Crew can’t get sweep of Dodgers

Wednesday’s matchup pitted two free agent signees, snatched away from division rivals–the Dodgers sent former Giant Jason Schmidt to the mound against former Cardinal Jeff Suppan. Ned Yost put in his right-handed line-up, save one change–he opted to use right-handed veteran Kevin Mench in the #7 spot over Corey Hart, opting to give Hart the night off (and to see how Mench might do against a righty). Suppan stumbled first, giving up a pair of runs in the third, first on a sac fly by Nomar Garciaparra to drive in Juan Pierre, followed by a Jeff Kent double to plate catcher Russell Martin. The Crew cut the lead in half, to 2-1, in the fourth, after catcher Johnny Estrada doubled to plate Bill Hall. Carlos Villanueva came in for Suppan in the 8th, for his first appearance of the ’07 season, and the Dodgers had a field day in patience, as the first three batters that Villanueva faced–Kent, Gonzalez, and Betemit–all drew walks. Villanueva got yanked for former Dodger Elmer Dessens, who served up a double that drove in all three Villanueva’s charged batters before retiring the side. But the Dodger bullpen faired no better–Rudy Seanez served up back-to-back-to-back singles to Johnny Estrada, Geoff Jenkins, and Kevin Mench, forcing Dodgers’ skipper Grady Little to go to closer Takashi Saito in the 8th; Saito promptly served up a double to Craig Counsell, and the Crew plated a pair to cut the lead to 5-3; J.J. Hardy added a solo shot off of Saito in the 9th for his first dinger of the young season, but the 5-4 lead held, paring the Crew’s record for the series and the year to 2-1. Suppan took the loss, but is starting out the year with a 2.57 ERA; Schmidt got the win, while Saito earned his first save. After a day off, the Crew remains at three at home for the first series against the Cubbies. David Hannes Copyright 2007

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