Cey No More, Please: Karros Is New No. 1
On a day of farewells, the Dodgers not only bid adieu to a pair of pitchers, they also said adios to a four-game losing streak to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Plus, the Dodgers welcomed a new Los Angeles career home run leader when Eric Karros’ eighth-inning solo home run just cleared the left-field fence to move him ahead of Ron Cey as the L.A. home run king.
Throw in Chan Ho Park’s fifth career complete game and it turned out to be a good night indeed for the Dodgers, who beat the Diamondbacks, 6-1, in front of 34,067 Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
“It was a great day for Dodger fans,” Manager Davey Johnson said. “Karros gets the L.A. crown, [Gary] Sheffield got us going. But Chan Ho was the big story. He was totally focused. He still had a lot left.”
Even Karros downplayed his accomplishment.
“This was just a side note to the game,” said Karros, who went three for four with two singles. “Chan Ho had an unbelievable game. Sheff had some big hits. I think that’s where the focus should be.”
Still, Karros’ blast was his 229th in a Dodger uniform and came in his 4,682nd at bat. Ron Cey finished his Dodger career with 228 homers in 5,216 at bats.
“Chan Ho threw a great ballgame and we needed that,” Karros said. “We played a pretty solid game tonight.”
It started with Park.
He extended his winning streak to four in improving to 8-4. In his first complete game since Sept. 15, 1998 against the Colorado Rockies, Park gave up five hits while striking out four and walking one.
“I was just concentrating on trying to get the first batter out in the [later] innings. As I go on, I get more confidence,” said Park, who had problems with blisters on his pitching hand earlier this season and began fiddling with his fingers with two out in the seventh inning. After a visit from Johnson and assistant athletic trainer Matt Wilson, it was found to be merely a ragged callous.
“The most important thing for me is one pitch at a time,” Park said. “It’s good to beat them, especially since they’re in our division.”
Diamondback starter Mike Morgan, making just his second start of the season, took the loss to fall to 1-1.
Morgan gave up four runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.
“I got outpitched tonight,” Morgan said. “I had a bad pitch early to [Mark] Grudzielanek, a fork ball that didn’t get down. But I tip my hat to Chan Ho. He threw a better game than I did.”
With the win, the Dodgers (34-28) pulled within three games of the National League West Division-leading Diamondbacks (38-26).
The Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
With F.P. Santangelo on first after a walk, Sheffield crushed a 2-and-1 Morgan off-speed pitch, sending it into the pavilion seats in left-center for his 18th home run.
Arizona got one back in the fifth.
Damian Miller, who killed the Dodgers with two home runs, including a game-winning grand slam in the Diamondbacks’ 12-inning, 11-7 victory on May 9, hit a solo shot deep into the Dodger bullpen off a 1-and-0 Park curveball.
The Dodgers chased Morgan in the bottom of the fifth with two more runs.
Grudzielanek’s double to the right-center gap, off Morgan’s rising forkball, scored Santangelo, who had singled.
Grudzielanek came home on a throwing error by Arizona second baseman Jay Bell, trying to turn a double play on Shawn Green, who would steal his team-leading 12th base in the inning.
Until Grudzielanek’s one out single in the seventh off Diamondback reliever Russ Springer, the Arizona bullpen had retired 30 straight batters.
Grudzielanek stole second, his seventh, and went to third on Springer’s wild pitch, which occurred on the same play.
Sheffield’s sacrifice fly to right-center scored Grudzielanek for Sheffield’s 53rd run batted in.
Karros’ record-setting home run was his 18th homer of the season.
The Dodgers did get some bad news Tuesday though.
It was discovered that reserve outfielder Geronimo Berroa, who was put on the 15-day disabled list on June 3 after fouling a ball off his left foot, had indeed broken the foot.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
L.A. Dodger career home run leaders:
Eric Karros: 229
Ron Cey: 228
Steve Garvey: 211
Mike Piazza: 177
Pedro Guerrero: 171
Raul Mondesi: 166
Willie Davis: 154
Dusty Baker: 144
Mike Marshall: 137
Frank Howard: 123
Note: Duke Snider is the franchise all-time leader with 389.