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Off Night--Not for Guerrero : His Bat Leads 10-2 Romp Over Pirates; Welch Wins Third

Times Staff Writer

Try as he might, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda just could not convince Pedro Guerrero to sample the steaming mound of home-made pasta that had taken control of his cramped office here after Wednesday night’s game.

Lasorda begged. He pleaded. But Guerrero would not budge.

Had Guerrero been as stubborn earlier Wednesday, when he visited Lasorda’s office and asked for the night off because of a sore left wrist, perhaps the Dodgers would not have had such an easy time disposing of the Pittsburgh Pirates, 10-2, before 4,668 fans at Three Rivers Stadium.

Lasorda begged. He pleaded. He told Guerrero that the Dodgers, coming off a two-game stretch in which they totaled just one run, really needed him in the lineup because Mike Marshall was out with a sore back and at least one powerful bat was essential.

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Fortunately for the Dodgers, Guerrero made it to home plate in the clean-up spot.

“I did ask (for the game) off,” Guerrero said. “Then, I found out that (Marshall) was not playing, so . . . if I can swing a bat, I can play. I sat enough last year.”

That worst-case scenario was avoided, however, when Guerrero relented and then became relentless at the plate with a three-run home run and a triple to headline a 13-hit Dodger attack that gave starter Bob Welch more than enough offense to assure his third win of the season.

Welch was masterful through seven innings, allowing only one hit and one walk. But Lasorda, fearing that Welch’s right elbow might be sore, denied him a shot at his second straight shutout. But thanks to the power surge provided by Dodger hitters, Welch’s lead easily withstood a two-run Pirate ninth inning off reliever Ken Howell.

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But on a night when Steve Sax broke out of his slump with three hits and several other Dodgers ended less profound droughts against starter Bob Patterson and a parade of Pirate relievers, it was Guerrero who once again made the biggest impact.

Guerrero opened the second inning with a triple to right field and scored the Dodgers’ first run on Mickey Hatcher’s double. Then after walking and scoring in the fourth inning, Guerrero hit a three-run home run to right-center, his fifth of the season.

As the Dodgers close out April tonight, Guerrero has had one of the fastest starts of his career. He is hitting .333 with 5 home runs and 18 runs-batted in.

Regardless of whether the Dodgers’ offensive assault was directly attributable to Guerrero’s early warning shots, several Dodgers broke out of batting slumps on the same night.

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Mike Ramsey had been 0-for-16 before delivering a two-run triple in the eighth. Mickey Hatcher, starting in place of Marshall, was hitting .091 before hitting two doubles. Tracy Woodson, who was hitting .183, had an RBI single and a double. And Dave Anderson’s pinch-hit single broke an 0-for-9 slump. But the end of Sax’s slump was the most noteworthy of the night.

Sax broke an 0-for-15 and 2-for-31 slump with a controversial bloop single to right field in the fifth inning. He doubled in the seventh, this one deflecting off reliever Brian Fisher’s leg. And in the eighth, Sax hit a clean single to center off Bob Walk.

Television replays showed that Andy Van Slyke, the Pirates’ right fielder had made a diving catch on Sax’s fifth-inning blooper. But first-base umpire Fred Brocklander called Sax safe.

“I’ll take that one, whether it was an out or not,” said Sax, who is hitting .195. “I’ve got to believe (the slump) is over now. I hope things now go statistically like they did last year. Man, I tell you what, I really don’t feel any different than I was before. Maybe I’m a little more relaxed.”

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Nothing is bothering Welch these days. After getting bombed against San Francisco in the Dodgers’ home opener, Welch has since allowed only three earned runs in his last 31 innings.

Welch, who had 8 strike outs and 1 walk while throwing 97 pitches, naturally said he would have liked a shut out. But he seemed happy enough to improve his record to 3-1.

“I really had good control tonight,” Welch said. “They put a lot of lefties in the lineup tonight. I usually get killed here. This is nice. I was just trying to move the ball in and out.

“When the guys put 10 runs on the board, that helps, too. As long as you get one more run than you give up, that’s enough.”

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Lasorda said he was tempted to let Welch finish off the Pirates. But he didn’t want another injury on his hands.

“We were a little worried about his arm bothering him,” Lasorda said of Welch, who said his arm felt fine. “We didn’t want to take any chances.”

Guerrero, meanwhile, said he doesn’t expect his wrist to improve soon. But he also doesn’t expect to be out of the lineup, at least if Lasorda has his way.

"(The wrist) was bothering (Tuesday) night when I went 0 for 3,” Guerrero said. “It was bothering me tonight, when I hit the home run. What’s the difference?”

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Dodger Notes There was a comical aside to Steve Sax’s first hit in 16 at bats: After the fifth inning, in which Sax reached first when umpire Fred Brocklander ruled that right-fielder Andy Van Slyke had trapped Sax’s bloop single, Pittsburgh’s mascot, The Parrot, pelted Brocklander in the back with a Nerf ball. The Parrot then bolted off the field in a electronic cart, the umpires on his tail. The Parrot, whose name is Tom Mosser, was not heard from again. The Pirates announced afterward that The Parrot is suspended for tonight’s game against the Dodgers. He might even have his wings permanently plucked because of the incident. Mosser, however, told a Pittsburgh writer that he did not know about Brocklander’s call on Sax’s hit and was not throwing the ball at the umpire for that reason. . . . Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said he is still considering activating Bill Madlock as early as today for pinch hitting duty. Madlock says he still is a few days away from returning to third base. “My throwing arm is getting a lot better,” Madlock said. “I’m stretching it out now.” . . . Orel Hershiser (2-2) faces Dorn Taylor (0-0) tonight at 7:05. . . . Wednesday’s game was delayed a half hour before the start because of rain.


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