|Bradley homers from both sides of the plate
||[Apr. 19th, 2005|01:40 am]
Dodgers win sixth straight.
Perez flirts with no-hitter, Bradley homers twice
MILWAUKEE -- Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the franchise's first championship, the Los Angeles Dodgers knew that 2005 would be a year to reminisce about history.
On Monday, the sizzling-hot Dodgers brought back memories of Sandy Koufax, Eddie Murray and the 1981 World Series team.
Odalis Perez flirted with a no-hitter, Milton Bradley homered twice to accomplish something the Dodgers haven't seen for 15 years and Los Angeles continued its torrid start to 2005, the best since that 1981 installment, winning 7-3 before 11,728 fans at Milwaukee's Miller Park on Monday.
Bradley went deep from both sides of the plate, something Murray last did for the Dodgers against San Diego in June of 1990, and the team found itself with a 10-2 mark to start the year, just shy of the 11-2 opening under Tommy Lasorda 24 seasons in the past.
"Milton very definitely has assumed the responsibility of leadership ... He is stepping up big time," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "He needs to do nothing further from the standpoint of leadership than to go out there and play the way he has thus far. He's made some terrific plays already, some big at-bats, he's a very talented player."
Perez (3-0) faced the minimum and allowed only a walk through the game's first six innings before Junior Spivey's run-scoring double with nobody out in the seventh put an end to the brush with history. The Brewers' second baseman lined a 3-2 pitch off the center field wall and scored Brady Clark, who had walked leading off the inning, cutting the Dodgers lead to 4-1.
"As a pitcher yes, of course, (you're thinking about it)," he said. "After five innings to not see any hits, you look up at the scoreboard and you see what's going on."
Including Koufax's four, the Dodgers have 10 no-hitters in franchise history.
Perez was removed two batters later in favor of right-hander Duaner Sanchez, who ran into trouble thereafter. After walking Damian Miller, Sanchez surrendered a smoked liner through Norihiro Nakamura's legs and down the right field line from Chris Magruder, which scored two runs after Jason Repko's fielding error compounded matters.
Nakamura atoned with an off-balance scoop at first to record the third out, and Perez finished having thrown 85 pitches through 6 1/3 innings, with two runs permitted on one hit and two walks with three strikeouts.
"He threw a lot of offspeed pitches in hitters' counts," Spivey said. "You couldn't really gear for a fastball in hitters' counts. You're used to a guy that, whenever he falls behind, he pitches off his fastball. It was kind of in reverse tonight. He was definitely pitching backwards against me. I saw a lot of 2-0 change-ups, 2-0 curveballs."
Cesar Izturis led off the third with a single against Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano (0-1), and Repko parked his third home run of the year over the left field wall. One pitch later, Bradley put a ball in almost the identical spot, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead and marking back-to-back Dodger home runs for the second straight day.
"I know if I was a pitcher, the first thing I would want to do is get ahead of the next guy, get an out right away," Bradley said. "I try not to think about the home run anymore. I've been the beneficiary of jumping on the guy early."
Olmedo Saenz brought another run across with a bloop single in the seventh, scoring Repko and making the lead 4-0 before the Brewers picked up three in the bottom half. But Bradley's 3-run bomb from the left side of the plate off reliever Ricky Bottalico in the ninth, his fourth dinger of the year, sealed matters.
"I really like the way we responded after we got a little sloppy in the seventh, which leads me to the offensive performances of Repko and Bradley tonight," Tracy said. "You can't look beyond the two-strike base hit Olmedo Saenz got, that was a hell of an at-bat right there. If he retires Olmedo, the occurrences that took place in the bottom half of the seventh tie the game, changes the momentum, changes the complexion of the game and instead of coming away from it with a one run lead, you're tied. Our starter just did a terrific job and we got base hits in key moments."
Repko finished with a career-high three hits, adding a double and single to his home run, as well as a stolen base and walk. Bradley's blast behind Repko's was the third occasion this year in which Bradley has been a part of back-to-back home runs, with Jeff Kent supplying the other half on April 15 and 17.
"I'm just excited to be here," the rookie outfielder said. "It's great. I can't control what's going to happen (on the roster when injured outfielder Jayson Werth returns), but I feel like I've proved I could play at this level and whenever they need me, I'll be ready. I'm taking it day by day right now, just trying to do what I can."