Venturing out on the road can be a tricky business, especially for an up-and-down team like the Dodgers.
So with 12 of their next 16 games on the road, the Dodgers can at least take some comfort in a modest two-game winning streak as they leave today for Cincinnati and the start of a six-game trip Friday night.
Wednesday night, they scored four runs in the first inning and beat the New York Mets, 5-2, before a crowd of 36,951 at Dodger Stadium.
"Hopefully," relief pitcher Matt Young said, "we'll use this to catapult us on the road."
The flashy sendoff included Franklin Stubbs' second home run in as many nights, a three-run shot in the first inning; two more hits by fill-in catcher Alex Trevino, and the flawless relief work of Young, who seems to have righted himself after a poor start.
Young got the Dodgers out of a two-out, two-on jam in the seventh inning and retired seven straight batters in relief of Orel Hershiser, who improved his record to 5-6.
The save was Young's sixth, four of which have come against the Mets in the last two weeks.
"I think I've just relaxed a little bit," Young said. "I put too much pressure on myself early in the season."
The pressure was on the Mets early Wednesday night, Stubbs' 10th home run highlighting a first inning that also included a run-scoring single by Trevino off Met starter Ron Darling.
The Dodgers fairly breezed after that, their biggest scare coming when Hershiser felt a "twinge" in his right arm and left the game in the seventh inning, having given up five hits in his last two innings of work.
"I wasn't lobbying to stay in," Hershiser said. "After I felt the twinge, I kind of threw a lazy curveball to (Wally) Backman."
Hershiser was through for the night after Backman's run-scoring single made it 5-2, but even with the twinge in his arm, he had to feel better than Darling.
Darling (2-4) was one of the Mets' most consistent pitchers in their drive to the World Series championship last season, winning his first six decisions and winding up with a 15-6 record and a 2.81 earned-run average.
In voting for the National League Cy Young Award, he finished tied for fifth.
During the winter, he won an arbitration hearing, being awarded a 1987 salary of $1.05 million.
But this season, expected to be the bellwether of a staff wracked by injuries to Bob Ojeda, Sid Fernandez, David Cone and Rick Aguilera and the drug problems of Dwight Gooden, he has struggled.
He has not won since April 22 and after giving up four earned runs Wednesday night, his ERA is 5.58.
Against the Dodgers, who had already beaten him once this season--May 23 in New York--Darling got into trouble quickly, walking leadoff batter Steve Sax and then, after striking out John Shelby and Pedro Guerrero, walking Mike Marshall.
He fell behind Stubbs, who hit a 3-1 pitch almost directly at the left flagpole beyond the wall in center field. The homer extended Stubbs' hitting streak to nine games, during which he has been 11 for 29.
Said Stubbs: "May has never been a great home run month for me. (But) I don't panic. June has always been a good one."
For Darling, it was the 13th home run he has allowed in 12 starts this season. Last season, he allowed a team-high 21, but that was in 34 starts.
After Stubbs' homer, Jeff Hamilton doubled off the Dodger bullpen gate. He scored on a single through the left side by Trevino, who is 6 for 12 since being pressed into service after Mike Scioscia broke the tip of the middle finger on his left hand Monday in batting practice.
Darling settled down after that, although he walked a season-high six batters in only five innings.
Darling was victimized in the second inning by Bill Almon's error on a leadoff grounder by Hershiser, which led to an unearned Dodger run.
Hershiser moved to second on a ground-out to third base by Sax and reached third when Shelby beat out a bouncer over the mound for a single.
He scored on a wicked one-hopper by Guerrero that knocked down Met second baseman Wally Backman, who recovered and retrieved the ball in time to throw Guerrero out.
Given a 5-0 lead, Hershiser allowed only 2 hits and faced only 17 batters through 5 innings.
Dodger Notes Rookie pitcher Tom Edens of Fruitland, Ida., who made his major league debut Tuesday night against the Dodgers, said he was so nervous that he was numb "from my head to my fingertips" in the first inning. Edens, who gave up 3 runs and 8 hits in 5 innings, flew his parents and sister in from Idaho and said that so many friends called about tickets, "I felt like I was making wedding arrangements." Added Edens: "It was a thrill, but I'm glad it's over." . . . Dwight Gooden, who spent 30 days in drug rehabilitation, is scheduled to make his 1987 debut for the Mets Friday night at Shea Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates. "There's no question he's going to give us some stability," catcher Gary Carter said. Loyola Marymount All-American Chris Donnels, a third baseman who was the Mets' first-round selection in Tuesday's major league draft, was a pregame visitor in the Mets' clubhouse. He said he expects to sign within a few days.