Dopson and Expos Master Dodgers, 3-0 : Hershiser’s Effort Wasted; Lasorda Isn’t Around to See Finish

Times Staff Writer

Ejected and dejected, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda was ordered by plate umpire Charlie Williams not to watch the final half-inning of Wednesday night’s game, joining many in the Dodger Stadium crowd of 27,775 who had left by their own choosing.

Lasorda, though, may have been the most fortunate man in a Dodger uniform at that moment, escaping to the sanctity of the clubhouse while the Dodgers concluded a 3-0 loss to John Dopson and the Montreal Expos, an outcome that rated high on the frustration chart for both the manager and his players.

In dropping their second straight and fifth in seven games, the Dodgers wasted a solid pitching effort by Orel Hershiser, squandered the few scoring opportunities they had, and received no relief from Lasorda’s heretofore reliable bullpen.


Afterward, Lasorda was merely dejected over the loss, which put the Dodgers (21-14) in a tie with Houston for first place in National League West. But he still was extremely upset about his first ejection of the season.

Lasorda was chased by Williams for arguing a ball-strike call on Herm Winningham in the top of the ninth that, in the scheme of things, did not factor into the loss.

“When (Williams) said to me, ‘Are you complaining about the pitch?’ I was silent,” Lasorda said. “Then, he started walking over (toward the Dodger dugout), and I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ That’s when he tossed me.

“I don’t think I warranted getting thrown out.”

Williams declined to comment on Lasorda’s ejection.

Eight-and-a-half innings of frustration went into Lasorda’s heated exchange with Williams, and maybe it was a convenient release for Lasorda.

Perhaps an evening of watching Dopson, a little-known Expo right-hander, pitch a three-hit shutout through six innings to earn his first major league victory had something to do with Lasorda’s anger.

Perhaps it also was due to the Dodgers’ inability to hit Expo relievers Joe Hesketh and Tim Burke, who earned his sixth save. With Kirk Gibson at home nursing the flu, the rest of the Dodgers were ailing at the plate. They totaled just six hits against the three Expo pitchers.

And perhaps the Dodger bullpen, consistently effective most of the early season, may have added to Lasorda’s mood. The duo of Alejandro Pena and Jesse Orosco could not hold the Expos to merely one run and give Dodger hitters a realistic chance for a ninth-inning rally.

Pena gave up only his second earned run of the season when Tim Wallach hit a solo home run in the eighth. Then, in the ninth, Pena gave up a double to Tom Foley and eventually gave way to Jesse Orosco.

Shortstop Alfredo Griffin’s first error in 19 games and Winningham’s single off Orosco’s body accounted for a third Expo run, which was unearned. It was Winningham’s at-bat that angered Lasorda. He thought that Orosco had struck out Winningham on a 2-and-2 pitch, but Williams called it a ball.

Winningham’s subsequent single made it 3-0, Expos. But even if you took away that run, the Dodgers still would have trailed by two. Andres Galarraga’s second-inning home run off Hershiser accounted for the Expos’ first run.

“I was just trying to get the ball over,” Hershiser said. “It wasn’t a bad pitch. In the second inning, with a 3-and-1 count, you don’t think that is the ball game (if he hits a home run).

“But I have no regrets over my outing or anything--except that we lost.”

They lost to Dopson, who had an 0-3 career record coming into the game, who underwent surgery on his right shoulder before the 1987 season and who began this season in Indianapolis (triple-A), where he had a 3.50 earned-run average. Before Wednesday, Dopson’s longest outing of 1988 had been his last start, when he pitched five scoreless innings against the San Diego Padres but gave up three runs in the sixth and lost. This time, Dopson made it out of the sixth with a three-hit shutout, Danny Heep accounting for two-thirds of the Dodgers’ offensive production against him.

But after Galarraga doubled to open the seventh against Hershiser and went to third two outs later on a wild pitch, Expo Manager Buck Rodgers was faced with the problem of whether to let Dopson hit or bring in a pinch-hitter and have a better chance for a second run.

When Lasorda ordered an intentional walk to catcher Nelson Santovenia to bring up the pitcher’s spot, Rodgers chose to lift Dopson and insert pinch-hitter Graig Nettles, sporting a .154 career average against Hershiser. Nettles flied to center for the third out.

“(Dopson) had thrown over 90 pitches, and I had decided before the inning that would be it for him,” Rodgers said. “Plus, we had a shot at getting another run.”

Just as Rodgers was faced with a decision to pull his pitcher, so was Lasorda a half-inning later against Hekseth. With two out, Griffin singled to center, bringing up the pitcher’s spot. The Dodgers needed runs, so Mickey Hatcher was summoned to pinch-hit for Hershiser. Hatcher flied to left, ending the Dodgers’ modest threat.

In the eighth, Hershiser’s absence was felt. Pena gave up the bases-empty home run to Wallach, the second batter he faced, giving the Expos a 2-0 lead.

Compared to his last start in Pittsburgh, Hershiser (6-2) was more effective. He gave up five hits and only Galarraga’s home run through seven innings. He struck out a season-high eight batters but made an early-inning mistake to Galarraga that, essentially, cost him the game.

Coming into the Expo series, which concludes tonight, the Dodgers had a two-game lead over Houston in the NL West and their two best pitchers--Fernando Valenzuela and Hershiser--starting.

They lost both games, just as they did when Valenzuela and Hershiser pitched last week in Pittsburgh.

“It always doesn’t work out the way (you think),” Lasorda said. “What you figure and what happens are two different things.”

Dodger Notes

Wednesday’s was the third game Kirk Gibson has missed this season. He was out for two games in mid-April with a strained hamstring. Trainer Bill Buhler said that Gibson’s flu may be food poisoning. “After the game (Tuesday night)) he was feeling fine,” Buhler said. “Then, he got sick and was vomiting since 2 o’clock (in the morning). Dr. Michael Mellman examined Gibson at his home Wednesday morning and told Buhler that Gibson is day-to-day. “The doctor told him that if he was running a temperature, he should not come to the park,” Buhler said. “There might be a chance that he might come to the park late and pinch-hit. But I doubt that.”

Celebrity file: One day, Vice President George Bush visits Manager Tom Lasorda; the next day it is Ken Landreaux, the Dodgers’ regular center fielder earlier in the 1980s, who now is a free agent. Landreaux, 32, said he still is working out in hopes of signing with a team. Although he has not severed ties with agent Tom Reich, Landreaux said he has started calling teams on his own. Among the teams Landreaux says he has called: Detroit, Seattle, Oakland, Texas and the Angels. “The Angels were the hottest there for a while a week or two ago,” Landreaux said. “I talked to (Vice President) Mike Port. Apparently, I was going to go to Edmonton, but he called me back a few days later and said no. They said their obligation was to sign a pitcher.” Landreaux said he hasn’t had much luck finding an interested team. “The only answer I keep getting is that the rosters are full. I’m only 32. I know I can play four or five more years.” Landreaux said he talked with Fred Claire, the Dodgers’ executive vice president, Wednesday, but that it had nothing to do with any contract discussions. “I just said hello,” Landreaux said.

Ken Howell, rehabilitating his right shoulder after off-season surgery, will have one more start Sunday in Bakersfield before his 20-day rehabilitation assignment concludes. Howell said his shoulder felt fine after Tuesday night’s 100-pitch stint in Bakersfield. “To tell you the truth, I don’t know what’s going to happen after Sunday,” Howell said. “I think I’m ready. It’d be tough to accept, going back down to Albuquerque (triple-A). I know I can’t get my rehab assignment extended, but I guess they could put me back on the (disabled list). But I don’t want to speculate.” . . . Tim Leary (2-3) pitches against the Expos’ Dennis Martinez (1-3) tonight at 7.