YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Martinez Silences Marlins


MIAMI — With Monday's opening day festivities behind them, at least one Florida Marlin fan decided to provide some entertainment of his own. During the third inning Tuesday, with the Dodgers leading by 3-1 en route to a 4-2 victory and the Marlins at bat, a man jumped the wall at Joe Robbie Stadium, ran into center field, and started taking his clothes off.

First he took his shirt off, then his shoes, all the while doing some kind of jig that included some strange looking gymnastics. With no security in sight, Darryl Strawberry slowly walked over to him. The man put his arms around Strawberry and hugged him. Strawberry held onto him until stadium security took him away. "That's baseball at its finest," Strawberry said.

The Dodgers went on to their first victory, beating the Marlins before a sellout crowd of 44,288.

Ramon Martinez, whose inconsistency during the spring hinted of possible problems ahead, had more velocity on his fastball and threw at least two great changeups on his way to nine strikeouts in six innings to earn the victory.

Todd Worrell, who spent the spring rehabilitating his shoulder from tendinitis, earned his first save with the Dodgers by pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Jim Gott set up Worrell by pitching two scoreless innings.

And rookie catcher Mike Piazza demonstrated he was not afraid to call a changeup on a 3-and-2 count, which he did twice, with Martinez responding each time with a strikeout.

"Today was a good example of the way we hope it works," Worrell said.

But the Dodger offense left something to be desired. They had eight hits, only two of them for extra bases, and twice left the bases loaded. Strawberry, who was moved to the third spot in the batting order, still doesn't have a hit.

"Everything will click," Strawberry said. "When you are young and don't play well, you get frustrated. But I'm an old veteran. I'm healthy, that's what is important. Because I know I am going to get a hit."

Martinez looked shaky during the first inning. Four batters into the game, he had given up one run on two singles and a double. Five batters into the game, pitching coach Ron Perranoski was already visiting Martinez on the mound. Martinez responded by getting Dave Magadan to fly out on the next pitch.

"Ramon had some good innings and some bad innings," Manager Tom Lasorda said. "I was impressed with some of his fastballs . . . when he got his changeup over the plate, that made the difference. He also pitched out of a couple of real jams."

Martinez walked Dave Magadan to lead off the sixth inning and twice threw wildly inside to Benito Santiago, who spun out and down both times to avoid being hit. But then Martinez threw a changeup and struck him out. "Benito is the type of guy who can hit the ball out, and I figured if he is going to hit it, I needed to throw the best I have, then I overthrew it," Martinez said.

Worrell entered the game in the ninth and struck out Santiago before giving up singles to Jeff Conine and Walt Weiss. But Worrell said the hits motivated him to bear down harder, and pinch-hitter Greg Briley hit into a double play to end the inning. The Marlins' brightest moment came during the ninth inning, when manager Rene Lachemann, who had already used four pitchers, brought in rookie right-hander Trevor Hoffman to pitch to Eric Davis after Luis Aquino loaded the bases on walks. It was Hoffman's major league debut.

Davis worked Hoffman to a full count, then struck out swinging.

Hoffman, whose brother Glenn played for Boston, the Dodgers and Angels and is now the manager for the Dodgers' double-A club in San Antonio, graduated from Anaheim Savanna High School and played baseball at Cypress College.

The Dodgers scored in the second inning when Tim Wallach led off with a line drive to right field and scored on a sacrifice fly by Martinez. The Dodgers scored twice during the third inning, with Davis scoring on a sacrifice fly by Eric Karros and Wallach scoring on a double by Piazza.

Mitch Webster pinch-hit for Martinez to lead off the seventh inning and singled to right field. Webster moved to second on a groundout by Jose Offerman. Lachemann replaced starter Jack Armstrong with left-handed reliever Bob McClure to pitch to Brett Butler, who hit an opposite-field double to score Webster.

"We hit some balls hard that were caught but we have to do better," Lasorda said. "We have to get some more runs."

Los Angeles Times Articles