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GAGNE, DODGERS BLOW UP DODGERS LOSE BIG LEAD IN 13-INNING LOSS TO REDS CINCINNATI 6, DODGERS 4.

Byline: Brian Dohn Staff Writer

CINCINNATI - Dodgers closer Eric Gagne said he loves the adrenalin rush he gets from closing.

However, that charge exploded in the midst of the Dodgers blowing a four- run lead in the ninth inning en route to a 6-4 loss to Cincinnati in 13 innings Thursday at Cinergy Field.

In a wild, stunning turn of events, Gagne was ejected after allowing a two-run homer to Aaron Boone, which cut the Dodgers 4-0 lead in half. Gagne hit Cincinnati's Adam Dunn on his left arm below the shoulder with his next pitch and was ejected by home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna.

Gagne exploded and argued with Iassogna, needing to be restrained by teammates and turning back several times to argue before walking off the field and throwing his hat into the dugout.

Dodgers manager Jim Tracy raced to keep his closer out of trouble, then was ejected for arguing.

When it all settled on the field, the Reds rallied for two more runs on Jason La Rue's two-out double off Giovanni Carrara and won it on Ken Griffey Jr.'s two-run homer off Omar Daal in the 13th inning.

``I don't know what to say really, other than the fact, in my opinion, that was the grossest error in judgment in quite possibly the history of the game,'' Tracy said. ``I mean, that decision there in the ninth inning suggests nothing more than a situation where a guy I was looking upon as a solid young umpire just making a gross, gross, error in judgment in a lack of understanding of the situation of the game that's in front of him.

``We're not trying to hit Adam Dunn. Are you kidding me?''

Iassogna, listed in the media guide as a Triple-A umpire with major-league experience, stood by his decision.

``One of the things major-league baseball has put an emphasis on is situations that involve pitchers intentionally throwing at batters,'' Iassogna said. ``A particular emphasis comes after a home run, and we had a home run that cut the lead in half. And then Gagne threw a fastball high - head high, over the shoulders, shoulder high - right at Dunn, who was the next batter (on) the next pitch right after a home run. So I immediately ejected him.''

Though television replays appeared to show Gagne and Iassogna making contact with one another during the argument, Iassogna said he would not file a report with Major League Baseball because he didn't believe there was intent to bump.

However, Bob Watson, baseball's head disciplinarian, is likely to take a look at the incident and could rule on a suspension or fine.

``It's a joke. It's not even funny,'' Gagne said. ``I had no idea what (Iassogna) was thinking. There was no intent. Are they going to fine me because I missed my spot? You've got to go in on (Dunn). Everybody knows that. That's how you pitch him.''

The Dodgers were incensed at the mere mention Gagne would throw at Dunn with a 4-2 lead and none out in the ninth. Dunn echoed those sentiments when asked if he believed Gagne, who had hit one batter and walked six this season, threw at him.

``No. Absolutely not,'' Dunn said. ``The situation, and why would he want to? He wouldn't want to hit me.''

Prior to the ejection, Iassogna said no warnings were issued. However, he added Major League Baseball gives him the right to eject pitchers for throwing at players even when no warnings were given.

``Obviously, it's a brutal call,'' said Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca, who didn't start but entered the game in the 12th inning. ``I understand he's trying to justify after a home run. But if you know anything about baseball, you don't make that call. It's a horrible call. We're trying to hit a guy to get to the winning run? It's so ridiculous, it's asinine.''

Not only could it have long-reaching affects on Gagne if Watson sides with Iassogna and issues a fine or suspension, but it also left the Dodgers scrambling to finish what turned into a crushing defeat.

Paul Quantrill relieved and allowed a single to Austin Kearns. Lefty Jesse Orosco relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Ken Griffey Jr. and got Reggie Taylor to ground out. Giovanni Carrara, the fourth pitcher used in the inning, allowed a two-run double to Jason LaRue as the Reds tied it 4-4 before Griffey Jr. belted the winning homer off Daal, who was supposed to start today in Philadelphia but will not.

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) The Dodgers' Eric Gagne, second from right, has to be restrained after he was ejected by home-plate umpire Dan Iassogna in the ninth inning.

David Kohl/Associated Press

(2) The Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. points to the sky after hitting a game-winning two-run homer in the 13th inning.

Al Behrman/Associated Press
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 2, 2002
Words:815
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