Lasorda Takes a Walk as Dodgers Lose Again : Baseball: He avoids the team bus after a controversial call at the plate fuels 4-1 Expo victory.


Life has become so unpleasant for the Dodgers, veteran Bob Ojeda says that he is having dreams that transport him to horrible places.

"I'll wake up and be having a nightmare . . . where I'm in the middle of a game,' he said.

Life has become so unpleasant, after a 4-1 loss to the Montreal Expos on Saturday, Manager Tom Lasorda avoided the team bus.

He decided to walk the seven miles back to the team hotel, and it wasn't because he needed the exercise.

"I hope somebody mugs me," he said.

His team had been beaten for a second consecutive night by the Expos, who got a home run from an unwanted player and a two-run bloop single from a rookie making his 10th major league start.

The outcast was Darren Reed, who was being asked by management to accept a minor league assignment. His third-inning homer against Ojeda gave the Expos a 1-0 lead.

The rookie was Greg Colbrunn, who capped a three-run fifth inning with a fly ball to shallowright field. He has five career runs batted in.

The losing pitcher was Ojeda, who was not amused.

"This ship here is taking on water," he said.

In the biggest upset of the evening, Ojeda contends he does not want to be involved in a trade that might send him to a pennant contender.

"I'll stick it out," he said. "I'm a glutton for punishment."

Good thing, because the Dodgers have 19 losses in 22 road games.

And seven losses in nine games since the All-Star break.

And 15 losses in their last 17 games at Olympic Stadium.

They are 17 1/2 games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves. And there are 65 games remaining.

"You're talking 17 1/2 games out and it's still July," Eric Karros said.

The Expos moved to within two games of first place in the East Division for the first time since April 16. But the Dodgers didn't want to talk about them.

Despite getting only four hits against three pitchers, including winner Mark Gardner, some Dodgers wanted to pin Saturday's loss on plate umpire Charlie Williams.

With Ojeda trailing, 1-0, in the fifth inning, the Expos loaded the bases with one out on a walk to Gardner and singles by Delino DeShields and Wil Cordero.

Marquis Grissom hit a slow bouncer to third baseman Dave Hansen, who threw to catcher Mike Scioscia for the force play at home. Williams ruled that Scioscia pulled his foot off the plate before making the catch, and Gardner scored.

One out later, Colbrunn lofted the ball between Karros and right fielder Henry Rodriguez for two more runs.

"Every umpire in baseball would have called (Gardner) out except Charlie Williams," Lasorda said. "Everybody who saw the replays say it wasn't even close. The guy hit Mike's shin guard, so Mike had to be on the plate."

Scioscia agreed: "It was one of the worst calls I've ever seen. It cost us three runs."

After watching his teammates finish by faltering against reliever John Wetteland, who got his fifth save in five appearances against the Dodgers and 21st overall, Ojeda shrugged.

"The call was irrelevant," he said. "It ain't the first bad one, or the last bad one."

Perhaps the Dodgers cannot be condemned for passing around the blame, because there is so much blame to pass around.

Their only run Saturday came on Hansen's fifth homer, during the eighth inning.

Mitch Webster then singled, but was thrown out two batters later by former teammate Gary Carter while attempting to steal second. Brett Butler followed with another single, and Mike Sharperson was walked by reliever Mel Rojas.

But Wetteland retired Eric Davis on a first-pitch grounder to shortstop to end the inning.

By the time Wetteland struck out Scioscia to end the game, the largest crowd here since opening day had already sung several choruses of "Hey, Hey, Good-Bye."

"If we were another club getting beat up like this, there wouldn't be this much excitement, but everybody is trying to kick us when we're down," Karros said. "There will be a time when people pay for this."

But like everyone else in the visitors' clubhouse Saturday, Karros could not begin to say when.

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