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Patchwork Lineup Is All Dodgers Need, 6-3

April 27, 2001|PAUL GUTIERREZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Twice within a span of about 90 minutes Thursday, Jim Tracy had to retreat to "the laboratory," his office in the bowels of Dodger Stadium, to rewrite his lineup card.

First, the Dodger Manager had to scratch Gary Sheffield from the starting lineup after the left-fielder showed up at the ballpark with a swollen left index finger, injured the night before.

Then, after batting practice, Tracy had to scratch third baseman Chris Donnels, still suffering from a stiff neck, tweaked diving for a ball over the weekend..

"Back to the laboratory," Tracy said.

Tracy concocted a winning formula with the two replacements, Marquis Grissom and Jeff Reboulet, playing key roles in the Dodgers' 6-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in front of 24,143.

Grissom had a run-scoring single and scored a run while Reboulet was two for two with a double, two walks, two runs scored and an RBI.

"That's what the job is," Reboulet said, "to step in there and not miss a beat. It's not always easy when you're not playing [every day]."

Said Tracy: "There was nothing [Reboulet] didn't do right. . . . You can't do much more than he did tonight."

Dodger starter Kevin Brown, meanwhile, was his usual steady self in getting the victory, despite experiencing stiffness in his lower back for the second consecutive start.

Brown (3-1) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked two in 99 pitches, 66 strikes. He also picked off two runners at first base, Abraham Nunez in the third and Emil Brown in the sixth. Both were inning-ending pickoffs.

"I'm just crossing my fingers, hoping the stars line up and I get healthy," Brown said. "There might have been some smoke and mirrors involved.

"I'm pleased with the results, I just would love to feel good. I'd love to feel good and have the results."

Tracy had nothing but praise for Brown.

"We had a great performance by the ace of our staff," Tracy said. "Nothing he does surprises me because of who he is and what he's all about."

Dodger setup man Gregg Olson threw an inning of shutout ball before closer Jeff Shaw made it interesting by giving up two ninth-inning runs.

Pirate starter Todd Ritchie (0-3) took the loss after giving up six runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three.

For the second consecutive night, the Dodgers used a big inning to get the victory. This time, it was in the sixth when the Dodgers, who took two of three from the Pirates, broke a tie with a five-run, 10-batter inning against Ritchie.

Tom Goodwin walked to lead off the inning and promptly stole second, his team-leading fourth steal. Reboulet then singled to right, scoring Goodwin. Shawn Green followed with a single to put runners at first and second before Eric Karros lined to third. Hiram Bocachica then singled to score Reboulet before Grissom singled up the middle on a hit-and-run play, scoring Green. Chad Kreuter padded the Dodger lead with an infield single that scored Bocachica.

The final Dodger run was provided by Alex Cora, whose base hit to right field scored Grissom.

The Dodgers gave Brown a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Reboulet, who started at second with Bocachica moving to third in place of Donnels, drew a one-out walk before Green doubled into the left-center gap. Reboulet scored from first, giving Green his team-leading 17th run batted in.

The Pirates tied the score in the fourth. Jason Kendall led off the inning with a ground-rule double down the left-field line, the ball bouncing into the seats. Three batters later, Brian Giles singled up the middle, allowing Kendall to score.

The Pirates got two runs back off Shaw when Emil Brown hit his second home run, a lead-off solo shot over the wall in left-center field. John Vander Wal then doubled into the right-field corner and went to third on Green's fielding error before scoring on Giles' ground out.

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