Angel Pitchers Masterful as Dodgers Fall in 11, 3-2
Taking her cue from “Les Miserables,” Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Hefley serenaded Orel Hershiser on Thursday night with a rendition of “Master of the House,” which was his signature tune during a show-stopping October.
Upstaging Hershiser, however, in the opener of the Freeway Series was Angel pitcher Mike Witt--who warmed up for his Opening Day assignment with seven innings of no-hit ball--and three relievers, Bob McClure, Bryan Harvey, and Greg Minton, who extended the no-hitter through 10 innings.
Mariano Duncan finally broke up the no-hitter with a one-out single in the 11th off Willie Fraser, the fifth Angel pitcher, and Jose Gonzalez followed with an RBI single.
But Duncan’s throwing error led to two unearned runs in the top of the 11th to give the Angels a 3-2 victory before a crowd of 34,434. Wally Joyner’s ground-rule double off Tim Crews scored one run and Jim Eppard’s sacrifice fly brought home the other.
Afterward, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda announced that Tim Belcher--not Hershiser--will pitch the Dodgers’ regular-season opener in Cincinnati Monday. Hershiser, who had not pitched in eight days because of the flu, will pitch the second game against the Reds Wednesday night.
“I felt fine,” Hershiser said, “but they don’t want to rush me. I haven’t had a chance to work out. I haven’t even lifted a weight. They want me to get back into my program.
“I threw the ball adequately, but I didn’t throw unbelievable. I threw most of my pitches where I wanted to. Opening Day is exciting because it’s the first game, but after that it’s just a win or a loss.”
Lasorda was ejected in the 11th for airing out umpires Mark Johnson and Derryl Cousins. Lasorda, considerably more animated than the Dodger offense, found fault with Cousins, the first base umpire, making the call on whether Devon White’s line drive was caught or trapped by left fielder Chris Gwynn, overruling Johnson.
Gwynn played the ball on the short hop, Dick Schofield--who reached base on Duncan’s throwing error--took second, and scored on Joyner’s double that bounced over the wall in left-center. Eppard followed with a sacrifice fly off Crews, who took the loss.
Witt, scheduled to start against the Chicago White Sox Tuesday in Anaheim, retired 16 Dodgers in a row after walking Eddie Murray with two out in the first. The right-hander ran into control problems at the start of the seventh, walking Kirk Gibson on four pitches, then passing Murray again.
After a force out, John Shelby’s sacrifice fly scored Gibson to tie the score, and Witt departed for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
“I could’ve been a little sharper in the seventh,” Witt said, “but I’m pleased with how it went. I don’t think fatigue was a problem, I was just anxious to get it over with. I just got ahead of myself.”
Duncan, who started the game as a fill-in for Willie Randolph at second base, came closest to getting a hit with a sinking line drive to right to open the bottom of the first. Claudell Washington appeared to lose the ball in the lights but was charged with a two-base error after failing in an attempt to backhand the ball.
Randolph, whose wife, Gretchen, underwent an emergency appendectomy Tuesday in Vero Beach, remained in Florida and will join the team in Cincinnati.
Murray, making his Dodger Stadium debut, hit a rocket into the gap in left-center in the fourth, but Devon White caught it at the wall.
Otherwise, Witt, who walked three and struck out three, breezed against the team averaging 5.9 runs a game with a batting average of .303.
McClure, a left-hander, extended the no-hitter through eight innings by setting down Mike Scioscia, Chris Gwynn and Duncan, then gave way to short man Harvey, who blew away Alfredo Griffin, Jose Gonzalez and Franklin Stubbs on strikes in the ninth.
Minton pitched the 10th and retired Mickey Hatcher on a soft one-hopper to short, struck out Mike Davis and put away Tracy Woodson on a fly ball to left.
Hershiser dispatched the first six Angels to face him, but struggled through his last two innings.
In the third, the Angels got singles from Lance Parrish and Dick Schofield, but Gibson ran down Jack Howell’s drive to the track in left and Marshall caught up with Johnny Ray’s shot in right.
In the fourth, White singled, stole second, took third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Washington.
Belcher gave up one hit--Schofield’s fifth-inning triple--in three innings.
Gibson, playing only his fourth spring game, received a standing ovation but raised his bat overhead in frustration after striking out in the first. He also flied out and walked before leaving after seven innings.
Lasorda said he still doesn’t know if Gibson will play Monday, but his knee certainly appeared fine on Howell’s fly ball.
“He can’t get into a game where he doesn’t play full out,” Hershiser said. “He gets involved in some sort of tough play that tests him.”