NBC, which has televised dramatic home runs by Carlton Fisk and Kirk Gibson in the World Series, didn’t bother to stick around for Luis Rivera’s moment of triumph.
In its only “Game of the Week” telecast of spring training, the network switched to golf coverage after 11 innings Saturday, and viewers missed Rivera’s three-run homer in the 15th inning, which gave the Boston Red Sox a 5-2 victory over the Dodgers.
Though the telecast left the game, the teams kept battling.
“When conditions permit, you play baseball to a conclusion,” said Boston Manager Joe Morgan, who was at Triple-A Pawtucket in 1981 when the PawSox played a professional record 33 innings against Rochester.
With one out in the 15th, Gary Tremblay doubled off losing pitcher Jim Neidlinger (0-1), Sam Horn was walked intentionally, and Rivera hit a 2-and-1 pitch for his first spring home run and Boston’s fourth consecutive victory.
Rivera, acquired from the Montreal Expos, is competing with Ed Romero for a utility job.
“Would you believe I called that home run by Rivera?” Morgan asked. “Well, I did. Ask (Red Sox outfielder) Ellis Burks when you see him tomorrow.”
Bill Laskey, Boston’s fifth pitcher, relieved to start the 15th. Laskey (1-0) pitched one hitless inning.
Dodger starter Tim Leary gave up six hits and two runs in seven innings. Boston starter Dennis Boyd allowed seven hits and two runs in six innings.
Ray Searage replaced Leary, and threw two perfect innings. Ricky Horton then allowed just one hit in three innings before Neidlinger, a nonroster player, took over in the 13th.
Mike Smithson replaced Boyd and pitched two perfect innings. Bob Stanley allowed one single in the ninth before Steve Ellsworth gave up two hits in the next five innings.
Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first on Marty Barrett’s one-out triple to left-center and Dwight Evans’ sacrifice fly, a foul ball caught by first baseman Mickey Hatcher in shallow right.
The Dodgers tied the score on Mike Scioscia’s second spring homer. Scioscia had not homered in 12 previous spring trainings.
Boston took a 2-1 lead in the third inning when Jody Reed singled, stole second and scored on Barrett’s bloop single to right.
The Dodgers tied it in the fifth on a single by Hatcher, a bad hop-single to center by Scioscia and a high-bounding infield hit by Willie Randolph.
Leary’s seven innings was the longest outing by a Dodger pitcher this spring.
He struck out two and had an intentional walk in addition to allowing the six hits and two runs.
“I had to battle a little early, but I had some easy innings after that,” Leary said. “I’m not quite as strong as I’d like to be, but that will come with innings. I felt good.”
Leary, 30, a right-hander said this spring training has been less stressful than last year, when he came in eager to earn a spot in the starting rotation. This year, he came to camp buoyed by a 17-victory season in 1988.
“Last spring might have been more satisfying, really, because I needed to have a real good spring,” Leary said. “I was on the edge. I had to fight my way into the rotation.
“This spring is more enjoyable, though, because we’re coming off a world-championship season and I feel more secure.
“I’m working from a much more solid foundation than I had a year ago. This is much better for me personally.”
The Dodgers return to Vero Beach, Fla., today to play host to the Atlanta Braves.