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Lasorda's Best Aren't Enough to Beat Braves : Dodgers: His regulars are no match for Glavine as Atlanta wins the third game of the series, 8-2.


Before the series against the Atlanta Braves began, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda told his team that he would play his best players. There would be no trying to play the young kids, he said. The Dodgers might not win the National League West title, but let there be no misunderstanding--he wasn't going to help anybody else win either.

So through the first two games, Lasorda went with his best. But by fifth inning of Wednesday night's game, he changed his philosophy. His best weren't doing anything against Tom Glavine (18-5), who by then had an 8-0 lead on his way to an 8-2 victory.

Why not try the kids? Why not try anybody?

All outfielder Billy Ashley managed to do was to help break up Glavine's shutout by keeping a run-scoring rally going in the fifth inning. But for the Dodgers, it was at least something on a night when they couldn't seem to do much of anything.

For the Braves, there was no need to watch the scoreboard at Dodger Stadium, and not only because the San Francisco Giants were idle. After both teams scored a total of four runs in the previous two games of the series, the Braves pounded starter Ramon Martinez (9-10) for seven hits to take a 6-0 lead after three innings. The Dodgers' two errors during a five-run third inning didn't help, with Eric Karros' error costing his team two runs.

But Martinez, who was coming off of his shortest outing of the season, was just as shaky this time. After he gave up two consecutive singles to lead off the third inning and had thrown three consecutvie balls to Ron Gant, the bullpen got busy.

Glavine, who had a long night waiting on the bench between innings, allowed only one Dodger to reach third base through the first four innings, and that happened with no outs. But he got that jam. The Dodgers managed ten hits off Glavine, one of them a solo home run by Jose Offerman in the sixth inning. For Offerman, it was his first home run in the season and first in 639 at-bats.

The victory gives Glavine, who did not issue a walk, a record 58-24 over the last three seasons. Of greater importance, it moved the Braves to within two games of the Giants, the closest they have been since May 15.

Besides Glavine, this victory was helped by Fred McGriff, who went two for five with two runs scored and two runs batted in. David Justice was one for four with two RBIs. His single to center in the third inning scored two more runs and put him in the National League lead with 104 runs batted in.

There was also Damon Berryhill, who was two for three with three RBIs, including the double that scored McGriff in the second inning and a two-run homer to right-center in the fifth inning that put the Braves ahead, 8-0.

And there must be something about this week of the year that does something to Jeff Blauser. Last season, Blauser hit .619 from Sept. 5-10. Blauser had the game-scoring RBI in Tuesday's game and was three for five and scored a run Wednesday night.

It all was peril to Martinez, whose trouble started when he gave up a lead off single to McGriff in the second inning and then walked Justice. With one out, Damon Berryhill lined a double to center, scoring McGriff and moving Justice to third. Martinez stopped the damage there, getting Rafael Belliard to foul out and Glavine to ground out. But he couldn't stop anything the next inning, when the Braves' offense busted out.

Belliard started at second base in place of Mark Lemke, who is sidelined for two or three days with a sprained knee after a slide by Jody Reed in Tuesday night's game.

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