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DODGER REPORT

Offense Shows Its Versatility

June 23, 2002|Mike DiGiovanna

The Dodgers used the long ball and some little ball to defeat the Red Sox, 5-4, on Saturday, erasing a 3-0 fourth-inning deficit to move a season-high 17 games over .500 and clinch their eighth consecutive series victory.

Shawn Green blasted his 22nd home run in the fourth inning, a two-run shot off Boston starter Derek Lowe that traveled an estimated 446 feet to right field and extended his monthlong hot streak.

Since May 21, Green leads major leaguers with 19 home runs, and in his last 29 games, the right fielder is batting .376 (41 for 109) with 19 homers and 37 runs batted in.

Second baseman Alex Cora doubled to lead off the fifth and tested Boston left fielder Rickey Henderson's arm on Cesar Izturis' ensuing single. Though Henderson got to the ball before Cora rounded third, his throw was wide of home plate and Cora scored the tying run.

Izturis alertly took second on the throw and, after Omar Daal's sacrifice bunt, he scored the go-ahead run on Dave Roberts' infield single. The Dodgers made it 5-3 in the sixth when Green walked, took third on Eric Karros' hit-and-run single and scored on Marquis Grissom's fielder's choice.

"Our base-running today was as good as it's been all year," Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said. "We were looking to take the extra base, we went from first to third. I'm very pleased with the way our team is playing baseball."

*

Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek was ejected in the third inning after arguing umpire Kerwin Danley's ruling that he ran too far inside the first-base line on a slow roller toward the mound.

Cora, who lost his starting shortstop job to Izturis in spring training but is batting .324 with two homers, three triples, five doubles and 12 runs in a reserve role, replaced Grudzielanek and played a significant part in the victory.

"He could have put his head in the sand, been disappointed and handled the situation differently [when he lost his job]," Tracy said of Cora. "Instead, he did the correct thing--he handled it like a consummate professional. I respect that, and his teammates respect that, and he's come up huge whenever he's called upon."

*

Dodger right-hander Darren Dreifort, who is rehabilitating from his second elbow reconstruction surgery, is scheduled to throw live batting practice Tuesday. Dreifort has been throwing in the bullpen for about a month, and he extended himself to 67 pitches during Friday's session.

*

The Dodgers have signed second-round pick Zachary Hammes, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound high school pitcher from Iowa, to a $750,000 bonus. Hammes, a right-hander whose fastball has been clocked in the 94-mph range, will report to the Dodgers' rookie-league team in Vero Beach, Fla.

TODAY

DODGERS'

ANDY ASHBY

(6-6, 2.82 ERA)

vs.

RED SOX'S

ROLANDO ARROJO

(4-1, 2.88 ERA)

Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m.

TV--Channel 13. Radio--KXTA (1150), KWKW (1330).

Update--Though his record may not reflect it, Ashby has been one of the team's most consistent starting pitchers since early May, giving up only 11 earned runs in 55 2/3 innings of his last seven starts for a 1.78 ERA. Ashby went 4-3 in those games, with the Dodgers scoring a total of three runs in the losses. Dodger right fielder Shawn Green has a .385 career average (5 for 13) with two homers against Arrojo, the Red Sox right-hander.

Tickets--(213) 224-1448.

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