories, launched two more towering home runs Saturday off Met starter Ron Darling, accounting for three of the Dodgers' four runs. Guerrero's third and fourth home runs in the last three games gives him 13 for the season and improves his average to .352.

Bob Welch gave up two home runs to Lenny Dykstra, the Met leadoff hitter, but otherwise pitched nearly flawless for 7 1/3 innings to improve his record to 5-2.

Reliever Matt Young saved Welch's win, but not until Shelby saved Young by reaching to the top of the center-field fence to rob Kevin McReynolds of a potential three-run home run in the eighth.

McReynolds hit what Young thought was a routine fly to center. But the ball continued to carry and Shelby jumped and nabbed it. Not even Shelby was sure whether the ball would have been out had he not made the catch, but it most assuredly would have scored two runners.

Young, a loser Friday night when the Mets scored two runs without hitting the ball out of the infield, admitted he was fortunate. But he added that he was due for a break.

"I just go out and pitch and hope the ball lands in somebody's glove," Young said. "I thought it was just a fly to center, but the ball kept going and going and drifting. I said to myself, 'No way, no way it's out.' I was pretty excited when I saw it in his glove, like any pitcher would be."

These days, it is rare when a Dodger pitcher would be saved by his defense, which has allowed 10 unearned runs on this trip. But both the beleaguered Dodger infield and sometimes-shaky outfield changed the error of their ways, at least for one afternoon.

"We played good 'D' today," said Young, voice raising in surprise. "We made some good plays. We turned a double play, if I'm not mistaken. Shelby's catch was great and Pete (Guerrero) made a pretty tough catch in left, too."

Guerrero is not in the Dodger lineup for defensive purposes. Guerrero's hitting is vital, but even with him producing at his 1985 pace, fellow Dodger hitters haven't responded.

"These things happen," Guerrero said. "I'm sure everybody wants to do their share. Right now, we're struggling and maybe guys are trying too hard. "It's hard on me, too. I've been hitting the ball, and we've still been losing. Last night (Friday), I hit a three-run home run and I wasn't happy because we lost. Today, I'm happy, but not just because I hit two home runs. Because we won."

After another day of assaulting opposing pitchers, Guerrero ranks fourth in the league in average (.352), tied for third in home runs (13), second in runs-batted-in (38) and sixth in hits (50).

Dykstra will never be confused with Guerrero. But he matched Guerrero home run-for-home run Saturday, receiving two curtain calls from the Shea Stadium crowd. Dykstra's first home run was on Welch's first pitch of the game, and the second was on Welch's 135th. One batter after Dykstra's second home run, Lasorda and pitching coach Ron Perranoski went to Young, who recorded his third save.

Other than Dykstra's shots and three other singles, Welch was unhittable. He struck out nine Mets, moving a variety of pitches around the plate and catching the outside corners.

"I felt really good out there," Welch said. "I feel especially good about the way Pete is swinging the bat and that catch Shelby made."

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