CHICAGO — The last thing the Dodgers needed on this extended trip--16 games in 14 days--was to play more than eight innings for nothing.
But that's just what happened Saturday at Wrigley Field. With the score tied, 2-2, and the Dodgers batting in the ninth inning, a storm which had already caused one rain delay, struck again. This time, it lasted 1 hour 42 minutes before umpire crew chief John McSherry called the game.
Because it was ruled a rainout, the game will not be resumed, as is the case with a suspended game. Instead, the teams will play their second doubleheader of the series today, the first game beginning at 10 a.m. PDT. Both games will televised on Channel 11.
The Dodgers' Tim Belcher (5-4) opposes Jeff Pico (3-4) in the first game. In the second game, middle reliever Brian Holton (4-3) will make his first start this season, facing Al Nipper (1-3).
The Dodgers still padded their National League West lead to 5 1/2 games when the San Francisco Giants lost their third straight game at Pittsburgh, 10-1.
"This is tough," Holton said. "It's like playing six games in four days. It really puts a strain on your pitching. But (the Cubs) have to do it, too."
Chicago, however, isn't in the midst of a two-week, four-city trip that includes a doubleheader last Thursday, the doubleheader today and another July 26 at San Francisco.
After the rainout, many Dodgers shrugged off the burden of so many games in so few days.
"That's a negative viewpoint, saying it will be tough on us," said pitcher Orel Hershiser, who allowed 2 runs in 7 innings Saturday. "We were going to have to play this game anyway." The game didn't count, but the Dodgers added a name to their list of injured players.
Third baseman Jeff Hamilton was hit in the left elbow by a foul ball in the eighth inning. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which were negative.
Manager Tom Lasorda said he was just happy that the Dodgers bounced back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the sixth inning. Had they not, the Dodgers would have lost when the game was called.
"That's the way I look at it--we didn't lose today and we'll come back tomorrow," Lasorda said.
Hershiser gave up a run in the first inning and another in the third, although he wasn't hit hard.
The Dodgers, however, scored an unearned run against left-hander Jamie Moyer in the fifth inning to cut it to 2-1, then pushed across the tying run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by right-hand-hitting Tracy Woodson off right-handed reliever Les Lancaster. Lasorda went against the percentages by not pinch-hitting for Woodson, who talked him out of it.
"I was ready to go to the bench, and Woodson said, 'I can get (the run) in,' " Lasorda said. "I said, 'Do you want it bad?' He said, 'Really bad.' After he got the run home, (Kirk) Gibson came up to Woody and told him he put his major league career on the line there. You don't drive in that run, and you're back to Albuquerque."
Lasorda said he considered starting Shawn Hillegas, who lasted only 2 innings Thursday, in today's second game, but chose Holton, who made one spot start last season. Holton has been effective--with a 1.96 earned-run average--as a middle reliever this season.
"I'll go as long as they want me to go," Holton said. "I think I can give them seven good innings. I'm glad to be getting the start. I'd love to be doing it. But I'm happy where I'm at, too."