GIANTS DELIVER BLOW TO THE HEAD KENT, BONDS LEAVE GAME AFTER BEING HIT BY PITCHES SAN FRANCISCO 2, DODGERS 0.
For roughly the gazillionth time in a storied rivalry that has played out on two coasts and in parts of three centuries, everything came to a head between the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants on Sunday night.
Specifically, Jeff Kent's head.
In the bottom of the seventh inning of a game the Dodgers eventually would lose 2-0 to the Giants before 47,024 fans at Dodger Stadium, San Francisco right-hander Brad Hennessey unleashed what he later said was a changeup. It struck the left side of Kent's helmet where the bill meets the dome, left the veteran second baseman writhing on the ground for several foggy minutes and ultimately sent him to a local hospital for a precautionary CT scan.
Kent suffered a mild concussion and a bruise to his left temple, but the scan otherwise came back normal. He will see an ophthalmologist today because he initially had blurred vision in his left eye, but that had largely subsided by the time he got to the clubhouse.
A few minutes after Kent's beaning, when the Dodgers had failed to capitalize on his misfortune and left the bases loaded, noted antihero Barry Bonds stepped into the box to lead off the top of the eighth. Two pitches later, he, too, was struck by a pitch, on the heavily padded section of his right arm, and reliever Tim Hamulack became the first Dodgers player to be ejected this season when plate umpire Lance Barksdale immediately gave him the boot.
"I was trying to go away, but it just stayed inside," a dumbfounded Hamulack later said.
Dodgers manager Grady Little argued that there was no intent and pointed out there had been no warning issued after Kent was hit. But it didn't matter much, because whenever the Dodgers play the Giants, the natural instinct is to assume the worst.
"(Barksdale) told me he thought (Hamulack) threw the pitch purposefully, but that's not the case," Little said. "Barry hangs out over the plate. Ideally, what we wanted to do was go in, away, in, away. But one just hit him on the pad there."
Giants manager Felipe Alou tap-danced around the question of whether he thought Hamulack intentionally hit Bonds, who left for a pinch runner at that point after going 0for 2 with a walk.
"We have a tremendous relationship with the Dodgers," Alou said. "We had a good relationship when Jim Tracy was the manager, and we have a chance to have an even better one now with Grady Little, (coaches) Mariano Duncan and Dave Jauss.
"We know each other. We don't accept pitchers throwing at hitters."
It was merely the craziest moment in a typically crazy Dodgers-Giants matchup, one in which the home team was done in by a rare second-to- short-to-third double play, its repeated failure to hit with runners in scoring position and, perhaps, a fateful managerial decision by Little immediately after Kent was plunked.
With the Dodgers trailing 2-0 and having done little to speak of against Hennessey, who was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Fresno because he had allowed two runs in 13 career innings at Chavez Ravine, Little ordered Jose Cruz Jr. to bunt with J.D. Drew on second and Ramon Martinez, pinch running for Kent, on first.
Cruz executed the sacrifice perfectly. But that left first base open, allowing Hennessey to work around hot-hitting Bill Mueller, whom he "unintentionally" walked on four pitches. That loaded the bases with one out, but the Dodgers had light-hitting James Loney and slow-footed Dioner Navarro due up.
When Alou brought in right-hander Scott Munter to face the .182-hitting Loney, Little countered with the .231-hitting Ricky Ledee, a lefty, instead of over the .435-hitting, right-handed Olmedo Saenz. Ledee struck out, and Navarro flied to right, leaving the question forever unanswered of what would have happened if either Cruz, Mueller or both had been given the chance to hit.
"We're going to try to put them in those situations whenever we can," Little said. "We knew we were going to (pinch) hit behind Billy at that time. We just didn't get good results."
Questionable maneuvers maneuverings aside, though, the Dodgers (6-7) lost two of three to the Giants primarily because they scored a grand total of four runs in the series the Giants scored five while going 1 for 21 with runners in scoring position.
(1 -- color) San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds can't avoid getting hit by a pitch from the Dodgers' Tim Hamulack in the eighth inning.
(2 -- color) Ramon Martinez comes to the aid of Dodgers teammate Jeff Kent, who was struck in the head by a pitch from Giants starter Brad Hennessey in the seventh inning.
Andy Holzman/Staff photographer
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Apr 17, 2006|
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