Robles Lights up the Night in Colorado

Oscar Robles, who missed the cut in spring training and by contract had to report back to the Mexico City Reds, banged out five hits Monday night, the fifth driving in the winning run. When the injury bug decimated the Dodger outfield, the club bought him back from Mexico where he was hitting .390, for $200,000, a number some questioned since he was hitting .194 for L.A. at the deadline of the keep or cut decision. No one questions the decision now. He boosted his average from .184 to .353.

Jeff Weaver worked another quality start, allowing five hits and two earned runs over seven innings but left trailing 3-0. Kelly Wunsch, Duaner Sanchez, Giovanni Carrara (6-2) and Yhency Brazoban (save 16) smothered the Rockie bats, allowing three hits over the final five innings.

Much of the hitting during the early part of the game came from the pitchers. The Dodgers struck three Rockies (Sullivan, Hawpe, Helton) and the Rockies nailed one Dodger (Kent).

Robles, filling in for the crippled Cesar Izturis and his pulled hamstring, stroked a singled to open the game. His swing reminds many of Brett Butler's talent for taking the outside pitch to left field.

But he was erased on a double play but then there was a bit of excitement in the first inning when Rockies pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim hit Jeff Kent with a pitch. Kent and Kim conversed for a moment, then Kent attempted to go out and talk face to face but was discouraged by the home plate umpire.

Immediately both benches jogged out to join the conversation and the two bullpens strolled all the way to home plate just to take part in the impromptu town hall meeting but after much discussion and a little pushing and shoving, both sides tired of the exercise and retired to their own respective dugout/bullpen.

The Thriller in the Rockies it wasn't.

Jeff Weaver hit leadoff man Cory Sullivan in the last of the first. He stole second and scored on an Aaron Miles single for a quick 1-0 lead.

Weaver, after allowing the first inning run, retired nine in a row with only one ball being hit out of the infield. Then, suddenly. Todd Helton scorched a shot off Olmedo Saenz's glove at first for a single and Preston Wilson banged a shot that might have rolled into Wyoming had it not been confined by the Coors Field wall.

Wilson steamed into third with a triple, scoring Helton before him. Weaver wriggled out of the jam, inducing a ground ball to the drawn-in infield, a soft fly to center and a strikeout.
<>br> However neat it was, Colorado led 2-0.

The Dodgers broke the quiet time during their times at bat in the third when Jason Repko singled and moved to third before he expired and in the fourth when Saenz doubled with one out and did not advance a step from that point.

In the fifth, with two out, Weaver broke his bat on a ball that bounced to the shortstop. But the large end of the bat spun out to the mound and struck Kim a glancing blow in the leg.

Weaver was at it again inn the fifth, giving up a one-out bunt single (if Robles looked like Butler, Perez didn't look like Beltre fielding the bunt), a double and handing Todd Helton an intentional pass to fill the base. Weaver calmly struck out Wilson and popped up Garrett Atkins.

Robles Butlered a single in the top of the sixth, this time into right field but he was forced at second by Perez. Kent hit a high pop into the windy Colorado night and by the time it stopped blowing toward the pitchers mound it outdistanced shortstop Desi Relaford, dropping for a 60-foot single.

Robles, hugging first, had to dash toward second and remarkably, he made it due to Relaford fumbling the ball on the ground in an attempt to grab it's handle.

Saenz fanned for the second out and Jayson Werth, troubled by the side-arming Kim, took a strike on the inside corner, another on the outside corner, then struck out on a checked swing.

Once again, Weaver tested his ability to escape from disaster. With one out, he hit Relaford and threw a double-play ball into centerfield. The he got Eddie Garabito to hit into a force at second base and suddenly his luck ran out.

Garabito broke for second based and Jason Phillips threw to second, Relaford taking off for home. Kent was unable to head him off at the plate, tagging Garabito instead after the run scored.

David Cortes replaced Kim and promptly gave up a single to Phillips and handing Jason Grabowski a four-pitch walk. Repko sliced a single past Hilton at first and the Dodgers had the bases full with none out.

Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle then granted Cortes the rest of the evening off and called Bobby Seay to the mound in an attempt to thwart the Dodger rally.

Hee-Seop Choi was recalled from the plate and recently recalled Chin-Feng Chen was sent up to bat in his place. He ran the count full, then bounced a shot up the middle to score Phillips and Grabowski.

It was Chen's first major league hit and run batted in and awakened the large number of Dodger fans in attendance.

Robles quickly shot his third single of the night to right to tie the game, then Perez bunted and nearly beat the play at first but moving both runners into scoring position.

Kent was walked intentionally and again the bases were full.

Former Dodger minor leaguer Marcos Carvajal, obtained b the Rockies from the Dodgers in the Rule V draft, became the third pitcher of the inning for Colorado and faced Olmedo Saenz. It took him only one pitch to coax a double play ball out of him to end the inning.

Kelly Wunch took over in the last of the seventh and retired the first Rockie but then allowed a single to Miles and hit Helton. Duaner Sanchez hustled in from the bullpen and ended the inning with a strikeout and a fly to center.

Carvajal outmatched the Dodgers in the eighth, demonstrating the remarkable talent he had shown while in the Los Angeles system. He quickly fanned a trio of Ja[y]sons: Werth, Phillips and Grabowski.

Brad Hawpe tagged Sanchez for a double to lead off he bottom of the eighth but he retired the next two batters before Colorado sent up another former Dodger minor leaguer, Jorge Piedra, to hit for Carvajal and Sanchez got him to a popup.

With two out in the top of the ninth, Robles slammed a double into left-center for his fourth hit of the game, a career high. Perez walked and that brought up Kent, who had been loudly booed each at-bat after he was hit by a pitch in the first. He bounced gently to short and was thrown out.

Giovanni Carrara came in to pitch the last of the ninth for Los Angeles. He broke the first rule in the pitcher's handbook by walking Sullivan. Miles, who had three previous hits, flew to left field and Helton slammed a bullet to right that Grabowski handled easily.

That brought up Wilson, who's triple in the third chased across the Rockies' second run. He caught a 71-miles-per-hour curveball an drove it to the base of the centerfield wall where Jason Repko pulled in beside the 415-foot sign.

Moving into the first extra-inning game of the season in Coors Field, Dodger fans took heart in the fact that Los Angeles had been 4-1 in extra innings and 4-0 on the road. Colorado was 0-2, both away from home.

Both teams went out quietly in the 10th but Grabowski singled to open the 11th and Repko bunted him to second. Mike Edwards hit for Carrara and bounced to short, Grabowski moving to third.

Robles ripped his fifth hit of the game up the middle to give the Dodgers their first lead of the night, 4-3. Perez walked and Kent had another chance to give the Dodgers a little cushion but he lofted to right to end the inning.

Yhency Brazoban came in to finish things off and retired three Rockies in succession, the third one coming on a smash up the middle that Kent flagged, turned and nailed with an off-balance throw.

Dodger Blue Notes--"I've never seen anything like it," Dodger Manager told us before the first game in Colorado. "And the players injured are for the most part our front-liners. But then again, to be only five games behind at this point is very positive." He said he was going to be extremely cautions of Cesar Izturis and his sore hamstring, "this is the wrong park to take chances in," he said. And what could be done to help? "I told the team in a meeting before we came onto the field that we had just seven games before the all-star break and we had to go out on the field and win all seven of them if possible." …The Dodgers purchased the contract of outfielder Chin-Feng Chen from Las Vegas to take the place of J.D. Drew on the active roster. Chen, who holds the dubious honor of with 10 home runs and 47 RBI in 61 games. Catcher Paul Bako was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. …Izturis and Kent join an illustrious group of Dodger middle infielders to be selected the same year. The list includes Bill Russell and Davey Lopes (1980), Maury Wills and Jim Lefebvre (1966), Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson (1949-52), Reese and Eddie Stanky (1947), Reese and Billy Herman (1942) abd the initial pair, Leo Durocher and Pete Coscarart (1940). …

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