Mondesi Carries Dodgers : Baseball: Rookie right fielder sparkles with two triples, two RBIs and big putout at plate in 5-4 victory over Rockies.
It was the largest crowd Raul Mondesi had ever played in front of and perhaps the largest the Dodgers have seen in the regular season since the days of the Coliseum.
But Friday night at Mile High Stadium, a crowd of 70,283 saw the all-around talent of Mondesi, who tripled twice, scored a run, knocked in two and threw Charlie Hayes out at the plate in the Dodgers’ 5-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
It was Mondesi’s league-leading 15th outfield assist and it was a key out in a big jam for Ramon Martinez (11-7), the winningest Dodger pitcher. Mondesi, though, believes the assist is secondary to the triples, asking how many players have seven triples?
The answer is not many. Mondesi ranks fourth in the majors.
“Two triples is good,” he says.
An abundance of sometimes unharnessed talent, Mondesi not only showed what he can do, but what he shouldn’t do, such as slowing down on a triple off the left-center field wall, when he could have scored.
“I thought I had hit it out,” he said.
Or trying to score on the two-run triple he hit to right field in the sixth inning, nearly running down Henry Rodriguez. Mondesi, who said that once in winter ball he actually passed a runner, was thrown out in a rundown.
“I’m concerned about Rodriguez and I look up and see Mondesi and I say, ‘What the heck is he doing?’ ” said third-base coach Joey Amalfitano. “He actually startled me.”
The Dodgers made the game exciting for the Rockies, and agonizing for Manager Tom Lasorda, who has endured 49 one-run games this season in which they are 28-21. The Rockies, who came back to move within one run entering the ninth inning, had runners on first and second with two outs against closer Todd Worrell, who struck out Dante Bichette to end the game and earn his 10th save.
Since giving up three runs against the Giants on July 25, Worrell has pitched very well. In his last five outings--six innings--he has given up no runs and three hits. But one of those hits was a leadoff single to Nelson Liriano, then, two outs later, Worrell got a bad break when a routine grounder by Mike Kingery to Tim Wallach hit the edge of the infield grass and skimmed off. But he got out of it.
“His velocity is better and he is getting ahead of guys and he is getting more confidence,” catcher Mike Piazza said. “He knows his role now and Tommy (Lasorda) has shown faith in him, and it’s good to see him.”
Lasorda also has faith in his rookie right fielder, who tripled and scored the Dodgers’ first run in the third inning, and knocked in another two runs in a four-run sixth inning, which put the Dodgers ahead, 5-2.
Down 2-1, Brett Butler walked to lead off the inning and two outs later, Wallach, Eric Karros and Rodriguez each singled, scoring two runs and knocking out starter Curtis Leskanic. Reliever Steve Reed came in, and Mondesi hit his second triple, this one a slicing opposite-field line drive to right.
With a three-run lead, Martinez bore down, but Hayes, who has three hits in the game, homered in the sixth and the Rockies scored again the seventh. But it was that jam in the fourth inning that Martinez escaped, because of Mondesi, when he threw out Hayes at home plate.
Hayes had led off with a single to left with the Rockies ahead by one run and one out later moved to third on another single by Vinny Castilla. Joe Girardi followed with a hard-hit grounder down the right-field line that Mondesi charged, fielded and unleashed to Piazza. Meanwhile, Girardi, who was rounding first, saw Mondesi charging, and dove back to first. But Mondesi’s one-hop throw was right on line, and Piazza stayed back and made a good tag on Hayes.