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Park, Piazza Team Up in Win Over L.A.

Posted July. 27, 2006 03:01,   


Former L.A. Dodger and current San Diego Padres pitcher Park Chan-ho, 33, paired up with Mike Piazza, 37, at Dodger Stadium for the first time in eight years and beat their former team.

Park started off the road game against the Dodgers on July 26 and pitched well until the sixth inning, giving up ten hits including a home run but only three runs and earned his seventh win of the season. Park was relieved in the seventh while leading 4-3, and the Padres scored three more runs in the ninth to win by a final score of 7-3.

For both players, Park and Piazza, this victory was significant. Park debuted in the Major Leagues in 1994 as a Dodger and spent eight seasons in L.A. until 2001, while Piazza also started his Major League career as a Dodger in 1992. The last time both players pitched and caught in this very same stadium was back in 1998.

The ballpark was packed with 51,334 fans, where the two players all achieved their own meaningful records. In the bottom of the third, Park struck out pitcher Mark Hendrickson with three pitches and achieved the 1,500th strike out of his Major League career. As of the day before the game, throughout the 130 years of Major League history, only 160 pitchers have struck out more than 1,500. Among active players, Park is the 23rd pitcher to strike out 1,500.

As for Piazza, with the game tied 2-2 at the top of the sixth and leading off, he doubled and scored when the following batter Adrian Gonzalez hit another double to take the lead 3-2. This run was Piazza’s 1,000th run in the Majors.

Still in the top of the sixth inning, with two outs and runners on the corners, Park hit a single and widened the lead to 4-2, once again demonstrating his batting skills. As a batter, Park has hit 11-for-38, with his season batting average at 0.289.

After earning his sixth win against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 7, Park had to start three more games to get his seventh win. He also slightly lowered his ERA to 4.63. This victory was a pleasant one since the Korean starting pitcher trio, Park, the Devil Rays Seo Jae-weong, and the Rockies Kim Byun-hyun failed to win a single game in seven matches.

Pocketing the win, the Padres are in a 3-game winning streak and leading the NL West Division, while the Dodgers have lost seven in a row.

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com