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Angels' Ortiz Does the Job Solo

Baseball: He gives up four hits to Dodgers, all solo homers, and Anaheim wins, 8-4. Ishii gets knocked out early.

June 15, 2002|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Southern California sports fans received a rare treat Friday night, a meaningful June game that wasn't dressed in Laker purple and gold. This one, for a change, wore Dodger blue and Angel ... let's see, what color is it again this year? Oh yeah, red.

Bright red. A Big-Red-Machine kind of red. A circle-the-bases-until-your-eyes-are-bloodshot kind of red, which is what the Dodgers were seeing during an 8-4 interleague loss to the Angels before 51,722 in Dodger Stadium.

Angel right-hander Ramon Ortiz gave up four solo home runs, increasing his major league-total to 22 homers allowed--18 of them solo--but those were the only hits he gave up in a complete-game, eight-strikeout, one-walk performance that improved his record to 7-5 and pushed his complete-game total to three.

The Angels, who improved to 33-11 over the last 44 games, remained a game behind first-place Seattle in the American League West, while the Dodgers remained a game behind Arizona in the National League West.

"There are a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame who have given up a ton of solo home runs," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said. "So we're not concerned."

There was reason for the Dodgers to be concerned about starter Kazuhisa Ishii. The Angels rocked the Japanese left-hander for six runs on seven hits in three innings, handing him his second loss, and Ishii (10-2) didn't help himself by committing a crucial error in the third, walking four and throwing two wild pitches that allowed two runs to score.

Manager Jim Tracy has given Ishii a long leash, because Ishii has a knack for escaping jams, but he pulled his starter with no outs in the fourth, Ishii's shortest outing of the season.

"I did not see anything to make me inclined to think he would get through tonight," Tracy said. "His command was erratic, and things unraveled following his double-play feed to second base .... They took advantage of a couple situations that we created for them."

Ishii had a 1-0 lead, thanks to Eric Karros' home run to left field in the second, but he made a mess of things in the third and fourth. After Darin Erstad singled and Troy Glaus was hit by a pitch to open the third, Anderson hit a potential double-play ball back to the mound. Ishii threw low to second and the Angels had the bases loaded.

Ishii then bounced a ball past catcher Paul Lo Duca for a wild pitch, allowing Erstad to score. Ishii broke Tim Salmon's bat with a pitch, but Salmon got enough of it to ground a two-run single up the middle for a 3-1 lead.

David Eckstein walked to open the Angel fourth, and Erstad, who is batting .364 (36 for 99) on the road, laced his third single of the game to right-center, advancing Eckstein to third.

Ishii then threw a pitch that was so wild it bounced past Lo Duca and into the sixth row of seats next to the Dodger dugout, allowing Eckstein to score for 4-1 lead. Glaus singled to right, Erstad stopping at third, and Tracy yanked Ishii for Guillermo Mota. Anderson's sacrifice fly made it 5-1, and Bengie Molina capped the rally with an RBI single for a 6-1 lead.

Anderson's team-leading 14th home run, a towering shot to center, made it 7-1 in the sixth before Alex Cora and Shawn Green homered in the sixth, making it 7-3. Salmon doubled and scored on Terry Mulholland's wild pitch for an Angel insurance run in the ninth, and Green hit his 18th homer of the season to left-center in the bottom of the ninth.

The Dodgers survived a scary moment in the sixth, when four players--three Dodgers and one Angel--collided on Salmon's foul popup toward first.

As Salmon jogged toward first and Karros rushed in, Salmon clipped Karros in the leg and sent the first baseman sprawling. Lo Duca and Mota scrambled for the ball, Lo Duca making the catch while stumbling into his pitcher.

"Eric had the wind knocked out of him," Tracy said. "That was quite a collision. There were a lot of bodies all over the field."

Said Scioscia: "They just clanged like symbols."

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