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Worrell Gift Is to Wrong Team

Baseball: He gives up two runs in 10th as Dodgers lose, 3-1, on Candiotti's birthday.

September 01, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tom Candiotti turned 40 Sunday. But it was a bittersweet day.

Bitter because closer Todd Worrell blew out the candles on Candiotti's cake by blowing any chance of a Dodger victory, surrendering two runs in the 10th inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 3-1 victory in front of a disappointed Dodger Stadium sellout crowd of 54,213, largest of the year.

Sweet because Candiotti turned in his third consecutive excellent performance, giving up only one run on four hits in eight innings, Ken Griffey picking on a first-inning cut fastball for his major league-leading 44th home run.

The Angels, however, took care of damage control for themselves and the Dodgers by defeating the Giants in San Francisco, 7-4. That allowed the Dodgers to hold on to their 2 1/2-game lead in the National League West while enabling the Angels to remain a game back of the Mariners in the American League West.

For 6 1/3 innings, Seattle left-hander Jamie Moyer was the story, holding the Dodgers, winners of five in a row and 12 of 14, hitless.

Moving the ball in and out, up and down, everywhere but where the Dodgers could get to it, Moyer gave up only two walks, one to Mike Piazza and one to Eric Karros.

"He's real deceptive," Piazza said of Moyer, who is 14-4, his victory total only three fewer than that of Mariner ace Randy Johnson. "He cuts the ball, sinks the ball, and has that little yo-yo type change. He keeps you off balance. You'd almost rather face Randy Johnson. At least he comes at you with the hard stuff."

Moyer claimed he didn't even know he was working on a no-hitter until he looked up at the scoreboard in the fifth inning and saw a nice, round zero in the Dodger hit column.

"This was a normal game for me," Moyer said. "This is a team with swingers who can put the ball in play, but today, they hit it right at people."

Until the seventh.

With one out, Karros hit a grounder that barely eluded Seattle third baseman Andy Sheets. Shortstop Alex Rodriguez gloved the ball deep in the hole and launched a throw that arrived at first a blink of an eye after Karros had crossed the bag.

In the ninth, it was again Karros frustrating Moyer, this time denying him a victory. With Seattle relief pitcher Mike Timlin on the mound, the Dodgers and Karros were down to their last two strikes, the Dodger first baseman facing a 2-1 pitch with two out and the bases empty.

An instant later, Mariner left fielder Roberto Kelly was facing the seats, watching a Karros blast disappear over the wall to tie the score.

It was Karros' 28th home run of the season and his 10th in interleague play, a total that leads the majors.

Karros had no explanation for his ability to batter American League pitching.

"I'm going to get my 30 [home runs] a year," he said, "whether it's April or now or whenever."

Dodger Manager Bill Russell had brought Worrell on to pitch the ninth and he was flawless, retiring all three men he faced.

Worrell has looked like that a lot this year, recording 33 saves.

Unfortunately for the Dodgers, he has also looked like he did in the 10th far too often for comfort for a team heading into the crucial part of the season.

Worrell gave up a leadoff single to Rodriguez, who stole second. Worrell then walked Buhner. Rodriguez appeared to be caught off the bag, but Piazza's throw to second hit the Mariner shortstop in the back for an error that allowed both runners to advance.

Seattle catcher Dave Wilson singled home one run. With Scott Radinsky on the mound for the Dodgers, pinch-hitter Rich Amaral sent the other run in with a sacrifice fly to right.

Worrell took the loss, dropping his record to 2-5 and inflating his team-high earned-run average to 5.33. He has also blown eight save opportunities. But Russell defended him afterward.

"Gosh, he saved 33," the Dodger manager said. "If you don't throw the pitches right and you don't make good pitches, they are going to hit you.

"Todd is going to be out there again. Pitchers go through slumps. He has won a lot and saved a lot, but pitchers go through bad spells. We've got a month to go. You can be sure you'll see him again."

And, if he continues to struggle, you can be sure Russell will be asked if he sees any other options.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Worrell's Woes in August

Appearances: 12 Saves: 6

Blown saves: 3

Record: 1-3

ERA: 7.15

Home runs allowed: 5

Dodgers in August: 19-11

OTHER DODGER RELIEVERS' ERA IN AUGUST

* Darren Hall: 1.00

* Antonio Osuna: 1.15

* Darren Dreifort: 1.45

* Mark Guthrie: 2.25

* Scott Radinsky: 2.61

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