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Dodgers Join Padres in Cellar After 10-7 Loss

September 20, 1987|THOMAS BONK | Times Staff Writer

Sure, it's been an up-and-down year for the Dodgers--mostly down.

Yet even after Saturday night, there's still not much of a chance that they're planning to be joint tenants with the Raiders down in Irwindale's gravel pits.

Wins are down, way down, and so is attendance, which is off more than 200,000 from last season.

And sometimes the Dodgers are up and down in the same game, which is what happened to them against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers blew a 7-2 lead, got staggered by a 7-run Atlanta eighth and lost, 10-7, before 27,927 in Dodger Stadium.

The Braves sent 11 batters to the plate in the eighth inning and got six hits against four pitchers, the big blows an RBI single by Gerald Perry and a two-run double by Ken Oberkfell.

"You get seven runs and you can't win . . . ," Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said. "That was not the worst of the year, but you have a 7-2 lead and you wind up losing, it's not easy to swallow."

So there is a new team in last place in the West. It is the Dodgers, who were leapfrogged by the Braves, and now join the Padres in the cellar.

The moment was a rare one for the Braves, who won for only the third time in 70 games after trailing in the eighth inning.

Joe Boever (1-0) was the winner in relief, although there wasn't much of that going on.

The loser could have been any one of the seven Dodger pitchers, but it turned out to be Matt Young (5-8), who was treated badly in the eighth.

The Dodgers wasted John Shelby's 20th home run as well a five-run lead at the end of five innings. Shelby socked a two-run homer in a four-run fifth inning, his second homer in as many nights.

Shelby's power surge is a little unusual, though since the most home runs he had hit before in one season was 11, but Shelby's homer was already his seventh against the Braves this year.

Shelby's one-out home run put the Dodgers out front, 7-2, and also scored Pedro Guerrero in front of him. Steve Sax, who had three hits, began the fifth inning with an infield single, which extended his team-high hitting streak to 14 games.

Mike Devereaux walked and Guerrero followed with a single to score Sax. Mike Marshall's sacrifice fly scored Devereaux for a 5-2 Dodger lead before Shelby gave Tim Leary some breathing room.

It didn't take long for the Dodgers to hyperventilate.

Lasorda went through his pitching staff like he was calling roll. Even Jack Savage worked in a game that featured 40 players (24 of them Dodgers), 27 hits, 11 pitchers, 19 runners left on base, two errors, two wild pitches, two hit batters and took almost four hours to play.

At 3 hours 52 minutes, it was the longest nine-inning game in the National League this season by two minutes. It probably was also one of the worst, maybe by a lot.

Leary was working in relief of Shawn Hillegas, who beat the Braves in his major league debut six weeks ago, didn't get to the fifth inning this time.

Before Saturday night, his last four starts have gone no decision, loss, no decision, loss. Hillegas hasn't won since Aug. 14 when he defeated the Giants.

Hillegas gave up six hits and was in trouble in each of the four innings he worked, so the Dodgers were behind, 2-1, when Lasorda sent Mickey Hatcher up to pinch-hit for him with two on and two out in the fourth.

Tom Glavine should already have been out of the inning, but Perry's error gave Hatcher a chance to hit. Perry muffed Alex Trevino's one-out roller, which bounced between his legs and into right field, and Glenn Hoffman followed with a single to left.

Phil Garner's ground ball to shortstop should have been the third out, but instead it moved the runners into scoring position, which is just what they did on Hatcher's sharply hit single to center.

Hatcher tried to move to second on the play, but he got caught in a rundown and was tagged out when the relay throw was cut off. The Dodgers had the lead, though, 3-2, then went out to add to it in the fifth.

Shelby put Glavine out of the game with his home run over the fence in center field, just over the 395-foot sign.

Leary was not overpowering, but then none of the Dodger pitchers were except for No. 7, Brian Holton, who worked a scoreless ninth. Leary was touched for two hits and a run in the sixth and left in the seventh with two on and two out.

Tim Crews came on and hit the first batter he faced to load the bases, but Perry flied out deeply to Shelby in center. He departed in the eighth after he loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batsman.

Young, the next Dodger pitcher, gave up a run-scoring infield single to pinch-hitter Ken Griffey. Then after Albert Hall forced Oberkfell at the plate, Ron Gant singled to center to score two and bring the Braves to within 7-6.

Shelby juggled the ball for an error, which moved both runners up. Brad Havens took his turn on the mound. Dion James' ground out scored Hall with the tying run.

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