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Expo Rookie Has Dodgers Waving a White Flag, 7-4 : Baseball: Left fielder drives in all of Montreal's runs as L.A. loses its fifth in a row.

July 25, 1994|MARYANN HUDSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MONTREAL — The Dodgers lost their eighth game in 10 on this trip, this one, 7-4, to Montreal, which completed a sweep of the three-game series with the help of rookie Rondell White, who drove in all the Expo runs on Sunday.

Disparaged and disjointed, the Dodgers boarded a bus to take them away from Olympic Stadium, their dome of despair. Their next stop on this nightmare tour though, will be anything but a rest.

Their fifth consecutive loss cut the Dodgers' lead in the National League West to 1 1/2 games over the San Francisco Giants, setting up a showdown for the division lead when the two teams begin a three-game series tonight at Candlestick Park.

"This is the team that everyone is worried about--if we are to win this thing, we have to go in and beat them," shortstop Rafael Bournigal said.

There are few questions left to ask the Dodgers, who are hitting but not scoring enough, pitching inconsistently, and fumbling plays in the field. They hit three home runs Sunday, but gave up 16 hits to their 10.

"It's . . . baseball," said starter Kevin Gross, who was the victim of some bad breaks and White.

Each time pitching coach Ron Perranoski walked to the mound, the crowd of 34,402 applauded. The Dodgers used five pitchers, with Gross (7-7) departing after four innings, having given up six runs and 11 hits.

The Dodger bullpen held the Expos to one run over the next four innings. White's one-run single in the eighth inning gave him seven RBIs, which tied the league high this season, set by the Dodgers' Cory Snyder against Pittsburgh on April 17. To this Dodger team, that seems like decades ago.

In the 10 games on this trip, the Dodgers have been outscored, 60-40, and out-hit in batting average, .322 to .273. In three of the games, they have stranded 13 or more runners--including 13 on Sunday and 78 overall.

"These games are over, they are in the record book, you can't erase them," Manager Tom Lasorda said. "You just have to think about tomorrow. All the questions of 'What do you expect? What do you hope? What will you do?' They all have the same answer. We have to go out and win, and we haven't done that."

The frustration was demonstrated before the Expos batted in the fourth inning, when third base coach Joe Amalfitano was ejected for disputing a call by first base umpire Larry Vanover. Amalfitano, known for his even demeanor on the field, thought a ball hit by Cliff Floyd was fair, and Eric Karros fielded it for an out. But it was ruled foul, and Floyd went on to single before White hit a three-run homer, his first home run this season.

Amalfitano said that play alone wasn't the source of his anger.

"It's a lot of things," he said. "Certain things happen over a period of a game, or games, that maybe build up and you look up and see something, and it goes."

Lasorda tried to change his team's momentum by replacing first base coach Reggie Smith with bench coach Bill Russell to start the game. Lasorda coached third base after Amalfitano was ejected.

The strategy appeared to work at first, when Brett Butler, who was three for five, led off the game with a single and scored on a double-play ground out by Tim Wallach. Karros, who had not hit a home run in 145 at-bats, teamed with Mitch Webster for back-to-back homers in the fourth. Both solo shots came against Kirk Rueter (6-2), cutting the deficit to 4-3.

But White, who was four for five in the game, doubled in two more runs in the fifth, chasing Gross.

Chris Gwynn hit a solo home run in the ninth, his second pinch-hit home run, but Expo reliever John Wetteland went on to his 18th save.

Tonight, the Dodgers will face former teammate Darryl Strawberry, who has said the Dodgers have already "been caught."

"It's the Giants we're playing, not an individual, or a particular guy," Wallach said.

Rondell on a Roll

Montreal rookie Rondell White, who was batting .255 with no home runds and four RBIs in 51 at-bats before Sunday, went four for five ansd drove in all of the Expos' runds in a 7-4 victory over the Dodgers. His at-bats:

First inning: Singled against pitcher Kevin Gross' foot to score Juan Bell. Third inning: Hit a three-run home run against Gross. Fifth inning: Doubled against Gross to score Darren Fletcher and Cliff Floyd. Sixth inning: Struckk out with bases loaded against Roger McDowell. Eight inning: Singled against Jim Gott to score Moises Alou.

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