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Dodgers Stir It Up on the Field

Baseball: Hansen launches three-run rally in ninth with pinch-hit home run and L.A. defeats Chicago, 8-6.


CHICAGO — The Dodgers returned to Wrigley Field but stayed out of the stands this time.

They scored three runs in the ninth inning Wednesday afternoon--after squandering a 5-0 lead--and rallied for an 8-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs less than 24 hours after battling fans in a stunning altercation.

Pinch-hitter Dave Hansen's leadoff home run--his eighth career pinch-hit homer and second this season--against Cub closer Rick Aguilera tied the score at 6-6, and Eric Karros and Adrian Beltre added run-scoring singles against Felix Heredia. Jeff Shaw capped an emotional two days for the Dodgers with his second save in as many games and 10th overall.

Shaw pitched a perfect ninth, retiring former Dodger Eric Young on a grounder to end another wild game. Reliever Alan Mills (2-1) worked two-thirds of an inning to win his second game in the series, after starter Darren Dreifort jammed his right knee sliding into third base in the fourth.

The Dodgers had more excitement during a ninth-inning altercation Tuesday that ended with players and coaches battling fans and is expected to result in fines and suspensions. But they enjoyed Wednesday's peaceful ending more.

"We knew when we came in here today we were going to face a lot of chaos," said Gary Sheffield, who walked in the ninth and scored the game's final run on Beltre's hit. "We all talked about it, with everything that went on out there [Tuesday], we just had to deal with it [media and fan scrutiny].

"But we couldn't let anything distract us from doing what we came here to do: play baseball. We kind of felt like our hands would be full today, and we still got the job done. It was an important win here. It was probably the biggest game of the year for us."

The Dodgers had more than the usual to contend with after players and coaches fought fans in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 6-5 victory.

A fan allegedly struck catcher Chad Kreuter in the head and took his cap while he sat in the uncovered visitors' dugout along the right-field line. The Dodgers responded, sparking a strange scene that delayed play for nine minutes.

The Cubs increased security in the bullpen and stands Wednesday, and the Dodgers didn't have any problems with the crowd of 30,235. The commissioner's office is investigating Tuesday's incident.

But the Dodgers weren't worried about that after improving to 4-4 on the 12-game, 14-day trip.

"We turned the page [on the altercation]," said Manager Davey Johnson, whose team improved to 21-17. "This ballclub is close, and it's starting to feel better and better about itself. I'm proud of the way we handled [Wednesday's game], and it shows we're growing together."

The Dodgers took a 5-0 lead in the fourth on Sheffield's two-run single, Beltre's run-scoring single and Dreifort's run-scoring double. Sammy Sosa's error on Dreifort's double enabled another run to score, and Dreifort slid awkwardly into third.

The right-hander struggled after the play. The Cubs scored four runs in the fourth and took a 6-5 lead in the fifth while chasing Dreifort, who pitched a two-hit shutout in his previous start.

Dreifort worked 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and six runs.

"I asked him three times and he said he was fine, but he obviously wasn't," Johnson said. "He said it was getting better, but it [Dreifort's knee] obviously affected his rhythm and [command]."

Dreifort downplayed the situation, saying he will make his next scheduled start Monday against the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium.

"It's all coincidental, it was just bad pitches," Dreifort said of his problems after sliding. "It was stupid even going to third. There are only three words for that--stupid, stupid, stupid."

The Cubs' bullpen made Dreifort and the Dodgers feel better. The beleaguered group's 7.45 earned-run average is the worst in the National League, and the Dodgers provided another bad memory for Cub fans.

As if they hadn't done enough already.

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