The Dodgers responded from a down week with a welcome offensive assault, as the team bludgeoned their way to five wins in six games against the Pirates and Cardinals. Their only loss came thanks in part to their personal tormenter on the mound.
Through the first 21 games this season the Dodgers had all of eight home runs, including just two in their previous 13 games. But in six games this week, the club slammed seven home runs. Kirk Gibson and Mike Marshall each hit three long balls, and the hottest hitter of all added another thanks to his legs and a misplay by an old friend.
Steve Sax in the fourth inning on Monday, with two runners on base, hit a low line drive toward the right field foul line. Right fielder R.J. Reynolds, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 1980 and played for them from 1983 to 1985 before getting dealt to the Pirates for Bill Madlock, charged the ball in an attempt to make a shoestring catch, but the ball instead went under his glove and bounced to the wall. Sax scurried around the bases to give the Dodgers a 5-1 lead.
Sax went 3-for-3 and reached base all four times Monday, part of a hot streak that saw him reach base 10 times in 11 plate appearances.
In a week that saw the Dodgers average 8.5 runs per game, they were actually shutout for two innings on Tuesday by outfielder John Cangelosi, who pitched two scoreless innings in relief in what was a 14-6 win for Los Angeles. But the only pitcher who truly shut the Dodgers down was John Tudor.
Just six days after pitching six scoreless, hitless innings at Dodger Stadium in only his second start of the season after opening the year on the disabled list, Tudor took a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Saturday night at Busch Stadium. Marshall broke up the no-hitter to leadoff the eighth inning, one of three hits by the Dodgers during the frame to tie the game at 1-1. But the Cardinals rallied for a run in the ninth inning for the only loss of the week for the Dodgers.
Gibson, who scored a whopping 11 runs during the week, summed up the Dodgers' offensive hot streak nicely.
"I want to be up at the plate now. I want to terrorize them. I want to make them hurt. But pitchers don't want to see me or any of our guys right now," Gibson told Sam McManis of the Los Angeles Times. "I come into the dugout and say, 'I want more runs.' You can't ever be comfortable. When you're going through a streak like we are, you want to get as many runs as you can. You can tell by the look in our eyes."
Thanks to their hot week, the Dodgers opened up a 2½ game lead over the Astros in the National League West.
Dodger Batter of the Week: Virtually the entire offense was a candidate this week, but Steve Sax hit .632 (12-for-19) and reached base 17 of 24 times up during the week. Sax entered the week hitting .205 with a .256 on-base percentage, and ended the week hitting .284 with a 351 on-base percentage. Sax also stole five bases without getting caught, and has been successful in all eight steal attempts this season.
Honorable mention goes to Gibson, who hit three home runs, stole two bases, scored 11 runs and drove in seven; and to Marshall, who hit three home runs of his own and had nine RBI.
Dodger Pitcher of the Week: For allowing just one run in nine innings during the week, including a scoreless two innings of relief on Saturday, Tim Leary takes the award this week. Leary struck out six and walked none.
Honorable mention goes to Fernando Valenzuela, who allowed two runs in a complete game win over the Cardinals on Friday in St. Louis.
Week 5 Record: 5-1
51 runs scored (8.50 per game)
24 runs allowed (4.50 per game)
.799 pythagorean winning percentage
Seasonal Record: 18-9
136 runs scored (5.04 per game)
90 runs allowed (3.33 per game)
.680 pythagorean winning percentage (18-9)
Moving on up: Mike Davis signed a two-year, $1.95 million free agent contract with the Dodgers over the winter. But the slugger got off to a sluggish start to his Dodger career. After hitting .274 with 65 home runs over the last three years in Oakland, Davis was hitting just .176/.286/.209 through the first 21 games of the season. But that was hitting mostly sixth and seventh. Davis was moved up to second in the batting order Monday against the Pirates, and hit .391 (9-for-23) during the week with two doubles and a triple.
"I think it's a good move for him," hitting coach Ben Hines told the Times. "He'll get to see more fastballs, which is a good idea. Also, a guy who hits second has to discipline himself more. You have to think about protecting runners and moving them over."
Officially perturbed: In Monday's win over the Pirates, starter Don Sutton was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning and the Dodgers up 5-3. Alejandro Pena got out of the jam and pitched two scoreless frames in a game won by the Dodgers 6-3. But Jesse Orosco, who pitched the final 2⅓ innings of the game, also scoreless, got the win instead of Pena. Per MLB rule 10.17(b)(2), Orosco was deemed by official scorer Wayne Monroe to have been the more effective relief pitcher and awarded the win at the scorer's discretion.
That decision did not sit well with Tim Leary, who was sitting in the press box charting the game from above.
"Leary felt that Pena should have been awarded the win and Orosco the save," wrote McManis of the Times, who deemed Leary's altercation with Monroe a verbal assault. "So, he approached Monroe and engaged the official scorer, who is employed by the National League, in a 5-minute shouting match. Monroe did not reverse his decision."
Transactions: none this week
- Monday, May 2: Dodgers 6, Pirates 3
- Tuesday, May 3: Dodgers 14, Pirates 6
- Wednesday, May 4: Dodgers 8, Pirates 5
- Friday, May 6: Dodgers 10, Cardinals 2
- Saturday, May 7: Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1
- Sunday, May 8: Dodgers 12, Cardinals 6
Week 5 Stats