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Green right when slamming what Leiter has left

DODGERS: The hot-hitting right fielder powers the Dodgers to a 4-1 victory over the Mets.

May 30, 2000

By ROBERT KUWADA
The Orange County Register

 

LOS ANGELES - Shawn Green hits a grand slam. He tosses his batting gloves to a kid in the stands behind the Dodgers dugout, which he intends to do now after every home run he hits. He gets a standing ovation from an adoring crowd.

Green quickly is becoming owner of all things Dodger, which was what managing general partner Bob Daly intended when he traded Raul Mondesi and Pedro Borbon to Toronto and shelled out $84 million for his new right fielder.

And Green quickly is becoming owner of all of the tough left-handed pitchers in the National League. His grand slam Sunday against the New York Mets' Al Leiter was the difference in a 4-1 Dodgers' victory, and it is well worth noting that Leiter was the best pitcher in the league against left-handed batters.

Before the left-handed hitting Green unloaded on a first-pitch slider in the sixth inning, Leiter had allowed only five hits to left-handed hitters in 54 at-bats this season, a scant .093 batting average.

Against the Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson on May 10 in Arizona, Green had three hits. And Johnson, had he enough matchups to qualify, would be second in the league against left-handed hitters. He has allowed only five hits in 32 at-bats against left-handed hitters, a .156 average.

The Braves' Tom Glavine is third in the league, holding left-handed hitters to 12 hits in 75 at-bats, a .160 average. And Green has a hit against him.

Against Leiter, he needed only one swing to do a lot of damage.

"I didn't want him to get ahead of me," said Green, who is hitting .337 (60 for 178) with 10 home runs, 37 RBI and Sunday delivered the Dodgers' seventh grand slam of the season, a Los Angeles record. "Once he does that, he has a lot of options that can make it tough on me. I wanted to stay in control of the at-bat. ...

"That didn't even cross my mind there - a home run. That's probably why I hit it. I just know you can't miss that pitch when you get it because he doesn't make too many mistakes."