Early outburst propels Dodgers
Posted: Monday, October 13, 2008 5:10 pm
By: By JOHN NADEL, AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — First came an offensive outburst. And then, some necessary retaliation.
The Los Angeles Dodgers did both just right.
Blake DeWitt’s bases-loaded triple off Jamie Moyer capped a five-run first inning, and the feisty Dodgers beat Philadelphia 7-2 Sunday night to trim the Phillies’ lead to 2-1 in NL championship series.
The benches and bullpens emptied in the third inning, moments after Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a pitch over Shane Victorino’s head — payback for a series of high and tight pitches by the Phillies including one by Brett Myers, who threw behind Manny Ramirez’s head in Game 2.
Ramirez came in from left field and had to be restrained by teammates, manager Joe Torre and an umpire.
There were no punches or ejections, with both teams doing their best to put the acrimony behind them.
Ramirez said he just wanted to protect his teammates.
“I don’t fight nobody. I’m a lover,” he said. “We just want to play the game right. I wasn’t trying to get anybody. I was there just in case anything happened.”
Kuroda pitched effectively into the seventh for the Dodgers, who will try to even the series tonight.
Game 1 loser Derek Lowe, working on three days’ rest, will face Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton.
“We’re not back yet,” Ramirez said. “They won two games, we’ve got one. The game tomorrow is going to be real important, so that’s the game that counts.”
With two outs and nobody on in the third and the Dodgers leading 6-1, Kuroda threw directly over Victorino’s head. Victorino shouted at Kuroda while pointing at his own head and upper body.
“Someone was bound to get hit,” Victorino would say afterward. “The situation called for it. Just don’t throw at my head.”
Victorino grounded out to first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, then exchanged words with Kuroda near the bag.
With that, both dugouts cleared and the bullpens followed.
“What happened in Philly didn’t look good. We knew sooner or later something was going to happen,” Philadelphia reliever J.C. Romero said. “It’s unfortunate. It happened, but we’re going to put this behind us. Hopefully tomorrow we can play a clean game.”
Kuroda said afterward through a translator that he tried to throw inside, but the ball slipped out of his hand.
Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa and Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes appeared to be two of the angriest participants in the near-scuffle, yelling at each other before the teams cleared the field.
“Those guys have been swinging the bats pretty well. It’s just baseball,” Martin said. “They’ve been throwing up and tight on us, and it got us a little uncomfortable. So it was just a good time to do that.”
After Myers threw behind Ramirez in the first inning Friday, Martin was brushed back as well. The soft-tossing Moyer hit Martin with a pitch in the first inning of Game 3, and reliever Clay Condrey knocked down the Dodgers’ catcher in the second.
Martin was hit by another pitch in the seventh, a breaking ball from Chad Durbin, drawing boos from the crowd and prompting Ramirez to climb to the top step of the dugout. But Martin took first base without any trouble.
Crew chief Mike Reilly said the warning was issued to protect the players.
“That’s the toughest thing for an umpire to read — intentional,” Reilly said. “But we absolutely had a situation, we had a batter hit and then the retaliation, pitch up high. And we figured at that point that we should put a warning in to stop any further retaliation from the other side coming back out again.”
The Phillies and Dodgers don’t have a recent history of animosity, unlike Boston and Tampa Bay, the ALCS participants. The Red Sox and Rays have played two peaceful games in their series after a nasty brawl in June.
“I think it’s over. I’ll squash it,” Victorino said.
Torre thought the warning from umpires was proper.
“With the passion that goes on in this postseason, I mean, you work all year to get here, and I think the umpires just basically tried to do the safe thing,” he said. “I can’t fault them in that.
“Nobody wants to get hit in the head,” Torre added. “That’s certainly frightening. I’ve been hit a couple of times. I’m not sure that that was the intention, even though the pitch was there. Again, you try to throw a ball inside and sometimes it gets away. But certainly there was no intent on hurting somebody in that area. That I can tell you for sure.”
Kuroda, a 33-year-old rookie making the second postseason start of a career that includes 11 years in the Japanese Central League, gave up five hits and two runs before being relieved by Cory Wade with two on and nobody out in the seventh. Wade retired the next three batters to end the final Phillies threat.
The 45-year-old Moyer, who became the oldest pitcher to start a league championship series game, lasted only 1 1-3 innings for his shortest outing since July 4, 1998. He gave up six hits and six runs.
The Dodgers had a 1-0 lead by the time Moyer had thrown five pitches on singles by Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier and Ramirez. Casey Blake singled in another run before DeWitt lined a 2-2 pitch into the right-field corner to clear the bases and send the towel-waving, blue-clad fans at Dodger Stadium into a frenzy.
The Phillies got a run in the second on Ryan Howard’s leadoff double and a two-out RBI single by Pedro Feliz, but Furcal hit Moyer’s first pitch over the left-center wall in the bottom half to make it 6-1.
“I made some pretty good pitches in the first inning and they hit them, and one really poor pitch to DeWitt,” Moyer said. “One game doesn’t make or break your career. Obviously, it’s the playoffs and it’s magnified even far more. You got to handle it professionally and deal with the ups just like you deal with the downs.”
Nomar Garciaparra, making his first start of the postseason, hit a two-out RBI single off J.A. Happ in the fourth to extend the Dodgers’ lead to 7-1.
The Phillies didn’t have a base runner after Feliz’s second-inning hit until Chase Utley doubled to start the seventh. Howard and Pat Burrell followed with singles to make it 7-2 and chase Kuroda.
The announced attendance of 56,800 — 800 more than listed capacity — was the largest in Dodger Stadium history. Tiger Woods was a guest in owner Frank McCourt’s box, wearing a Dodgers cap and NL West division champions T-shirt.
Notes: Ramirez set a league championship series record by driving in a run in his seventh straight game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Moyer, who turns 46 next month, became the second-oldest pitcher to start a postseason game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The oldest was Jack Quinn, who was 46 years, 99 days when he started Game 4 of the 1929 World Series for the Philadelphia A’s. … The Phillies have lost six straight games at Dodger Stadium.