Al Martin drove in four runs and Steve Cooke pitched a complete game, but Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said umpire Eric Gregg beat his team Wednesday night.
The Dodgers lost to Pittsburgh, 5-1, after the Pirates scored four runs in the first inning, most of which Lasorda didn’t see. He was ejected by Gregg after Tom Candiotti’s 2-and-2 pitch to Jeff King was called ball three instead of strike three.
Lasorda said he wasn’t even arguing about the pitch. He said he went out to mediate the staring match between Candiotti and Gregg.
“If I argue the pitch, he has the right to throw me out,” Lasorda said. “That’s a rule. But I wasn’t arguing the pitch and I told him that. He threw me out from 10 feet away. I’m just coming out to see what the problem is with my pitcher.”
Candiotti (8-6) came into the game with the National League’s best earned-run average, 2.43. It was 2.60 by game’s end and he had his first loss since June 15, a span of 15 starts and five decisions.
“It’s too bad,” Candiotti said. “I thought there were two or three questionable calls that inning. You get the guy 2-2 and make your pitch. Sometimes you just hope to get a call but people who saw the replay said there was no question about the pitch. You hate to lose a game over that.”
Candiotti wound up walking King and Dave Clark followed with a run-scoring single. Then Martin drove a 2-and-2 knuckleball over the right field wall for his 12th home run.
Martin raised his average to .284. In his last 20 games, he’s 29 for 74 (.387).
“I’m just trying to get my numbers up,” Martin said. “I’ll wait until the end of the year and then see what they are.”
Cooke (9-8) pitched his third complete game of the season and first since June 26. He gave up five hits in the first two innings and only three over the last seven.
“He couldn’t get his curveball over at first and they were sitting on his fastball,” Manager Jim Leyland said. “Once he got a few curves over, he was tough.”
“I like to go nine,” Cooke said. “That means I didn’t have to throw too many pitches, which means I got ahead in the count and made them hit my pitch.”
Mike Piazza had given the Dodgers the lead in the top of the first when he singled in Brett Butler for his 86th RBI.