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Hundley hits three-run homer in eighth inning

4/18/2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Perhaps now the fans at Dodger Stadium will
stop booing Todd Hundley.

Hundley capped a four-run eighth with a three-run, pinch-hit
homer as Los Angeles capitalized on a bullpen missing injured
closer Trevor Hoffman and beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 Thursday
night.

"I know what my role is. And knowing what your role is makes a
huge difference,'' said Hundley, who was reacquired by Los Angeles
in December.

Hundley wasn't too popular the first time he was with the
Dodgers. Because of several nagging injuries, he never captured the
swing that enabled him to break the single-season record for home
runs by a catcher in 1996 with the New York Mets.

And his struggles with throwing out baserunners also made him a
popular target of the L.A. fans. That acrimony resurfaced after he
was reacquired in a multiplayer trade with the Chicago Cubs for
popular first baseman Eric Karros, who had hit more homers than any other L.A. Dodger.

"Todd's a friend. I mean, it wasn't nice to see him hit that
home run to beat us, but seeing the crowd cheer for him made me
feel good,'' said Padres reliever Matt Herges, a former Dodger
teammate. "He's pretty special to me. I know he had it even worse
in Chicago.''

Fred McGriff's leadoff double in the fourth was the Dodgers'
last hit until Shawn Green and Brian Jordan opened the eighth with
singles against Jesse Orosco, who will turn 46 years old next
Monday.

Orosco retired McGriff on a popup before Jaret Wright (1-2) came
on and struck out Adrian Beltre. The Dodgers were four outs away
from getting shut out by the Padres for the seventh time in their
last 23 meetings, but Daryle Ward delivered an RBI single for Los
Angeles' first run -- ending an 0-for-20 start by Dodgers
pinch-hitters.

"We're working as hard as we can to come off the bench and get
one big hit with one at-bat,'' Ward said. "I felt good up there,
and when you feel good, a lot of times good things happen.''

Hundley, batting for Cesar Izturis, then drove a 1-2 pitch into
the vacant pavilion in right-center for his first homer since
rejoining the Dodgers.

"I just tried to hit it hard and not do too much with it,
really,'' said Hundley, who had never faced Wright before. "The
previous pitch was a nasty back-door slider and I figured that was
going to be his out pitch with me. But he missed a little bit over
the plate with the next one and I was able to hit it hard.''

Troy Brohawn (1-0) recorded the victory with an inning of
one-hit relief. Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in as many attempts.

Adam Eaton allowed three hits over six scoreless innings and
Rondell White homered for the fifth time in seven games for the
Padres.

Eaton struck out six, walked five and drove in the Padres' first
run with a second-inning double. He stranded three runners at third
base, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by retiring McGriff
on a bouncer to the mound after walking three batters.

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.42 ERA in 10 starts since
undergoing Tommy John surgery last Aug. 21 to replace a damaged
ligament in his elbow.

"Our starter absolutely dominated,'' Herges said. "That's what
really hurts. He didn't deserve that fate.''

Mark Loretta's first-inning single was the Padres' only other
hit against Darren Dreifort through the first 5 2/3 innings.

The right-hander retired 12 consecutive batters after Eaton's
hit. Ryan Klesko broke the string with a two-out single in the
sixth, and White drove the next pitch into the left field pavilion.

Dreifort walked two and struck out seven, including White, Sean
Burroughs and Xavier Nady on 17 pitches during a 1-2-3 fourth. But
he still couldn't get that elusive first victory against the
Padres. Dreifort is 0-6 with a 5.16 ERA in 11 career starts against
San Diego -- the only NL team he has never defeated.

Game notes
Padres C Gary Bennett, who turned 31 on Thursday, was
placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained his right
knee following Wednesday night's violent home plate collision with
the Dodgers' Brian Jordan. Michael Rivera was called up from
Triple-A Portland to serve as backup to Wiki Gonzalez. ... When the
Dodgers begin a road trip at Cincinnati next Tuesday, McGriff will
try to add to his major league-record list of 42 ballparks in which
he has homered. Cleveland's Ellis Burks has homered in 41 different
parks.