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Brown Knocks Mets Out Of 1st


The Dodgers' current "Bulldog" outdueled the former one.

Kevin Brown allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings before leaving with a blister and Los Angeles knocked the New York Mets out of first place, beating Orel Hershiser 9-2 Monday night in a matchup of present and past Dodgers aces.

Brown (13-6) went out to the mound starting the eighth, then had a brief conference with the Dodgers' trainer before manager Davey Johnson changed pitchers.

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  • "I could have stayed out there. It would have been a little tough to make pitches, but it was a situation in the game where we had the lead and Davey didn't want to take the chance of making worse," said Brown, who developed the blister on his right pinky in the third inning.

    Brown won his fourth straight decision as the Dodgers took three of four from the Mets. He struck out three and walked one in improving to 2-3 against New York.

    The only hits off Brown were fourth-inning singles by John Olerud and Robin Ventura. Brown allowed only two runners to reach third base.

    New York, which had led the NL East since Aug. 2, dropped one-half game behind Atlanta, which beat Houston 5-3. The Mets have lost three straight for the first time since an eight-game skid that ended June 6.

    "Brown moved the ball around pretty good, we had a couple of good swings against him," Mets outfielder Benny Agbayani said. "But he's a tough customer."

    A decade ago, Hershiser (11-9) was the Dodgers' resident tough customer. Nicknamed "Bulldog" for his tenacious, gritty pitching style while dominating the National League in the lte 1980s with Los Angeles, Hershiser allowed three runs, six hits and five walks in five innings.

    "Kevin's a great pitcher and he's given up runs before," Hershiser said. "Just not tonight."

    Hershiser was bothered by a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand, and Mets manager Bobby Valentine decided not to send him out for the sixth.

    Mark Grudzielanek went 3-for-5 with an RBI triple, a single and two runs scored, and Eric Karros went 2-for-4 with four RBIs in support of Brown. Karros had eight RBIs in the final two games of the series.

    Los Angeles took a 2-0 lead in the first. Grudzielanek led off with a sharp single, Jose Vizcaino walked and, one out later, Karros and Devon White hit RBI singles.

    Hershiser battled back, striking out Raul Mondesi. After a wild pitch and walk to Todd Hundley loaded the bases, Hershiser got Adrian Beltre to pop out.

    Los Angeles got to Hershiser again in the third for a run. With the bases loaded, Hundley hit a sharp grounder to first that Olerud knocked down as the run scored.

    Hershiser intentionally walked Beltre to again load the bases, but Brown grounded to third.

    The Dodgers made it 6-0 in the sixth. Grudzielanek had a RBI triple off reliever Billy Taylor and Karros hit a two-run double off Turk Wendell.

    Karros added a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and Edgardo Alfonzo hit a sacrifice fly off Pedro Borbon in the bottom half.

    "We haven't had too many highlights this season," Johnson said. "But this is the hottest team in baseball and we came in here and played great against them, so that's encouraging."

    Notes

  • Valentine said reliever Billy Taylor was upset about the death of 22-year-old Ben Jackson, a Thomas College (Ga.) pitcher who was struck by lightning and killed during a game in Thomasville on Sunday. Valentine said Taylor had tutored Jackson for 13 years. Taylor was unavailable for comment.
  • The Mets placed right-hander Rick Reed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained ligament of the middle finger of his throwing hand. The eam called up right-hander Dan Murray from Triple-A Norfolk, where he was 11-7 with a 4.92 ERA. Murray made his major league debut, pitching the eighth and ninth.
  • Brown has pitched 904 innings since the start of the 1996 season, most in the majors. His 64 wins since 1996 are second-best in the majors, one behind Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux.
  • In his last two outings, covering one inning, Taylor has allowed five earned runs.
  • The sight of a position player such as Mets infielder Matt Franco pitching the ninth inning Sunday in New York's 14-3 loss to Los Angeles is a rare sight in the majors, but it's almost common for Norfolk. Kevin Baez, Tony Darden, Todd Haney, Garrett Neubart and Andy Tomberlin, all position players, have pitched for the Tides this season.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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