Dodgers take off practice, then take off
Prince Fielder apparently wanted to deliver a message of his own late Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium in the wake of the Dodgers’ 17-4 thrashing of the Milwaukee Brewers.
With a number of his teammates in pursuit, the Brewers’ first baseman stormed into a tunnel leading to the Dodgers’ clubhouse following the final out of a ninth inning in which he had been hit on the right thigh by a pitch from reliever Guillermo Mota.
Fielder was apparently incensed because he felt the pitch was in retaliation for reliever Chris Smith hitting Manny Ramirez with a pitch in the seventh inning after the Dodgers’ slugger had homered and driven in three runs.
Fielder was stopped outside the Dodgers’ main clubhouse entrance by security guards, who forced him to retreat to the Brewers’ clubhouse.
“He was trying to throw a cutter and it just missed,” Fielder said sarcastically of Mota’s pitch that left a large welt and led to the reliever’s ejection.
Mota did not immediately appear at his locker after the game, leaving catcher Russell Martin to speak for him.
“It’s protection,” Martin said of the pitch. “It’s just about keeping the team unified and pulling the wagons together.”
Martin said the Dodgers didn’t want to repeat the scenario they had in the National League championship series last year against Philadelphia, when they were intimidated by Phillies pitchers and refused to retaliate.
The Dodgers’ hitters struck plenty of blows during a seven-run sixth inning and a five-run eighth on the way to setting a season high for runs. They had their biggest outburst at home since scoring 17 runs against Cincinnati on May 25, 1979.
Matt Kemp had four hits and drove in five runs -- tying career highs in each category -- and Ramirez hit his first homer since his pinch-hit grand slam July 22 to lead the Dodgers’ 18-hit attack.
Every Dodgers position player recorded at least one hit except James Loney and Juan Castro, a late replacement for Orlando Hudson after the second baseman came down with an upset stomach.
Even Mota got into the act with a run-scoring single in the eighth for the National League’s top offense, which has at least 10 hits in 11 of its last 15 games.
Kemp hit his 15th homer, a two-run shot, in the eighth off reliever R.J. Swindle.
Ramirez hit a solo homer to left field in the fifth, snapping a 10-game stretch in which he had not driven in a run, and added a two-run double off third baseman Craig Counsell’s glove in the sixth.
Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda (4-5) and two relievers benefited from the bonanza on a day the Dodgers didn’t hold pregame batting practice, holding the Brewers to one run over the final four innings before tensions escalated in the moments after the game.
Martin said he preferred “stuff to be taken care of on the field,” but he liked the Dodgers’ chances had Fielder entered the clubhouse.
“That’s all right,” he said. “It’s 25 against one.”