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Triple Play Can’t Turn the Dodgers Into Victors

From Associated Press

Forget about the Dodgers’ triple play. Larry Walker and the Colorado Rockies were only concerned about the final score.

“If we could have a triple play every game and still win, so be it,” said Larry Walker, who went three for three with a solo home run in the Colorado Rockies’ 4-2 victory Saturday.

The Dodgers turned the triple play in the fifth inning--their first at Dodger Stadium and second since moving to Los Angeles in 1958-- but defense didn’t help as their three-game winning streak ended.

“I don’t give a hoot about their triple play. We won the ballgame,” Colorado’s Kurt Abbott said. “Congratulations. They turned a triple play. I’ll pat them all on the back tomorrow.”

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Walker, who returned to the starting lineup in Friday’s series opener after missing five games because of a sore right elbow, put Colorado ahead, 4-0, in the sixth inning. His eighth homer came against Darren Dreifort (4-6).

Walker’s run-scoring double off the top of the left-field wall keyed a three-run first inning. He also lined a single off the left-field wall in the eighth.

“It was a decent day. I didn’t overswing and I didn’t have to make any throws from the outfield,” said Walker, whose elbow was wrapped in ice after the game. “Different days, it’s good. Others, it’s horrible. It’s a coin toss every day.”

The Rockies needed Walker’s offense, having lost six of their previous seven games.

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The crowd of 38,417 booed the Dodgers for trailing, 3-0, but wild cheers broke out in the fifth when they turned the triple play, the first involving the Rockies in their six-year history.

“It was an exciting play,” Dreifort said. “It got us out of a big inning.”

Colorado pitcher Jamey Wright led off with a single and moved to second when Dreifort mishandled Neifi Perez’s bunt for an error.

Abbott also bunted, and the ball popped up in the air before falling between Dreifort and first baseman Eric Karros.

“I saw him get a little bit irritated one day when Ramon [Martinez] caught a popup like that with guys on first and second, instead of letting it drop,” Dreifort said of Karros. “So I saw him letting it go when he could have caught it and we ended up making a great play out of it.”

Dreifort grabbed the ball when it bounced, and threw to shortstop Jose Vizcaino at second base for the first out. Vizcaino relayed to first base, where second baseman Eric Young was covering the bag, for the second out.

Wright, who hesitated when the bunt went into the air, was thrown out when Young threw to third baseman Bobby Bonilla.

“It was a classic case of a pitcher being on base who doesn’t have much experience being on base,” Wright said.

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Colorado Manager Don Baylor called the triple play “a wasted opportunity.”

“You’re trying to get Walker to the plate. A triple play was the very last thing on my mind,” he said. “It hurts the bench. You’re thinking about putting up a couple more runs.”

Wright (5-6) pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while striking out three and walking three.

Jerry Dipoto got his 13th save.

The Dodgers closed to 4-2 in sixth when Curtis Leskanic walked Karros with the bases loaded. Bonilla grounded into a force play for the Dodgers’ other run.

Dreifort gave up four runs on six hits in six innings, while striking out six and walking two.

Dodger Notes

After the game, Fred Claire, Dodgers executive vice president, said the team elected not to play outfielder Raul Mondesi because of an unspecified personal matter. . . .The first Dodgers’ triple play since they moved to Los Angeles 40 years ago came on June 15, 1996, at Atlanta.

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Rockies Manager Don Baylor recalled hitting a line drive into a triple play when he played for Kansas City. He said he also has been on base for one. . . .Larry Walker’s RBI single Friday night ended an 0-for-8 drought.

Kurt Abbott, acquired from Oakland on Tuesday, had a rough day. He went 0-for-3 and was replaced at second base by Jason Bates in the seventh. In the sixth, Bobby Bonilla hit into what could have been an inning-ending double play, but Abbott failed to complete it when his relay throw pulled first baseman Todd Helton off the bag.

“I was a little nervous,” Abbott said. “It should’ve been turned. The ball just sailed up and away. Sorry.”

* BILL PLASCHKE:

Jim Eisenreich has endured for 13 major league seasons while playing with Tourette syndrome. C5


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