It was a good night all around Friday for the Dodgers, who dumped disgruntled third baseman Bill Madlock, welcomed back Mike Marshall from the disabled list and got another strong performance from pitcher Bob Welch.
Welch allowed only three singles and pitched to only four batters over the minimum in beating the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-0, before a crowd of 36,036 at Dodger Stadium.
A four-run third inning helped him stay aggressive, he said, and enabled him to improve his record to 6-2. The shutout was his second of the season.
Last season, Welch was 7-13.
So, when he faces the New York Mets Tuesday night, he can equal his victory output of a year ago with four months left in the season.
What's the difference?
"Nothing," Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia said. "He's just getting more support--offensively and defensively."
Against the Phillies, who have given him trouble in the past, Welch was supported by an 11-hit attack that included solo home runs by Pedro Guerrero and Steve Sax and a two-run double by Mickey Hatcher.
Guerrero went 3 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to nine games and increase his average to .354. It's Guerrero's second nine-game hitting streak of the season.
In lowering his earned-run average to 2.88, Welch struck out 7 and walked only 2, and only once did the Phillies have more than one runner on base.
"Welch pitched super," Phillie Manager John Felske said. "We never had any opportunities against him. He kept hitting the outside corner."
Said Scioscia: "He had command of everything. He pitched about as well as he could."
Welch said the early cushion kept him from getting too cute.
"I'm talking about getting the first pitch over the plate and making them swing the bat," he said. "Mike and Perry (pitching coach Ron Perranoski) stayed on me to stay ahead of those guys."
The Dodgers, meanwhile, roughed up Phillie starter Bruce Ruffin in the third inning, stringing together six straight hits after two were out.
The most damaging blow was Hatcher's two-run double, which bounced off the wall in left-center field.
It was a timely hit, considering that earlier in the day the Dodgers had released Madlock, the four-time National League batting champion who had been their regular third baseman until about 10 days ago.
Perhaps of equal interest to the Dodgers, though, was the hit that preceded Hatcher's--a soft line-drive single to center by right fielder Marshall, who came off the disabled list Friday.
Marshall, who underwent surgery May 11 to remove warts and free up a nerve in his left index finger, hadn't played since May 5. He resumed batting practice only last Monday.
Asked if it was encouraging to get a hit from Marshall, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said: "It's encouraging just to have him in the lineup."
Marshall and Guerrero, who had lined a single to left, scored on Hatcher's double.
Franklin Stubbs then singled to right, scoring Hatcher, and Mariano Duncan, who had been benched the previous two games because he was batting only .222, followed with a single to center.
A run-scoring single by Scioscia made it 4-0 and chased Ruffin in favor of Wally Ritchie, a rookie left-hander from Glendale.
Ritchie struck out Welch to end the inning but gave up a leadoff home run in the fourth to Steve Sax, whose second home run of the season cleared the wall about 10 feet to the right of the 370-foot sign in left field.
Ritchie and Tom Hume, who relieved Ritchie in the fifth, then retired 10 straight Dodger batters before Guerrero hit a towering home run over the 395-foot sign in center field.
The cushion was more than enough for Welch, who had won only one of his last seven decisions against the Phillies after throwing a one-hitter against them in 1983.
Hatcher made a nice play behind him in the sixth, diving to his right to catch a line drive by Milt Thompson.
Otherwise, Welch didn't need much help.
Glenn Wilson epitomized the Phillies' frustration, bouncing back up quickly after Welch almost hit him with a pitch in the fifth and shouting something out to the mound.
When Wilson struck out moments later, he angrily threw his helmet toward the dugout and was roundly booed.
Welch said he wasn't throwing at him.
Said Wilson: "I have no comment on the matter."
After the game, the Dodgers announced that they had recalled Jeff Hamilton from Albuquerque and optioned rookie Tracy Woodson. Hamilton was hitting .381 at Albuquerque and had two hits Thursday night, including his eighth and ninth home runs. "Hamilton's hitting well," Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said, "but we want Woodson to go down and play some. He made a tremendous leap, coming here from Double-A." Woodson, who was hitting .232, played last year at San Antonio. . . . It was being benched in favor of Woodson that prompted Bill Madlock to ask the Dodgers to trade him. Madlock, after being released Friday, watched part of the game from the press box. . . . Steve Sax, who has hit only 21 home runs in his five-year career, has homered against every team in the National League after getting homers this season against Montreal and Philadelphia.