Dodgers Find a Knockout Punch : 7-Run Seventh Finishes Off Montreal, 9-4
It wasn’t just the Dodger offense that erupted Wednesday.
So did Mike Scioscia.
Grazed on the helmet by a pitch from Montreal’s Pascual Perez during a seven-run uprising by the Dodgers in the seventh inning, Scioscia charged the mound, touching off a bench-clearing scrum on the dirt near first base.
The near-brawl was the highlight of the Dodgers’ 9-4 victory at Dodger Stadium and was the topic of much conversation afterward.
Did Perez throw at Scioscia?
“What do you think?” the Dodger catcher asked the reporter. “No doubt about it. It was intentionally (thrown) at my head.”
Perez declined comment.
“I don’t got nothing to say,” the Expo reliever said.
The seeds of this feud undoubtedly were planted in the first inning, when Dodger starter Orel Hershiser plunked Hubie Brooks with a pitch, bouncing it off the left arm of the Expo right fielder after nearly hitting him with the previous pitch.
An agitated Brooks took several steps toward the mound before plate umpire Bill Hohn locked him in a bear-hug.
Both benches emptied, with Brooks inquiring as to why Hershiser threw at him. Hershiser, incredulous, insisted that he hadn’t.
He had logic on his side, too.
The Expos already had scored twice, the second run crossing the plate on Hershiser’s wild pitch that almost hit Brooks, and had a runner at third base with one out.
“He had no reason at all to hit Hubie in that situation,” Scioscia said of Hershiser. “No pitcher in the world wants to try to knock a batter down in that situation.”
Hershiser, Scioscia said, did not have control of his pitches.
“I just had terrible mechanics,” Hershiser said.
But, after Tim Wallach lifted a scoring fly ball to right field to put the Dodgers in a 3-0 hole, Hershiser’s mechanics improved dramatically.
He made a major adjustment, he said, but didn’t want to discuss it with reporters.
“If I did,” he said, “you’d ask me about it every time I had a bad outing the rest of the season.”
Hershiser faced only one batter over the minimum in shutting down the Expos through the seventh, allowing no hits, striking out four and walking one. Still, the Dodgers trailed, 3-1, when Hershiser was lifted in favor of a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning.
Hershiser then watched his light-hitting teammates stage an improbable rally that improved his record to 7-4.
After Alfredo Griffin drew a walk against starter Bryn Smith, Mickey Hatcher lined a double into the right-field corner off reliever Joe Hesketh, cutting the Dodger deficit to 3-2.
Hesketh then fielded a sacrifice bunt by Chris Gwynn, but threw too late to get the diving Hatcher at third base.
On came the demonstrative Perez, who gave up a two-run double to Willie Randolph, who had three hits, one fewer than Kirk Gibson, who followed with a line-drive triple into the right-field corner.
Gibson, who exchanged unpleasantries with Perez Monday night, accentuated his game-winning hit with a leaping double pump.
“I felt like I’d been swinging the bat well for the last week,” said Gibson, who returned to the lineup May 23 after almost a month on the disabled list, “but the results don’t always show.”
Gibson wasn’t finished with Perez, who gave up a run-scoring fly ball to Eddie Murray before retiring Mike Davis for the second out.
When Perez then hit Scioscia, he ran out of harm’s way as teammate Tim Wallach made a running tackle to cut down the charging Dodger catcher.
Gibson, sprinting from the dugout, made an end-run in an attempt to jump Perez, but the Expos’ Kevin Gross, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound pitcher, saw Gibson coming and, with the aid of two or three teammates, wrestled Gibson to the ground.
What went through Gibson’s mind as he charged?
“I was trying to think of a way to get to him,” he said of Perez, who, along with Scioscia and Expo Manager Buck Rodgers, was ejected.
Lasorda had no doubt that Perez had thrown at Scioscia.
“I’d bet my lungs on it,” the Dodger manager said.
In the mess that followed, Brooks wound up standing next to Hershiser, who unwittingly started it all.
Hershiser explained that he hadn’t intentionally hit him.
And how did Brooks react?
“We shook hands,” Hershiser said.
Then, when order was restored, Jeff Hamilton, who also homered Monday night, greeted reliever Andy McGaffigan with a two-run homer into the box seats in left field, scoring Rick Dempsey, who ran for Scioscia.
The Dodger lead was 8-3.
“Maybe that’s what we needed to get us sparked off,” Lasorda said.
Dodger reliever Ray Searage, suffering with a sprained back, was put on the 15-day disabled list. Searage, who gave up the game-winning sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Mike Aldrete in Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Expos, was forced to leave the game after he experienced back spasms as he backed up Kirk Gibson’s throw to the plate. . . . Searage was replaced on the roster by John Wetteland, 23, a right-handed pitcher who was recalled from the Dodgers’ triple-A affiliate at Albuquerque, N.M. Wetteland pitched a scoreless ninth in his major-league debut. . . . Mike Marshall, again suffering from lower back stiffness, was not in the starting lineup. “Only Mike knows how he feels but the trainers say it’s day to day and not long term,” said Fred Claire, the Dodgers’ executive vice president. Marshall, who had a cortisone injection Wednesday to reduce the inflammation in his back, has not hit a home run since April 16 and had only three RBIs in May.