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Dodgers Weather the Storm, Then Show a Little Thunder in Beating Braves, 7-2

Times Staff Writer

It was another rainy night/day in Georgia, but not so rainy they couldn’t play baseball. The rains, preceded by tornado watches in central Georgia and the usual precursors of summer storms (see: thunder, lightning), were not enough to stop the Dodgers, although the Braves, once more, could not keep their heads above water.

The Dodgers, beginning a nine-game road trip, went a game over the .500 mark with a 7-2 victory over the struggling Braves, who are still struggling to stay out of last place in the National League West.

The game actually extended into this morning, Atlanta time, when a three-hour cloudburst interrupted play. Amazingly, all the participants and even some of the fans weathered the delay, prompted by a hard rain. The only fun until the game was reconvened was provided by a pair of youths who couldn’t resist sliding into second base on the Braves’ rain-slicked blue tarp. But they, unlike the Braves, were not allowed to stay.

As for the game--there was little baseball relative to the waiting--the Dodgers got the expected pitching from starter Jerry Reuss and the unexpected hitting from some regulars, who contributed three home runs. And this time, the Braves made all the errors.

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But as there was more rain than baseball, let’s start with that.

For nearly three hours they talked about the weather but, of course, nobody did anything about it. Instead, crew chief Billy Williams deferred a decision on the game until after midnight. By then, the tornado watch was over, and the lightning and rains had stopped. And most of the 24,612 who had paid to get into Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium had long since left.

It was, officially, a rain delay of 2:52, coming after 4 1/2 innings of baseball--and three outs shy of an official game. This, of course, was on top of a 32-minute delay before the game, in a city that was both wind-swept and water-logged.

In between rain delays, the Dodgers mounted a 3-1 lead, fashioned on a couple of Brave errors. The only earned run the Dodgers scored up to the first real downpour was a solo home run by Mike Scioscia in the fifth inning off Brave starter Steve Bedrosian.

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Other Dodger runs were tainted. Steve Sax had gotten into scoring on the pitcher’s throwing error. Dave Anderson scored when right fielder Brad Komminsk bobbled Sax’s single.

The Braves meanwhile were unable to cool Reuss until the rains came. The only run off him Friday night came when Komminsk tripled to center, inches over a baffled Pedro Guerrero. Either the wind caught the fly or Guerrero lost it in the humidity. Komminsk later scored on Dale Murphy’s ground ball.

But Reuss’ momentum was stalled by the rain delay. Although he came out to start this morning’s phase of the game, he gave up doubles to Larry Owen and Rafael Ramirez. Reuss would not get the win, but he would not get the loss either, as Tom Niedenfuer came in to get him off the hook with two quick strikeouts.

If the Dodgers’ pitching had cooled during the interim, the hitting had only warmed up. The Dodgers scored two runs off reliever Rick Camp immediately after the restart, when Camp walked three of the first four batters he faced, and Mike Marshall and Scioscia followed with RBI singles.

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Then, in the eighth inning, facing Steve Schuler, Guerrero and Greg Brock hit back-to-back home runs. Those home runs, the seventh for each, gave the Dodgers a total of seven runs, their second-highest output of the season. It was only the second time the Dodgers had hit as many as three home runs in a game.

Dodger Notes

Dodger pitcher Jerry Reuss went over the 3,000-inning mark Friday night, ultimately reaching 3,003 when he was pulled in the fifth inning. . . . Al Oliver, on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring, was reactivated Friday. Sid Bream was optioned to Albuquerque to make room for Oliver. . . . Steve Sax had several misadventures on the basepaths. In the first inning, rounding second, he slipped and fell and had to return to second. He scored anyway after a sacrifice bunt and Ken Landreaux’s sacrifice fly. In the third, he was caught in a rundown between first and second. . . . Pitching matchup: the Dodgers’ Orel Hershiser (5-0) vs. Rick Mahler (8-5) today.


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