Fernando Bags a Victory Over Pittsburgh, 2-1 : Pirates Help Dodgers Score Both Runs on Giveaway Night
Fernando Valenzuela, who knows something about drawing a crowd, had 50,401 witnesses to his 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
It mattered little that a giveaway sports bag, and not the Dodger left-hander, was the main attraction for many of those people.
Valenzuela still gave them what they’ve come to take for granted--a complete-game, six-hitter for his third victory in four decisions this season.
It’s the kind of game the Dodgers need more than ever, now that Bill Madlock has followed Pedro Guerrero onto the Dodger disabled list. Madlock, who already had missed 10 of the first 20 Dodger games, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle in his left hip.
The Dodgers, who have spent a month improvising an offense, continued to do so Monday. They managed just four hits off Pirate rookie Bob Kipper and reliever Jim Winn, but scored on a balk and an error.
But that was enough for Valenzuela, who shut out the Pirates for seven innings before ex-Dodger Sid Bream doubled to open the eighth and scored on two infield outs.
“Most of the time we’ve beaten ourselves,” said Enos Cabell, whose .138 average filled the No. 3 spot normally occupied by Madlock Monday night.
“We haven’t played good defense in back of our pitchers. I think we’re starting to play like we did at the end of last year.”
The Dodgers did not make an error in a crisp performance Monday night. Mariano Duncan took a hit away from ex-Angel Mike Brown in the second with a lunging stop, a 360-degree spin and a strong throw.
A Pirate threat in the seventh was quelled when third baseman Dave Anderson cut off Tony Pena’s bouncer, tagged Johnny Ray, who was running from second, and threw to first for a double play.
And in the eighth, 36-year-old Cabell made like Mary Lou Retton, doing the splits to reach Duncan’s throw on pinch-hitter Lee Mazzilli’s infield out.
Cabell also stole second with a head-first dive and scored on a bloop single by Mike Marshall, who had struck out his first two times up, once with the bases loaded.
“I can’t steal bases like I used to,” Cabell said. “I used to average 35, 40 a season, but that was 10 years ago.
“Older players like me can steal bases in certain situations. I can sneak one out there.”
Cabell stole second right after Kipper had picked off Duncan.
Kipper, who had been hammered by the Mets, 7-1, in his only previous start this season, limited the Dodgers to four hits. He nearly pitched out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the fourth before committing a balk.
“He threw the ball well,” Cabell said of the 21-year-old left-hander. “He’s got a good arm. The Angels could use him.”
The Angels gave Kipper up last season in a trade for John Candelaria, who is currently on the disabled list.
And the Dodgers have used Valenzuela to the maximum this season. He struck out eight and walked just one, leadoff batter Reynolds, in his first start since throwing a career-high 163 pitches last week against the Giants.
“He threw 125 pitches tonight,” pitching coach Ron Perranoski said. “How many did I want him to throw? Twenty-seven.”
Former Dodger Reynolds is one of the reasons the Pirates, 100-game losers last season, are off to a respectable 6-8 start this season. This was his first look from the other side at Valenzuela.
“The only time I’d faced him was during the winter at Dodger Stadium, when all he threw was fastballs,” said Reynolds, who had a single in the eighth off Valenzuela.
“He doesn’t throw the ball over the plate too often. Corners, corners, corners, on the black (of the plate).
“Then they (the umpires) start giving him an inch or two off the plate, and he’s tough.”
Reggie Williams, newly arrived from Albuquerque, was inserted into the starting lineup and was at the plate in the fourth inning when the Dodgers scored their first run.
He barely had settled into the batter’s box, in fact, when plate umpire Jim Quick called a bases-loaded balk on Kipper, bringing home Sax.
Sax, the only Dodger hitting with any consistency, opened the inning by lining a double to the wall in left-center, thus becoming the Dodgers’ first baserunner of the night. It also was Sax’s second extra-base hit of the month after just 13 last season, the lowest total of any big leaguer who qualified for the batting championship.
Sax took third on a wild pitch, and Kipper walked the next two batters, Duncan and Cabell.
But Kipper struck out Marshall with an inside fastball and retired Cesar Cedeno on an infield fly.
But Quick detected Kipper bringing his hands forward slightly and dropping them, a no-no. The balk spared the Dodgers the embarrassment of not scoring at all, as Kipper broke Williams’ bat on a bouncer to short.
Pitcher Dennis Powell is scheduled to undergo surgery to remove bone chips from his left elbow on Friday and is expected to be out at least five weeks, Dr. Frank Jobe said Monday. Powell, who started last Tuesday and lasted five batters in a 10-3 loss to San Francisco, said the elbow became swollen three days later. “I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever,” he said, “but it puffed up.” X-rays showed the presence of at least three bone chips, “the size of a little finger,” in the back of the elbow, according to Jobe . . . With Powell out, the Dodgers are expected to add another pitcher in the next couple of days. Most likely, that pitcher will come from Albuquerque, perhaps Scott May or Balvino Galvez, both right-handers. It’s also possible Dodger Vice President Al Campanis will check the list of big league pitchers released at the start of the season. Former Red pitcher Frank Pastore was signed Sunday by Minnesota, for instance, and the Chicago White Sox recently signed ex-Astro Bill Dawley. For those wondering, Bobby Castillo, released by the Dodgers this spring, is pitching for Monterrey, Mexico.
Bill Madlock, who went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to last Friday, won’t be eligible to play again until May 9, when the Dodgers are in Montreal to play the Expos.
The Dodgers also announced that Alejandro Pena will be sent to Vero Beach for rehabilitation and will pitch his first game Friday against Class A Winter Haven.