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Dodgers Come Back, Beat Braves, 5-4 : Baseball: Strawberry works out but isn't activated until after the game. Snyder, his replacement, remains hot.


How's this one? Darryl Strawberry, who returned from his Albuquerque rehabilitation assignment, spent Friday at Dodger Stadium being examined by a doctor, a trainer and taking batting practice under the watchful eye of Manager Tom Lasorda.

The reports were all good; great, in fact. But even after Lasorda met with Strawberry and Fred Claire, the Dodgers' executive vice president, they didn't activate Strawberry until after their 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

"I just finished meeting with him, and it's a quarter to seven," Lasorda said when asked why he didn't immediately reinstate the right fielder, who has been on the the disabled list since May 13 to rehabilitate his surgically repaired back.

This is a team that, for the past three seasons, has bet the franchise on Strawberry, the highest-paid player on the team. A team that has been waiting since early last season for Strawberry's back to get strong; a team that has been hovering over him all spring training, hoping his surgically repaired back was healed.

A fourth-place team that got there by beating sub-par and mediocre teams, that was about to open a three-game series against the Braves, who most still believe will win the National League pennant, if not the World Series.

And the Dodgers didn't have time to activate him?

That's right.

And once again, the team showed why. Winners of their last 14 of 16 games, the team rallied from a 4-0 deficit against Tom Glavine to score three runs during the fifth inning and two more during the sixth and win before 46,566 at Dodger Stadium.

Two of those runs were scored by Strawberry's replacement in right field, Cory Snyder, who also went two for three and increased his batting average to .324.

Snyder is a big reason why the Dodgers, who had only to notify the league office before the first pitch, weren't in a hurry.

"I respect the job that Cory Snyder has done and I don't want to interfere with that," Strawberry said. "But we talked tonight and Tommy told me that they would work me back into playing slowly. They want me back out there, so that is a good sign."

Strawberry has never been in a position before of trying to win back his job or win a job. But he said he understands it. "The team is going well and if that is the way they want to keep it I don't want to interfere with that. . . . I'll play again. I'll take a back seat. Eventually my time will come again."

The Dodgers showed again in the sixth inning why they have been so successful. Trailing, 4-3, Tim Wallach hit a one-out single to left field, moved to second on a towering fly ball to center by Mike Piazza. Snyder, who had singled his last two at-bats, worked Glavine for a walk before Eric Karros followed with a two-run double to right field to take a 5-4 lead.

The rally got Ramon Martinez (5-3) off the hook, and when his brother, Pedro relieved him to start the seventh inning, Martinez had given up four runs, three earned, on five hits. Martinez pitched two scoreless innings, helped in a big way by Piazza, who threw out Greg Olson trying to steal second base to end the eighth inning, the second baserunner he threw out in the the game.

Jim Gott pitched the ninth inning for his seventh save.

The Dodgers also knocked out Glavine (7-2) during the seventh inning, when the Dodgers had runners on first and second with one out. Glavine gave up five runs, four earned and nine hits, including a solo home run by Piazza before being relieved by Greg McMichael.

From the onset of the game it seemed as if Martinez did not have his best stuff, or, at least, needed a little time to settle down. And by the time he started pitching well, in the fourth inning, the Braves were up, 4-0.

Martinez was shakiest in the third inning, when he gave up back-to-back singles and then walked the next two batters to walk in a run. Olson added a two-run single to center.

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