Opening Day, 1997, at Dodger Stadium, and I was there! Here is a summary of the game, by USA Today/Reuters. Photo Courtesy LA Daily News.


Curt Schilling shrugged off persistent trade rumors and allowed two infield hits while striking out 11 over eight innings as the Philadelphia Phillies handed the Los Angeles Dodgers their first opening day shutout loss in 27 years, 3-0.

(Tommy Lasorda at Opening Day -- Photo Courtesy LA Daily News) Kevin Stocker had three hits and an RBI and scored the game's first run for Philadelphia, which made Terry Francona's managerial debut a successful one.

"You put a lot of work in for opening day. I've never gotten caught up in myself. This is a great win for all our guys," Francona said.

Schilling (1-0), who is continuing contract negotiations with the Phillies, allowed infield singles to rookie Wilton Guerrero in the first inning and Brett Butler in the third. After Butler's hit, Schilling retired 11 straight batters before issuing back-to-back one-out walks to Mike Piazza and Eric Karros in the sixth. But former Phillie Todd Zeile bounced into an inning-ending double play and Schilling breezed through the eighth.

(Curt Schilling Shuts Down the Dodgers)"It was a big double play," he said. "With this defense, I can afford to throw the ball over the plate and let them hit it. I felt we had good stuff and we were ahead in the count all day. I feel if I'm healthy, there isn't anything I can't do.

"I felt strong, I could've gone out there in the ninth, but I knew I was high in the pitch count."

Ricky Bottalico retired all three batters he faced in the ninth, striking out Raul Mondesi to end the game for his first save.

The Dodgers had not been shut out in their season opener since Cincinnati's Gary Nolan blanked them, 4-0, on April 7th, 1970.

Philadelphia broke through against starter Ramon Martinez (0-1) in the top of the fifth. Stocker hit a one-out double and walks to Gregg Jefferies and Danny Tartabull loaded the bases. Rico Brogna lifted a sacrifice fly in his Phillies' debut before Scott Rolen singled home Jefferies to make it 2-0.

Martinez left after five innings, giving up two runs and five hits with five walks and three strikeouts.

The Phils padded their lead in the eighth. Wendell Magee reached with one out on an error by shortstop Greg Gagne. After Schilling bunted foul for a strikeout, reliever Scott Radinsky walked Mickey Morandini before allowing an RBI double to Stocker.

"Usually, I'm the slowest starter in the league, but today I got some hits. It really helps my confidence," Stocker said. "It was fun, it was a blast. Everyone got into the act today."

Tartabull, who signed as a free agent in February, left in the eighth inning with a left foot contusion.

Philadelphia, making the earliest start in franchise history, improved to 51-62 on opening day. The Phillies were opening in Los Angeles for the second time. They also blanked the Dodgers, 2-0, on April 10th, 1968, behind Chris Short.

Guerrero's infield hit was the first of his career and came in front a crowd that included his mother, Maria.

(Wilton Guerrero's Fist Big League Hit)"It's the first time she has ever seen me play. I wanted to get a couple of hits, but one is OK," he said. "When I hit it, I knew I could beat it out. Last year, I was a little nervous, but now I am a starter. It's different. I feel more comfortable."

Butler, whose career was in jeopardy last season following a bout with tonsil cancer, was greeted by a standing ovation leading off the bottom of the first.

"When that happens, it's something you'll cherish and remember forever. This is my 17th and last opening day and it's special," he said. "I want to help this club and not be a detriment. You hope you can still do it. I've got to keep working hard."

As for his infield single, Butler said, "Not bad for 39."

Los Angeles sold out its home opener for the 36th straight season.


PHILADELPHIA (3) AT LOS ANGELES (0) - FINAL

PHILADELPHIA           ab  r  h rbi bb so lob   avg
Morandini 2b            3  0  1  0   2  0   0  .333
Stocker ss              4  1  3  1   1  1   0  .750
Jefferies lf            4  1  1  0   1  0   6  .250
Tartabull rf            2  0  0  0   2  0   1  .000
 De May rf              1  0  0  0   0  1   0  .000
Brogna 1b               4  0  1  1   0  3   5  .250
Rolen 3b                5  0  1  1   0  0   3  .200
Lieberthal c            4  0  0  0   0  1   3  .000
Magee cf                3  1  0  0   1  1   0  .000
C Schilling p           4  0  0  0   0  1   3  .000
 Bottalico p            0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000

Totals                 34  3  7  3   7  8  21

BATTING: 2B - Jefferies (1, R Martinez); Brogna (1, R Martinez);
Stocker 2 (2, R Martinez, Radinsky). SF - Brogna. RBI - Brogna
(1), Rolen (1), Stocker (1). 2-out RBI - Rolen, Stocker. Runners
left in scoring position, 2 out - Rolen 2, Tartabull 1, C
Schilling 1, Lieberthal 1, Jefferies 3.  Team LOB - 12.

BASERUNNING: SB - Morandini (1, 2nd base off D Hall/Piazza).

FIELDING: E - Stocker (1, throw). DP: 2
(Stocker-Morandini-Brogna, Morandini-Stocker-Brogna).

LOS ANGELES            ab  r  h rbi bb so lob   avg
Butler cf               4  0  1  0   0  2   0  .250
Guerrero 2b             4  0  1  0   0  0   1  .250
Mondesi rf              4  0  0  0   0  2   1  .000
Piazza c                2  0  0  0   1  2   0  .000
Karros 1b               1  0  0  0   2  0   0  .000
Zeile 3b                3  0  0  0   0  0   2  .000
Hollandsworth lf        3  0  0  0   0  2   1  .000
Gagne ss                2  0  0  0   0  2   0  .000
 b-Kirby ph             1  0  0  0   0  1   0  .000
 Castro ss              0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
R Martinez p            1  0  0  0   0  1   0  .000
 D Hall p               0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
 a-Fonville ph          1  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
 Radinsky p             0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
 c-C Hale ph            1  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000
 Candiotti p            0  0  0  0   0  0   0  .000

Totals                 27  0  2  0   3 12   5

a-grounded to pitcher for D Hall in the 6th; b-struck out for
Gagne in the 8th; c-grounded to second for Radinsky in the 8th.

BATTING: Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - Hollandsworth
1. GIDP - Mondesi, Zeile.  Team LOB - 3.

FIELDING: E - Gagne (1, bobble).

--------------------------------------------------
    Philadelphia   - 000 020 010  --  3
    Los Angeles    - 000 000 000  --  0

--------------------------------------------------

PHILADELPHIA                 ip       h   r  er  bb  so  hr    era
C Schilling (W, 1-0)          8       2   0   0   3  11   0   0.00
Bottalico (S, 1)              1       0   0   0   0   1   0   0.00

LOS ANGELES                  ip       h   r  er  bb  so  hr    era
R Martinez (L, 0-1)           5       5   2   2   5   3   0   3.60
D Hall                        1       1   0   0   1   1   0   0.00
Radinsky                      2       1   1   0   1   2   0   0.00
Candiotti                     1       0   0   0   0   2   0   0.00

IBB - Magee (by R Martinez).  Pitches-strikes: R Martinez 97-52;
D Hall 18-10; Radinsky 35-23; Candiotti 13-8; C Schilling
126-83; Bottalico 13-10.  Ground balls-fly balls: R Martinez
4-8; D Hall 2-0; Radinsky 2-2; Candiotti 1-0; C Schilling 12-1;
Bottalico 1-1.  Batters faced: R Martinez 25; D Hall 5; Radinsky
9; Candiotti 3; C Schilling 27; Bottalico 3.

UMPIRES: HP--Randy Marsh. 1B--Larry Poncino. 2B--Jeff Kellogg.
3B--Kerwin Danley.
T--2:53.  Att--53,079.   Weather: 70 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 4 mph, from left to right.


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Last Updated April 2, 1997
©1997
Colin Campbell - jenolen@earthlink.net