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A Little Something Extra

Dodgers: Nixon's single in the 10th scores two to give L.A. a come-from-behind victory over A's.

August 30, 1997|CHRIS BAKER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There were no dark circles under Eric Karros' eyes, but Manager Bill Russell thought the first baseman, the only Dodger who has started every game this season, needed a rest.

Russell ordered Karros, who was hitless in four at-bats in Thursday night's victory over the Oakland Athletics, to skip batting practice before Friday night's game against the Athletics.

Karros was a key to the dramatic, 10-inning, 5-4 victory, getting a home run and driving in two runs as the Dodgers extended their winning streak to four games before 43,630 at Dodger Stadium.

With the Dodgers trailing, 4-3, Otis Nixon, who had only 13 hits in 66 at-bats since joining the Dodgers, drove in the winning runs with a two-run, one-out, bases-loaded single in the 10th inning off reliever T.J. Mathews.

Nixon, who also scored the Dodgers' first run, received a standing ovation after he belted Mathews' first pitch into left field with the outfield drawn in.

"I knew they were going to play me in," Nixon said after the Dodgers improved to 8-4 in interleague play. "I didn't go in looking for a breaking ball. I was going to make him throw the ball over the plate."

Ever the workaholic, Karros, who was told to arrive at 6 p.m., showed up in the clubhouse at 5:55. He used the extra time to get his hair trimmed and seemed to benefit from the extra rest.

Karros drilled a leadoff seventh-inning home run off Athletic starter Brad Rigby to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.

But the bullpen let them down, as Scott Radinsky gave up one run in the eighth inning and Antonio Osuna gave up one in the 10th.

Greg Gagne singled to left off Mathews to start the rally in the bottom of the 10th. Darren Lewis tried to bunt Gagne to second, but Mathews threw the ball away, allowing Gagne to advance to third.

After Lewis stole second, pinch-hitter Billy Ashley struck out and Eric Young walked to load the bases before Nixon's two-run single.

Russell thinks the new-look Dodgers, who have acquired Young, Lewis and Nixon for the stretch run, are starting to jell.

"What you're seeing is enthusiasm and electricity," Russell said. "Everybody is really catching on. You see what happens when we have this experience and this speed."

Radinsky, who had given up only six runs on 24 hits over 28 2/3 innings in his last 35 appearances, gave up a two-out eighth-inning home run to rookie shortstop Miguel Tejada, whose fourth-inning mental mistake enabled the Dodgers to score their first run.

Tejada broke the 3-3 tie when singled in a run with one out in the 10th off Osuna.

Osuna, who worked a perfect ninth inning, gave up one-out 10th inning singles to pinch-hitter Dave Magadan, who has hit in seven consecutive at-bats, Mark Bellhorn and Tejada, who drilled a shot through Osuna's legs to score pinch-runner Jason McDonald.

Athletic reliever Billy Taylor shut down the Dodgers in the eighth and ninth innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced.

Dodger starter Ismael Valdes, who was 6-2 in his last nine starts, pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs on three hits in seven innings.

Valdes, who had a 1.54 earned-run average in his last nine starts, gave up a two-out home run to catcher Brent Mayne in the second inning.

Mayne drilled a two-and-two curve into the right-field bullpen for his fourth home run.

Rigby, who was seeking his first major league victory, retired the Dodgers in order for the first three innings before Nixon beat out an infield single with one out in the fourth.

After Mike Piazza's single to center advanced him to third, Nixon scored when Karros flew out to Tejada, who went into shallow center field to make the catch.

Tejada made a rookie mistake by calling off center fielder Ernie Young, who would have had a much better chance to throw out Nixon. However, Tejada made the catch going away from the plate and his throw was to the left of Mayne.

Raul Mondesi drove in Piazza with a two-out double to left to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead.

Valdes gave up the tying run with two outs in the sixth inning when he walked Bellhorn and hit Tejada.

After retiring first baseman Jason Giambi, Valdes gave up the tying run on right fielder Matt Stairs' single to right.

But Valdes struck out left fielder Scott Brosius on a breaking ball to end the inning.

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