Brock, Stubbs Provide Fireworks in 11-4 Win; Fernando Does the Rest
By Tom Lasorda’s reckoning, the Dodgers staged an old-fashioned Fourth of July picnic a month early Tuesday night.
They ran around in the sun with their shirts off, brought along some food, and then went out and played some ball against the local neighborhood nine, the Phillies, the hottest team they could find.
And, with Greg Brock and Franklin Stubbs providing the fireworks and Fernando Valenzuela striking out batters to a mariachi beat, the Dodgers enjoyed a rare holiday from their recent woes by pounding the Phillies, 11-4, ending Philadelphia’s seven-game winning streak, which included a 13-2 beating of the Dodgers the night before.
“It was kind of like a family reunion, an old-fashioned get-together,” said Lasorda, who had ordered a workout for his team more than six hours before the game was scheduled to start.
“I wanted to see how the guys felt. The barbecue was good, I brought some Italian food, we did some reminiscing and a little dancing.”
Actually, it wasn’t quite that festive. After the team went through what amounted to little more than an extended batting practice, players sat around watching TV or playing cards, waiting for the game to begin.
But when it did, they responded by scoring in each of the first six innings en route to their most runs of the season. Brock hit two home runs, including a three-run homer in the first--off Phillie starter Mike Maddux making his big league debut--that staked Valenzuela to a 4-0 lead.
Stubbs also homered, singled twice, walked and stole a base, one of a season-high five stolen bases recorded by the Dodgers. Steve Sax and Ken Landreaux had three hits apiece, with Sax stealing twice and Landreaux once. In the field, the Dodgers made no errors and turned two double plays.
Valenzuela, meanwhile, gave the Dodgers a scare by losing a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, when the Phillies strung together five hits and a sacrifice fly to tie the score. But thereafter, he was the life of the Dodger party, giving up just three hits while rolling up 11 strikeouts, matching his season high.
“I think the key to the whole game was the fact that we had the big inning, then they came back--which was a big letdown--but then we came back to score a run in the second,” said Brock, whose two-homer game was the fourth of his career and first since July 12, 1985, in Chicago.
“We knew the Phillies were hotter than a pistol, and for them to score four off Fernando, we didn’t know what might happen.
“But then we scored one in the second, a couple more in the third, and Fernando found his stuff, and we gave him a lead, which is unusual with Fernando. It feels good to have gotten 11 runs for Fernando.”
It felt even better for the Dodger bullpen, getting its first night off since this trip started a week ago.
Valenzuela’s complete game was his league-leading eighth of the season. Only Houston’s Bob Knepper has more wins (8) than Valenzuela, who is 7-3, and the Dodger left-hander has 87 strikeouts, second only to Houston’s Bob Knepper.
At one point, he struck out five Phillies in a row.
“In the first inning, the Phillies were swinging at everything--good pitches outside,” Valenzuela said. “They had five hits, but how many (four) were right down the line?
“But it’s good we scored four runs in the first. After that inning, I threw a lot more fastballs inside to left-handed hitters.”
Stubbs, a left-handed hitter who has been platooning in left field with Cesar Cedeno, has five hits, including two home runs, in his last two games, in which he has reached base seven times. Lasorda admitted that the platoon might end the next time the Dodgers face a left-hander.
“That’s a possibility,” Lasorda said. “That’s why I left him in there (against left-hander Don Carman, who struck Stubbs out).”
Stubbs, who is batting .322 in his last 21 games, said he’s ready to take his chances.
“I’m not afraid of left-handers,” he said. “In order to hit them, you can’t be afraid. You have to stand in there and fight toe to toe. If you do, you’ll get your hits.”
The Dodgers, winning for only the second time in eight games on this trip, picked up a game on first-place Houston, the team they’ll be facing upon their return home Thursday. The Astros lead the Dodgers by 5 1/2 games.
So what time will the Dodgers show up at the ballpark today?
“In the morning,” Lasorda said.
The only discordant note sounded on an otherwise pleasant night for the Dodgers came from Cesar Cedeno, who sought out a reporter and heatedly accused him of unfairly blaming Cedeno for the team’s early season troubles. Cedeno, apparently upset at speculation that he might be released in order to make room on the roster for an additional pitcher, warned the reporter to cease criticizing him or “I’ll knock you on your (bleep).” Cedeno, who is batting .231 with no home runs, 3 extra-base hits and 6 RBIs since signing with the Dodgers on April 10, said he was being unfairly criticized. “I only have 70 at-bats (actually 78),” Cedeno said. “Why don’t you blame the guys who are in there every day? Name one guy who is playing good.” Pedro Guerrero, who knows Cedeno well, loudly voiced similar complaints at the reporter. Batting coach Manny Mota finally intervened. . . . Dodger Vice President Al Campanis spoke twice by phone to Manager Tom Lasorda, and it appears likely that the team will make a roster move by Friday. That’s when pitcher Carlos Diaz will be eligible to return from Albuquerque (a player optioned out cannot return for 10 days after he reports, except in the case of an injury). If they recall Diaz, the Dodgers must decide whether to option Alejandro Pena or drop a player. . . . Bill Madlock, who is 3 for 28 in his last seven games and has not played well defensively at third, was given the night off by Lasorda. Dave Anderson played in Madlock’s place and went hitless in five trips, his best bid for a hit turned into a double play by Phillie shortstop Steve Jeltz.