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Dodger Way Not to Play the Game

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dodger Manager Bill Russell was seething.

Russell held a 25-minute closed-door meeting after the Dodgers made a season-worst four errors and extended their losing streak to four games with a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday before 46,798 at Busch Stadium.

Reporters were kept 50 feet away from the clubhouse door, presumably so they couldn’t hear what was said. Even Dodger announcer Vin Scully was turned away.

“They should get a tongue-lashing,” Scully said. “That’s the worst game they’ve played all year.

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“There’s a book, ‘The Dodger Way to Play Baseball.’ They should get a tape of this game to show how not to play baseball.”

Russell didn’t turn over the postgame buffet table, as former Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda once did, but he was angry after his team made offensive and defensive mistakes in losing its eighth consecutive road game.

“If I wanted you to know what happened I’d have had you guys in there,” Russell said. “I don’t discuss what goes on in a meeting.

“It was a totally brutal day today.”

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It was only the second meeting that the Dodgers have held following a game this season. The other was called by the players after a loss to the Florida Marlins in Miami in the first month of the season.

“If you meet every three days it seems to lose effect,” said Dodger third baseman Todd Zeile, who committed a throwing error in the seventh inning. “When meetings are held for a specific purpose, which has been more the case with this club, it usually has some positive effect.”

First baseman Eric Karros, who was hitless in four at-bats, said the Dodgers played worse than they did in a 14-0 loss at Atlanta on April 28.

“Fundamentally speaking, this was probably the worst game,” Karros said. “We made four errors and we probably had about three more errors.

“When you don’t play the game mentally you’re in real trouble. We’re just playing horribly, there’s no doubt about it.”

Dodger outfielder Todd Hollandsworth, who had a two-out, two-run home run in the second inning for his first hit in 11 at-bats, committed fielding and baserunning mistakes. The Dodgers gave up six unanswered runs before Eric Anthony’s ninth-inning leadoff home run.

Hollandsworth, who wasn’t charged with an error after he lost a Ray Lankford flyball in the sun that went for a double in the fourth inning, was given one in the sixth inning when he had Gary Gaetti’s double roll through his legs, allowing a run to score. The Cardinals scored four runs in the inning.

“The bottom line is I [messed up],” Hollandsworth said. “I’ve got to do the little things. I’ve got to take care of business. Baseball is more than just hitting.

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“We needed a kick in the pants right now, so I think [the meeting] was good. Some things needed to be addressed.”

Hollandsworth also helped run the Dodgers out of a rally in the fifth inning when he was doubled off second after starting pitcher Ismael Valdes struck out trying to bunt.

Valdes (3-6), who retired the first eight batters he faced, gave up an unearned run after Anthony committed a throwing error on a two-out single by Cardinal starting pitcher Todd Stottlemyre in the third inning.

Anthony made a lazy throw to the infield which gave Stottlemyre time to advance to second. Delino DeShields drove in him with a double over the head of Anthony, who was playing too shallow.

Stottlemyre (4-3) stifled the Dodgers, recording a season-best 10 strikeouts while giving up six hits. The Dodgers had only three hits in the final five innings.


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