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DODGER-ANGEL REPORT

He Finally Squanders Inheritance

June 23, 2003|Ben Bolch and Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writers

Throw out the statistics. Brendan Donnelly's performance against the Dodgers on Sunday deserves to be included in the highlight reel of what is becoming his breakout season.

Yes, the Angel reliever, who had stranded 16 of 17 inherited runners before Sunday, allowed both runners he inherited in the seventh inning to score. But he allowed the Angels to maintain a lead by stranding Paul Lo Duca at third base and pitched a perfect eighth before handing the ball to closer Troy Percival in a 6-3 victory.

Besides, it wasn't as if the Dodgers scored those two runs in convincing fashion.

Shawn Green drove in Jolbert Cabrera from third base with a groundout to second, and Dave Roberts came home after Angel right fielder Jeff DaVanon misplayed Lo Duca's sinking liner to right into a triple. Donnelly struck out Daryle Ward with Lo Duca at third to end the seventh.

"As long as we win, that's the bottom line," Donnelly said. "I take a lot of pride in stopping the damage and getting those inherited runners.

"Today, a situation happened where a guy scored on an out and the other guy scored on a potential out. It was a play in the outfield where I don't know if the ball was knuckling or whatever and he just whiffed it. He'll tell you he whiffed it, and it happens."

Said DaVanon, whose attempt at a sliding catch came up empty: "I just missed it. I can't say anything other than that."

Angel reliever Ben Weber also contributed to the mini-meltdown by making two errors on the same play. After pinch-hitter Cabrera opened the seventh with an infield single, Roberts hit a soft grounder up the first-base line. Weber raced over to pick it up and tag Roberts, but the ball squirted out of his glove.

"It was an easy play," Weber said. "He was right over me and I think I tried to be a little too quick with it."

Weber picked up the ball and still had time to throw out Roberts, but his throw sailed well wide of first baseman Scott Spiezio.

"I was frustrated," Weber said. "I was like, OK, I still have him out even though I dropped it. Then I didn't know where to throw it because he was right in my line of sight. It almost cost us the game, unfortunately."

Weber's errors put runners at second and third with nobody out for Donnelly.

"As long as we left that inning with the lead," Donnelly said, "we still had a chance to win."

*

Angel second baseman Adam Kennedy, who went three for four and drove in a run, appears to have broken out of his recent slump. He ripped a hit-and-run single to right in the fourth and has five hits in his last eight at-bats after getting only three hits in his previous 30 at-bats.

"That was the hit that got us going," Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said of the single that contributed to a three-run inning.

*

The Dodgers drew 310,379 fans to the six-game home stand, more than they had over any six consecutive home games since at least the start of the 1997 season. The average crowd during the home stand, which included two sellouts, was 51,730. Attendance figures prior to 1997 were not immediately available.

*

As expected, Scioscia gave slumping David Eckstein an opportunity to recharge by starting Benji Gil at shortstop, but Eckstein didn't get the day off. He came into the game as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning and grounded out in his only at-bat, in the eighth. DaVanon, who replaced Eckstein in the leadoff spot, went one for five with a single.

Third baseman Troy Glaus, who didn't start for a second consecutive game because of back spasms, came into the game as a defensive replacement to start the seventh. He struck out in the ninth. Scioscia said he expects all the regulars back in the lineup Tuesday for the opener of a three-game series against Seattle.

*

Andy Ashby has pitched well in his last two starts for the Dodgers, giving up one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of Saturday's 4-2 win over the Angels and two runs and five hits in five innings of a 5-2 win over Cleveland on June 14. But that hasn't earned the right-hander a permanent spot in the rotation.

Manager Jim Tracy plans to use off days Thursday and June 30 to skip Ashby's rotation spot twice, so his next scheduled start won't be until July 5 against Arizona. Tracy, however, reserves the right to plug Ashby back into the rotation if one of his other starters needs an extra day or two of rest. Ashby will be available in long relief for the next week or so.

*

Brian Jordan sat out Sunday's game because of a mild strain of his left ribcage muscle, the latest injury this season for the Dodger left fielder, who has been hit by pitches on both hands, suffered a neck injury diving for a ball in the outfield and still is recovering from off-season surgery on his left knee. Tracy said Jordan should return tonight against San Francisco.

First baseman Fred McGriff sat out his eighth consecutive game because of a right groin strain, but he hopes to return tonight. McGriff took ground balls, batting practice and ran the bases before Sunday's game and said his leg was 80% to 90%.

*

DODGERS ON DECK

Opponent -- San Francisco Giants, three games.

Site -- Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco.

TV -- Channel 13 tonight, Fox Sports Net 2 Tuesday and Wednesday.

Radio -- KFWB (980), KWKW (1330).

Records -- Dodgers 44-30, Giants 44-30.

Record vs. Giants -- 3-6.

Tonight, 7:15 -- Kazuhisa Ishii (7-2, 2.76) vs. Kirk Rueter (7-2, 3.79).

Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. -- Odalis Perez (4-5, 4.53) vs. Jason Schmidt (6-3, 2.43).

Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. -- Hideo Nomo (8-6, 2.55) vs. Damian Moss (7-5, 4.52).

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