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BASEBALL EXTRA | DODGER REPORT : NOTES

Lewis Taken Aback by Astacio Brushback

September 26, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER, JASON REID, MIKE DOWNEY

Colorado starter Pedro Astacio threw two pitches close to Darren Lewis--one near his head--in the fifth inning after Eric Karros and Todd Zeile each hit two-run home runs. Astacio was warned not to throw at Lewis after the first pitch by home plate umpire Larry Vanover.

"That was just because he was struggling against us," Lewis said of Astacio, the former Dodger pitcher traded for second baseman Eric Young.

"He was having a very rough night. To be honest, though, it kind of surprised me."

Astacio, who was charged with eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings, denied throwing at Lewis. However, Young said he has seen that before from Astacio.

"I came up with Pedro [in the Dodger farm system], and I know Pedro has a lot of pride, so I kind of expected him to do that," Young said. "I've seen him do it before in rookie ball.

"It's part of the game, but you don't like to see a ball get near someone's head because that's your career you're talking about."

*

Add Brushback: Zeile said Thursday that San Diego Padre reliever Trevor Hoffman was "bush" to throw at him, but he doesn't hold a grudge and doesn't expect Hoffman to do so either.

The Zeile-Hoffman exchange came in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game at Dodger Stadium, the finale of a drama that bubbled below the surface of a 4-1 Dodger loss.

After San Diego's Joey Hamilton hit two batters, Dodger reliever Scott Radinsky hit San Diego's Tony Gwynn, although Radinsky later denied he had thrown at Gwynn.

Hoffman threw a pitch that was actually caught behind Zeile.

"He wasn't trying to hurt me," Zeile said. "He didn't throw at my head. It was low and behind. If I had backed up, it would have hit me in the thigh. He was trying to send a message."

After Zeile grounded out to end the game, he yelled at Hoffman as he ran by the mound.

"I'm not going to remember it the next time I see him," Zeile said, "and I would be surprised if he did."

*

Although he is hitting .366 and needs eight points to catch Gwynn in their battle for the National League batting title, Colorado Rocky outfielder Larry Walker sat out Thursday's game to rest a sore shoulder and sore knee and generally recuperate in order to make a final run at Gwynn.

Each player has three games left.

*

With three hits, Mike Piazza ran his total to 195, surpassing Ted Simmons (1975) and Joe Torre (1964) for most hits by a catcher in a season.

Simmons and Torre each had 193.

Piazza is now hitting .359 for the season . . . and even better against the Rockies. He is 18 for 37 against Colorado pitching, an average of .486.

TONIGHT'S GAME

DODGERS' ISMAEL VALDES (9-11, 2.71 ERA) vs. ROCKIES' JAMEY WRIGHT

(8-11, 6.16 ERA)

Coors Field, 6 p.m.

TV--Channel 5. Radio--KABC (790), KWKW (1330).

* Update--It's back to scoreboard watching for the Dodgers as they keep one eye on the field and the other on the Giants' game against the San Diego Padres at San Francisco. "If they see us win," Manager Bill Russell said, "hopefully it will put pressure on them." With Todd Zeile and Eric Karros both reaching the 30-homer mark Thursday, the Dodgers need two home runs from Raul Mondesi to become the second Dodger team to have four players hit 30. The first was the 1977 squad. Wright will be trying to beat the Dodgers for the second time in a week.

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