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Dodgers Beaten in 12th as Perez Finds His Way

August 29, 1987|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | Times Staff Writer

Insurance for the pennant drive isn't supposed to come from someone who hadn't started a game in the major leagues in almost two years, and who is remembered for not being able to find the freeway exit to the stadium while driving to a home game, but try telling that to the Montreal Expos.

The final blow in the Expos' 2-1, 12-inning victory over the Dodgers Friday night--a Mike Fitzgerald single to right field to score Tom Foley, who was at second after a throwing error by third baseman Tracy Woodson--came after pitcher Pascual Perez had left the game. But it was mainly because of Perez that Montreal was in position to win its third straight game.

With a crowd of 30,917 at Dodger Stadium looking on, the Dodgers could not beat Perez, so they went to work on Expo fielders instead.

Two Montreal errors in the eighth inning helped the Dodgers tie the score, 1-1, and send the game into extra innings. The rally started when second baseman Foley could not handle Mickey Hatcher's routine grounder. One out later, Woodson reached base and Craig Shipley, running for Hatcher, took second when third baseman Tim Wallach bobbled a grounder.

Another out later, pinch-hitter Ken Landreaux broke an 0-for-12 slump with a single up the middle to score Shipley. It was the Dodgers' second hit of the night.

They had Perez in trouble again in the ninth as Pedro Guerrero singled and stole second with one out. But John Shelby and Shipley struck out, and the game went into extra innings.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th but couldn't score. Stubbs grounded out to end the threat.

By then, Tim Crews and then Matt Young had relieved Dodger starter Orel Hershiser, who also pitched a game worth remembering. Hershiser left after eight innings, having allowed one run and five hits while striking out six.

Perez gave way to a pinch-hitter in the top of the 10th. His totals: Nine innings, one unearned run, three hits, five strikeouts and no walks. Reliever Tim Burke got the win to improve his record to 7-0.

"I feel great," Perez said. "I had good location and felt really comfortable. I needed to do my best to help the ballclub."

The hot-hitting Wallach, a former All-American at Cal State Fullerton, gave the the Expos a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with his third home run in four games and 22nd of the season. He has 107 runs batted in, second in the National League behind Andre Dawson of the Chicago Cubs and six short the Montreal single-season record set by Dawson.

But the real story was Perez, the 30-year-old right-hander making his second appearance for Montreal since being promoted from the minors Aug. 19. Through seven innings, he faced 22 batters, one more than the minimum, and allowed just one hit, an infield single by Steve Sax that bounced off Perez's glove and could not be handled by Hubie Brooks at shortstop. Sax was then retired when Franklin Stubbs grounded into a double play.

The Dodgers got their second runner of the game in the seventh, just after Foley caught Stubbs' line drive heading toward right field with a leaping catch. Guerrero reached first on an error by Brooks, but Perez and the Expos got out of the inning d when Shelby grounded to first for the third out.

A 15-game winner with Atlanta in 1983, Perez was part of the Braves' pitchers purge of April 1, 1986, when fellow veterans Len Barker, Rick Camp and Terry Forster were also released. He didn't pitch in the major leagues at all in 1986, working only in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the minor leagues before signing with Montreal in mid-February and working his way up through the Expos' system.

Friday's outing marked Perez's first major league start since Oct. 5, 1985.

"I appreciate the Montreal organization," he said. "I needed the time in the minor leagues. I've come a long way trying to make a comeback."

The only ones who were made to look rusty in this game were the Dodgers, who had scored 17 runs in two victories over the Expos in Montreal last week.

A few more performances like this would go a long way toward helping Perez's reputation.

Even though he had 14- and 15-win seasons with Atlanta, Perez is still remembered for the day in April 1982, when, fresh from passing his driver's test, he attempted to drive to Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium. But he got lost and circled the stadium on the interstate highway three times before running out of gas.

Friday night, he had more than enough gas to last nine innings, and that helped the third-place Expos continue their drive in the American League East.

Dodger Notes

Dodger pitcher Brad Havens, on the 21-day disabled list with an injured rib cage, made his second rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Albuquerque Thursday, allowing five hits and three runs in three innings. . . . Steve Sax began the night two hits shy of 1,000 in his career.. . . .The Eddie Murray-to-the-Dodgers rumors are still alive. Baltimore special assignment scout Dan Carnevale was sent to New York earlier in the week to watch the Dodgers play the Mets. . . .The Dodgers signed pitcher Chris Nichting of Northwestern University, their No. 3 selection in the 1987 amateur free agent draft. A right-hander who played for the United States in the recent Pan American games, Nichting will report to the Arizona Instructional League Sept. 11. . . . Shawn Hillegas (2-1) will pitch for the Dodgers against Montreal's Bob Sebra (6-14) tonight at 7:35. The Hollywood Stars Night activities begin at 6.

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