LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers didn't exactly bust
out of their hitting slump. All they needed were a few well-placed
bloopers when it counted most.
Marquis Grissom atoned for a critical error with a game-tying
RBI double in the eighth, and pinch-hitter Chad Kreuter singled
home the go-ahead run two batters later as the Dodgers beat the
Montreal Expos 4-3 Thursday night after getting shut out in their
previous two games.
"That's the sign of hopefully good things to come," Grissom
said. "When you get those kind of hits, sometimes they shake you
up and turn the team around. We've got to keep swinging the bats
and make the pitcher beat our whole lineup, not just one or two
Expos right-hander Tomo Ohka, who had not pitched more than 7
1/3 innings in any of his 42 previous major league starts, took a
3-2 lead into the eighth before giving up the tying run on a couple
of soft hits. He left after throwing 123 pitches.
"He showed me he still had enough, and he made pitches in the
eighth inning to get hitters out. There's nothing you can do about
what happened to him," Montreal manager Frank Robinson said.
"It was just an unfortunate inning. You just have to keep your
head up and understand that you did what you had to do, but it just
didn't work out."
Ohka (3-3) struck out Hiram Bocachica and departed after giving
up 11 hits in 7 2-3 innings. He was charged with all four Dodgers
runs after Graeme Lloyd came in and gave up a bloop RBI single to
Kreuter on an 0-2 pitch.
"He pitched very well out there tonight and he deserved
better," Robinson said of Ohka.
"It was a very strong outing. You need to be rewarded when you
pitch like that, and it just didn't happen. He needs to take a lot
of positives out of that, just take that into his next start and do
the same thing, and he'll be all right."
Kreuter came through with his clutch hit while batting for Omar
Daal (4-0), who earned the victory in relief of Kevin Brown with
two perfect innings. Eric Gagne got three outs for his 13th save in
Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the first inning for
the Expos, who lost their fourth straight and eighth in a row on
Brown allowed three runs, seven hits and no walks in six innings
while striking out five. Two of the runs were unearned, the result
of errors by third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder
Grissom, a four-time Gold Glove winner.
Guerrero put the Expos ahead 2-0 in the first with his 13th
homer, sending Brown's 1-2 pitch an estimated 437 feet off the
canvas at the base of the TV cameraman's tower in center field. The
homer came after Jose Vidro reached on Beltre's two-base throwing
The Dodgers, who began the day tied for the best fielding
percentage in the NL, committed their second error in the sixth
when Grissom misplayed Lee Stevens' single to center. Vidro was
held up at third, but continued home when the ball got away from
Grissom to make it 3-1.
Another former Expo, Mark Grudzielanek, erased Grissom's blunder
in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff homer. It was the
Dodgers' first home run since Brian Jordan's solo shot off
Florida's Ryan Dempster last Sunday.
The Dodgers ended their 18-inning scoring drought in the first
when Beltre doubled and scored on Karros' single. It was their
first run since Jeff Reboulet's game-winning pinch-hit RBI single
in the 13th on Monday night.
The Dodgers scored only three runs in 34 innings before the
two-run rally in the eighth. It was only the second time in 16
games that they scored more than three runs. ... Grissom started in
center for Dave Roberts, who missed his fourth straight game
because of a strained right quadriceps. ... Jordan, who has missed
the last three games with a lower back strain, said he will have an
MRI exam Friday to determine whether he will have to go on the
disabled list. ... Shawn Green grounded into his major
league-leading 12th double play. The Dodgers have grounded into 51
double plays, also the most in the majors. ... The Expos acquired
switch-hitting utilityman Jose Macias from Detroit for 3B Chris
Truby, and sent OF Lou Collier outright to Triple-A Ottawa. Collier
was designated for assignment May 11 when Montreal signed free
agent Wil Cordero. ... Vidro extended his hitting streak to 12
games, two shy of his career best.