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Perez Cries Foul, but Ball Is Called Fair : Baseball: Montreal pitcher is ejected and bumps umpire Hohn after Mondesi's homer. Dodgers win, 7-4, in 11 innings.

August 23, 1995|BOB NIGHTENGALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MONTREAL — The Dodgers say the ball clearly was fair.

The Montreal Expos angrily insist it was foul.

All that mattered was that third-base umpire Bill Hohn agreed with the Dodgers, which helped them beat the Montreal Expos, 7-4, in 11 innings in front of an irate paid crowd of 16,057 at Olympic Stadium.

The victory, triggered by Eric Karros' two-out, run-scoring single in the 11th, followed by a two-run single by Roberto Kelly, enabled the Dodgers (58-51) to move to 1 1/2 games in front of the second-place Colorado Rockies.

Yet, more than Mike Piazza's two home runs, Karros' game-winning hit and closer Todd Worrell's victory, Hohn's call provided the difference and left both teams debating the incident into the night.

The controversy stemmed from Raul Mondesi's fifth-inning home run, deep into the left-field seats off Expo starter Carlos Perez, which gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

If the ball had been called foul, the Expos might have won in nine innings. Hohn declared it fair, eventually leaving Montreal with a defeat and Perez facing a suspension.

"Everybody knows it was foul," Expo Manager Felipe Alou said. "That's ridiculous. That shouldn't happen in the major leagues."

Yet, while Alou was boisterous after the game, he remained calm during it. But his pitcher, Perez, lost his cool.

Perez, who had already given up Piazza's second home run in the fifth, threw a fastball Mondesi crushed.

Mondesi stood at the plate watching it. Perez stood on the mound watching it. When they saw it land, Perez breathed a sigh of relief and Mondesi headed back to the plate.

Then Mondesi saw Hohn twirl his hands above his head, signaling a home run.

Perez went ballistic. He charged off the mound toward Hohn, screaming all of the way, and bumped into him. Hohn immediately ejected Perez. Perez, further incited, took a step back and threw a block into Hohn as if he were a blocking sled on a football field.

"I lost my temper, what can I say?" Perez said. "Believe me, I didn't want to do that. It's the first time in my career I even got ejected.

"But it was foul. I know it was a foul ball. Even Mondesi knew it was a foul ball because he was walking back to the plate."

Said Mondesi: "Hey, I couldn't tell whether that ball was fair or foul. I hit it about 500 feet. I couldn't see it.

"Carlos, man, he went crazy. He's a crazy guy, anyway, but he really went crazy."

Said Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda, whose team won consecutive games at Olympic Stadium for the first time since May 19-May 20, 1989: "It's been a long, long time since I've seen someone bump an umpire like that. That ball was fair."

Perez should have a while to think about it. He said he fully expects to be suspended, and Hohn readily agreed.

"It was fair the whole way and landed fair, about 70 rows back," Hohn said. "There was no question about it. When I made my call and saw [Perez] coming at me, I pointed toward him. 'Stay back. Don't come over.' But he kept coming.

"I know he was upset. He gave up one that just about left the stadium, but that doesn't give him any reason to bump an umpire."

Said Karros: "I was just happy to get him out of the game. He can do whatever he wants--get him out of there."

The Dodgers, who blew the 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning before tying the game in the sixth, couldn't muster a thing for the next four innings. They managed only three singles after the sixth inning and no runner reached second base.

They also were quickly running out of players. Pedro Astacio entered the game in the second inning after starter Kevin Tapani suffered a strained left quadriceps muscle in the first while running off the mound after a wild pitch. Tapani should be able to make his next start, therapist Pat Screnar said.

Several moves throughout the game left backup catcher Carlos Hernandez as the only position player on the bench. Rudy Seanez was the only reliever available.

Worrell came into the game in the 10th inning to bail the Dodgers out of a bases-loaded jam.

In the 11th, Chad Fonville hit a two-out single to left off reliever Willie Fraser. Fraser's wild pitch advanced Fonville to second. Piazza was walked intentionally to get to Karros.

Karros, in a two-for-23 slump, slapped a pitch up the middle that scored Fonville. Fraser then hit Mondesi, loading the bases, and Kelly put the game away with his two-run single.

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