Dodgers 5, Brewers 1
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Russell Martin has received a good number of curtain calls at Dodger Stadium during his brief big league career. None of them were like this one, however.
Martin tied a career high with four RBIs despite getting a home run call reversed, and Los Angeles beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 Wednesday night as Brad Penny stranded six runners in scoring position through seven scoreless innings.
In the final meeting of the season between the two division leaders, a bench-clearing incident took place in the bottom of the fifth. But no punches were thrown and order was quickly restored.
Third base umpire Sam Holbrook ruled that Martin’s towering drive down the left field line was a home run—then called it foul after conferring with his three partners following an argument with Brewers manager Ned Yost.
“It’s tough for those umpires to pick the ball up like that,” Yost said. “From my angle, it looked like it hooked in front of the pole. I just walked out there. I didn’t run, I didn’t go crazy. I just said. `I think you missed it. Can you get some help?’ He said, `Sure.’ I think every umpire wants to get the call right. It was a tough call.”
Martin, already back in the dugout after getting high-fives from his teammates, went back to the plate. Reliever Carlos Villanueva’s next pitch was a fastball that buzzed over his head.
“I wasn’t really sure if he was throwing at me,” Martin said. “I mean, you never really know. I know he’s got better command than that. So if he was trying to hit me, then he would have hit me, I think. There’s a difference between throwing at you and just making a statement, I guess.”
First base coach Mariano Duncan didn’t see it that way.
“For me to play the game for a while and now be a coach, I know exactly when somebody throws at somebody intentionally. He tried to show up Russell Martin and intimidate him,” Duncan said. “Russell’s the best player on our team right now, and we’ve got to do the best we can to protect every player on our team.”
Martin drew a walk, glared at Villanueva on his way to first base, then said something to first baseman Prince Fielder. The real acrimony began when Duncan started jawing back and forth with someone in the Milwaukee dugout—whom he later identified as Brewers first base coach Ed Sedar—and was held back by the 262-pound Fielder while the dugouts and bullpens emptied.
“He was the first guy I saw, but all of those guys were yelling at Russell because after he walked because he looked at the pitcher and made some comment,” Duncan said. “That’s when I started yelling, and then I heard Prince Fielder tell me to back off.
“I’ve got a great relationship with Fielder,” Duncan added. “I remember him when he was 14 years old and I was playing with his dad in New York, so I can’t believe that he was acting like that to me. But he knows that if he hit a home run that was questionable like that, then he came back to the plate and the pitcher threw a ball like that at him, I’m pretty sure that he would go out there and fight him—because I know his attitude.”
Penny (6-1) rebounded nicely from his worst outing of the season, scattering six hits after giving up eight runs over five innings in a 9-1 loss against the Angels last Friday at Anaheim. The right-hander struck out four, walked two and lowered his ERA to 2.26.
Chris Capuano (5-3) lost his third straight start, allowing four runs and eight hits over four innings with no walks and four strikeouts. The left-hander has given up 14 runs in 13 1-3 innings since pitching eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 win against Washington on May 7.
“He’s kind of fighting his command,” Yost said. “He’s not making good pitches in big situations. He labored through the whole four innings. They outplayed us and outpitched us. We didn’t do anything exceptionally well.”
Martin cleared the bases in the first inning with a double to the gap in right-center. Luis Gonzalez followed with a single after working the count to 3-2 against Capuano, who threw 32 pitches in the inning.
Martin is 7-for-11 against Capuano with a homer and seven RBIs.
“Some guys you see the ball well off of, and he’s just one of those guys I feel comfortable against when I’m at the plate,” Martin said. “I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear that.”
RHP Brett Tomko, 1-5 with a 6.28 ERA, has been demoted to the bullpen after giving up five runs and eight hits in Monday’s loss to Milwaukee. LHP Hong-Chi Kuo is the likely candidate to replace him in the rotation the next time the team needs a fifth starter, June 2 at Pittsburgh. … Wednesday marked exactly five years since the day the Dodgers tied a franchise record with nine home runs against the Brewers at Milwaukee—four of them by Shawn Green to tie a major league record.