Dodgers 5, Indians 2

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Once Milton Bradley arrogantly loosened his gloves, Paul Lo Duca and the Dodgers seemed ready to drop theirs.

Andy Ashby got his first win this season as Dave Ross homered and drove in three runs Saturday, leading Los Angeles to its fifth straight win, a testy 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Beyond the score, the game featured some heated trash talk and gesturing between Bradley and Lo Duca, who were wired with microphones for TV.

Lo Duca and the Dodgers were irritated when Bradley homered in the fourth inning and quickly peeled back the straps on his batting gloves on his way to first.

“Milton’s too good a player to be doing that,” said Lo Duca, who extended his hitting streak to 22 games. “I probably overreacted a little bit. The guy can play. I just think he just goes a little overboard.”

Bradley had a different take on why Lo Duca was so upset.

“I guess he feels bad that my numbers are better than his and I spent two weeks on the DL,” Bradley said. “I knew he had a problem with the way I was playing. But that’s what I do.”

Ashby (1-4) had dropped his past eight decisions and hadn’t won since Aug. 18 last season. The right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in five innings.

The Lo Duca-Bradley sideshow overshadowed a solid performance by Ashby and Wilson Alvarez, who pitched four shutout innings for his first save this season. The Dodgers gave Eric Gagne, second in the majors with 25 saves, the day off after he pitched four straight days.

Ross hit a two-run homer in the sixth for the Dodgers, who have won 15 of 20 on the road.

Lo Duca and Bradley began their verbal sparring in the fourth inning after the Dodgers took a 3-1 lead off Brian Tallet (0-1) on an RBI single by No. 9 hitter Cesar Izturis.

Bradley led off the bottom half with his fifth homer. After connecting, he loosened his gloves as he headed toward first, a move he normally makes but one that irked the Dodgers.

“A lot of guys took offense to that,” Brian Jordan said. “It was like he hit a World Series homer or something.”

The war of words escalated an inning later.

When Jody Gerut singled, Lo Duca, playing first because Fred McGriff was out with a groin strain, told the Indians rookie right fielder that Bradley had better be careful.

“He’s going to get killed,” Lo Duca said he told Gerut. “If he does that with a veteran guy a la (Kevin) Brown out there, he’s going to get killed. That’s all I was saying.”

Moments after Lo Duca’s chat with Gerut, Bradley struck out looking to end the inning.

As Bradley argued with plate umpire Mark Carlson about strike three, Lo Duca hollered “Take your gloves off for that one” toward Bradley.

On his way out to the field, Bradley, who has earned a reputation for showboating, ripped off the microphone he had been wearing.

Bradley insisted he was not trying to show up the Dodgers.

“I don’t have any disrespect for the Dodgers,” said Bradley, who is from Los Angeles.

Lo Duca, however, tried to make Bradley look silly in the seventh and his plan backfired.

Lo Duca led off with a double—extending the Dodgers’ longest hitting streak since 1991—and tried to go to third on Shawn Green’s fly ball to medium-deep center as Bradley threw the ball back in.

But shortstop Jhonny Peralta alertly fired to third to get Lo Duca. As he walked to the Dodgers’ bench, Bradley waved toward Lo Duca, who went to the top step of the dugout to continue their running argument.

“I think he embarrassed himself,” Bradley said. “Maybe he thought I would be lackadaisical.”

Lo Duca said he was simply trying to take an extra base.

“I was just trying to catch him sleeping,” he said.

Earlier this season, Bradley angered the Kansas City Royals with some postgame comments. He was also pulled from a game and benched for another by manager Eric Wedge for not hustling and arguing with Wedge in the dugout.

Bradley has often said he’s misunderstood, and that was his stance this time, too.

“I live by a simple creed,” he said. “If you don’t know me and I don’t know you, don’t approach me and I won’t approach you. Don’t insult me and Iwon’t insult you because you don’t know what I will or won’t do.”

Notes

Brett Butler hit in 23 straight games for the Dodgers in ’91. … Jordan stole his first base since July 22 last season, swiping third base in the second. … The Indians have lost three straight games. … Tallet gives the Indians four left-handed starters. It’s the first time Cleveland has had four lefties in the rotation since August 1985, when Neal Heaton, Curt Wardle,Ramon Romero and Bryan Clark all started.

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