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Wallach Greeted in Defeat : Baseball: In third baseman's return to his old ballpark, Expos beat Dodgers, 7-3. Lansing has three doubles, four RBIs.

April 21, 1993|MARYANN HUDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MONTREAL — That he came back to Olympic Stadium with a batting average of only .148 mattered little to the Montreal Expos fans, who welcomed their former third baseman, Tim Wallach, on Tuesday night when he returned as a Dodger.

The cheers began from the crowd of 10,404 as Wallach approached the plate in the second inning. When he stepped into the batters' box, he drew a standing ovation. Wallach stayed put for a moment, but then stepped out, raising his batting helmet in salute.

Then Wallach hit a line drive that looked on its way through the hole between shortstop and third base. But Mike Lansing, the Expos' rookie who is the latest to replace Wallach at third base, leaped and caught it.

"It was a nice feeling and made me feel good. I just wished I could have done something to beat them," Wallach said of the welcome after the Expos beat the Dodgers, 7-3.

The ovation gave Lansing, 25, chills.

"He was such a good third baseman and great ballplayer, and the people here love him," Lansing said. "He has provided so many good memories for the fans, and he can look back and say he was appreciated."

The Expos are looking forward with Lansing, who leads his club with a batting average of .418 and had three doubles and four runs batted in Tuesday. Lansing, a shortstop by trade, made his third start at third base Tuesday after not playing the position since he was 17.

Lansing got to Dodger starter Tom Candiotti (0-2) early, doubling home Delino DeShields in the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Lansing sent Candiotti to the showers in the sixth inning with a two-out double to center field to score Wil Cordero, who had singled, and DeShields, who had walked. The hit put the Expos ahead, 6-0.

Candiotti also gave up a two-run homer to Larry Walker and a solo shot to Cordero.

Expo starter Chris Nabholz (1-0) didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, when Jose Offerman singled to center.

"It always tough here (in the dome at Olympic Stadium). It seems like we were playing underwater," Eric Davis said. "The atmosphere is dead. The way we played is dead. The air here is dead. It's dreary."

Nabholz kept the Dodgers--who were without right fielder Darryl Strawberry--at bay until the eighth inning, when he gave up a double to pinch-hitter Mike Sharperson and a single to Brett Butler.

"He kept his pitches down and was throwing his fastball, change-up and slider for strikes," Sharperson said.

Mel Rojas relieved Nabholz and hit Davis on the wrist to load the bases. Sharperson scored on a ground out by Mike Piazza, and Eric Karros hit a two-run double down the right-field line.

"It's kind of lazy here (in the dome)," Karros said. "We just don't seem to have the adrenaline here that we do in Atlanta or in Florida. There's not a lot of cheering, but then the crowd was only 10,000."

The crowd can boo, though. Some got on Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda after he asked umpire John McSherry in the fourth inning to have the center field neon-colored scoreboard turned off when his team was at bat.

"They kept it lit and it was bothering some of the players," Lasorda said.

"The scoreboard was here last year and didn't bother me, but it can get to some guys if the pitcher is a tall guy like tonight, throwing a curveball," Wallach said.

Someone asked Wallach the difference between the Dodgers' and Expos' clubhouse.

"They won, we lost," Wallach said.

The Expos had planned to replace Wallach at third base with Sean Berry, but Frank Bolick's bat won him the job during spring training.

When DeShields went out with the chicken pox the second game of the season, Lansing replaced him. Bolick made three errors in the fourth game of the season and the job was given to Berry. When DeShields came back, Lansing's bat was too hot to keep out of the lineup.

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