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The Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 bludgeoning of the New York Yankees yesterday at Chavez Ravine was everything a 1977 Dodgers' win was meant to be: brutally powerful and totally one-sided. Under manager Tommy LaSorda, the Dodgers are no longer the speed-and-fineesse team we came to know and love in the '60s. Now they prefer to hammer their way into our hearts.
Paced by Don Sutton's complete game and Steve Yeager's second home run of the Series, the Southern Californians sent baseball's Octoberfest back to New York for at least one more game. Trailing in the Series three games to two, LaSorda's charges face the unenviable task of trying to capture both remaining games in Yankee Stadium.
After Sutton retired the first three Yankees who faced him, the Dodgers grabbed a 1-0 lead on Dave Lopes's triple to right-center and Bill Russell's single to left. The Dodgers added five more runs in the third frame, the big blow being Yeager's three-run homer to left.
The victim of the Dodger onslaught was none other than Don Gullett, who probably threw five good pitches out of the 99 he unfurled. He was not helped, however, by the first Yankee errors of the Series, committed by Sweet Lou Piniella and Graig Nettles on consecutive batters. But to blame the loss on these two would be akin to blaming World War I on the Archduke Ferdinand's chauffeur. Gullet just didn't have it.
Sutton, on the other hand, was Sutton. Fashioning a game much like the one Burt Hooton threw against the Yanks two games earlier, the curly blond was never in trouble even though he yielded four runs, two of them in the eighth inning on back-to-back homers by Thurman Munson and Reggie Jackson.
But nothing the Yankees did could ever be construed as competitive. Playing as if they wanted to lose so that they could return and win it all in the Big Apple, the Yankees appeared stiff and unenthusiastic. Not even Catfish Hunter played well. Surprised, aren't you?
And now the scene shifts to New York. The Dodgers can only hope that yesterday's game brings the rejuvenation of Lopes, Russell and Ron Cey. Too many Dodgers have been content to simply take their cuts, not waiting to jump on pitches the way they did all season. Only Dusty Baker and Reggie Smith the lefty (as a righty he's no better than average) have attacked the ball.
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