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Phillies Make Martinez Start a Washout, 8-3 : Baseball: Dodger pitcher gives up four runs in first inning. Rain delays come before game and during the sixth.

May 05, 1990|BILL PLASCHKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PHILADELPHIA — Ramon Martinez entered Friday's game at Veterans Stadium with two consecutive victories and two complete games.

He exited three innings later after reminding everyone of a more important set of twos in his life: He is still 22.

The youngest Dodger was confused by the rain delay, the signs from catcher Rick Dempsey, and ultimately by the Philadelphia Phillies during the Dodgers' 8-3 loss.

Martinez gave up five runs--four in the first inning--on four hits in his shortest outing since becoming a regular starter last July. That is only two fewer runs than he had allowed in his previous 28 innings this season, during which he had a 2-0 record, a 2.25 earned-run average and a growing reputation as one of the league's best young pitchers.

Friday, you could place emphasis on the word \o7 young.\f7

"Every time I go out there, I learn a lot of things," Martinez said. "And I know I need to learn a lot more."

He was not helped by a Dodger offense that scored its three runs on 11 hits, which translated to 10 runners left on base.

"And all of that was in the first six innings!" said Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda after the final 12 hitters were retired by Phillie reliever Don Carman.

But perhaps the Dodger hitters could be excused. Perhaps like the 8,926 fans, they were merely bored. The start of the game was delayed 18 minutes by rain, and then play was halted 1 hour 9 minutes by rain with none out in the Dodgers' half of the sixth.

By the time the game resumed, there were about 50 people in the stands. If any of them were fans of hitting, they didn't miss much. With the Dodgers trailing, 5-3, and runners on first and second, Carman retired Kal Daniels and Eddie Murray on fly-ball outs and then struck out Hubie Brooks to end the inning.

Dodger reliever Tim Crews gave up three more runs on a couple of walks and three singles in the seventh. Carman did not allow another Dodger to reach base. His four scoreless innings lowered his ERA to 0.69 through 13 innings. Last year he was 5-15 as a starter; this year he has given up only four hits.

Before Friday, Martinez appeared to be headed toward similar low numbers. But he said he began the night feeling awkward because he was given only 13 minutes warning before the delayed start of the game. He has never pitched after a rain delay before.

"I was warmed up, but not like you are when you know what time the game is going to start," Martinez said.

Once he took the mound, with a one-run cushion thanks to Daniels' first-inning homer, he looked awkward. Catcher Rick Dempsey ran out for a conference even before Martinez's first pitch to discuss the signs.

"We got just a little bit confused," Martinez said.

Said Dempsey, who had two hits in his first start since missing 19 games with back spasms: "I give the signs different from Mike Scioscia--the proper signs, but different, and Ramon and I just need to communicate better."

It was the first of three mound meetings in that inning. After Martinez gave up a leadoff walk to Len Dykstra and a run-scoring double to Tommy Herr, he was visited by pitching coach Ron Perranoski.

"He told me to calm down," Martinez said.

Martinez promptly gave up a run-scoring single to Ricky Jordan, and then John Kruk hit a fly ball that eluded a diving Juan Samuel and rolled through the left-field gap for a triple. Out ran Dempsey and in came shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who appeared to be both scolding and exhorting Martinez.

He allowed a run-scoring grounder to Dickie Thon, and then retired Darren Daulton on a grounder to end the inning. By then, he was nearly worn out. He had thrown 32 pitches in the inning, nearly half of the 66 total pitches he would throw in three innings.

Two innings later, on a 2-and-0 pitch, he allowed Von Hayes' fourth homer, and he was finished.

"You cannot pitch behind the hitters like that, statistics prove they will hit you harder, and that's what Ramon did," Lasorda said. "And age had nothing to do with that. Even guys 30 years old do it. And if you do, it's tough to win, plain as the nose on your face."

Or in Martinez's case, the egg.

Dodger Notes

In his Jim Gott's first rehabilitation assignment, the reliever threw three innings, giving up two runs on four hits with one strikeout and two walks while pitching Friday for Class-A Bakersfield at San Bernardino. Gott hopes to be ready to join the active roster when the team returns from the current trip May 14.

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