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Dotel Paces Mets Over Dodgers


Rookie Octavio Dotel made it a horrible homecoming for Todd Hundley.

Dotel bounced back from his worst performance in the majors with his best showing, striking out 10 Friday night and leading the surging New York Mets over the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 for their fifth-straight win.

While the Mets improved to 17-4 since the All-Star break, Los Angeles lost for the 13th time in 17 games.

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Game Summary

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  • Back at Shea Stadium for the first time since being traded in a three-team swap Dec. 1, Hundley got a nice ovation from the fans in his first at-bat and raised his helmet.

    But it quickly went downhill for the former All-Star catcher. Hundley struck out swinging in his first three trips against Dotel before drawing a walk in the ninth inning from Armando Benitez.

    "Obviously, if I could have written the script, I'd hit four grand slams," Hundley said. "I'd much rather it have a different outcome."

    "But it's not the first time, and it won't be the last that I go up there and get the hat trick," he said.

    Hundley, like the rest of his teammates, spent the night chasing high fastballs. And Hundley, who caught Dotel last year at Triple-A Norfolk while on a rehabilitation assignment, was surprised the 23-year-old righty threw his breaking ball for strikes.

    Dotel (4-1) allowed three hits and one run on a bases-loaded balk in seven innings. Featuring a fastball in the mid-90s mph, he set a career high for strikeouts.

    In his previous outing, Dotel was tagged for nine runs on four hits and five walks in only two innings by the Chicago Cubs. Against the Dodgers, though, he looked every bit like the pitcher who went 55-25 in the minors and fanned 17 for Nrfolk this season.

    "Sometimes you just have a bad day. And after that bad day, I just threw it away," Dotel said. "Between starts I worked on keeping my shoulder closed, and that's why I was able to throw strikes."

    Dennis Cook relieved to start the eighth and Mark Grudzielanek doubled with two outs. Turk Wendell then took over and retired pinch-hitter Gary Sheffield on an easy popup.

    Benitez pitched the ninth for his 12th save. Eric Karros blooped a single with one out and Hundley walked, but Raul Mondesi and Adrian Beltre struck out to end the game.

    The Mets won despite getting only four hits. The Dodgers had five.

    A crowd of 43,825 on Hispanic Night saw the Mets return from a 5-1 road trip that moved them past Atlanta in the NL East. Subway conductors announced "Shea Stadium, home of the first-place Mets" as the No. 7 trains approached the station.

    Chan Ho Park (6-9) gave up just four hits in seven innings, yet still slipped to 0-2 in his last four starts.

    Park, who began the night batting .086 this year, singled with two outs in the third and the Dodgers loaded the bases on a hit batter and walk. Park began dancing off the bag and was waved home when Dotel made a slight twitch, prompting plate umpire Bill Hohn to call a balk. The Mets did not argue.

    Roger Cedeno, one of the players involved in the Hundley deal, singled with one out in the third. With Hundley behind the plate, Cedeno easily stole second and third giving him a major league-leading 54 and scored on Edgardo Alfonzo's sacrifice fly.

    Robin Ventura doubled in the fourth, moved up on Darryl Hamilton's sacrifice and scored on Benny Agbayani's fly for a 2-1 lead.

    Notes

  • Ventura extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He has seven homers and 14 RBIs in that span.
  • Hamilton also doubled and walked in his home debut for the Mets. New York got him from Colorado last Saturday.
  • The Dodgers and Mets played for the first time this season.
  • Benitez was also part of the Hundley trade, coming from Baltimore.
  • Hundley has thrown out only 14 of 89 base stealers.
  • Umpire Tom Hallion barely made it to the ballpark in time. The car service driver mistakenly took him to Yankee Stadium instead of Shea.

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

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