The Los Angeles Dodgers lost to the New York Mets, 4-3, in exhibition baseball Friday, but not because of a lack of effort by Darryl Strawberry.
The Dodgers' newest multimillion-dollar acquisition loudly gave his former teammates the old proverbial raspberry, using his first at bat against them to slam a first-inning RBI double at Port St. Lucie, Fla. Two innings later, he rubbed in his decision to jump coasts and National League divisions a bit more with a solo home run.Strawberry, however, could only watch when the Mets' Mark Carreon led off the ninth with a pinch-hit, game-winning home run off Jim Gott.
Strawberry's appearance against the Mets highlighted a full slate of 13 Grapefruit and Cactus league exhibitions, while the Pittsburgh Pirates again made off-the-field news with a report that their 1991 payroll will be $22.9 million - almost 50 percent higher than the $16 million they paid the players who won the 1990 National League East.
Pirates board chairman Douglas Danforth said during the winter that the 1991 payroll had to be $21 million, plus or minus 5 percent, for the team to break even.
On the playing field, the Pirates fell to the Minnesota Twins, 5-3. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-5; the New York Yankees edged the Montreal Expos, 4-3; the Cincinnati Reds nipped the Kansas City Royals, 3-2; the Houston Astros beat the Atlanta Braves, 7-6, and the Chicago White Sox downed the Detroit Tigers, 6-5.
The Baltimore Orioles blanked the Texas Rangers, 5-0; the St. Louis Cardinals slammed the Toronto Blue Jays, 11-3; the Oakland A's defeated the Cleveland Indians, 3-1; the Chicago Cubs edged the San Francisco Giants, 7-6; the San Diego Padres out-blasted the California Angels, 14-11, and the Seattle Mariners downed the Milwaukee Brewers, 7-2.
At Fort Myers, Fla., Derek Parks doubled in two eighth-inning runs to lead Minnesota past Pittsburgh. Dan Gladden added a solo homer and Kevin Tapani pitched three one-hit innings for the Twins. Pittsburgh's Jeff King was 2-for-3.
At Clearwater, Fla., Boston's Phil Plantier smacked a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to ruin Philadelphia's exhibition season home-opener. Boston scored three runs in the ninth off reliever Roger McDowell to overcome a 5-3 Philadelphia lead.
At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Mike Humphrey's one-out homer in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Yankees past Montreal. Hensley Meulens also had a three-run homer for New York, and Andres Galarraga had a two-run shot for the Expos.
At Plant City, Fla., pinch-hitter Leo Garcia singled Bill Bates home from third base with two outs in the eighth to snap a 2-2 tie and give Cincinnati its victory over Kansas City. Brian McRae and Terry Shumpert had two hits each for the Royals.
At Kissimee, Fla., Houston's Mark McLemore snapped a 6-6 tie in the eighth with a one-out single. The Astros had rallied to tie the score with two seventh-inning runs. Dave Justice, the 1990 National League Rookie of the Year, had a three-run homer for Atlanta.
At Lakeland, Fla., Matt Merullo's three-run homer highlighted a six-run Chicago sixth inning in the White Sox's victory over Detroit. Tony Bernazard hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the Tigers.
At Port Charlotte, Fla., Baltimore's Bob Milacki, Jeff Ballard, Jose Bautista and Paul Kilgus combined on a four-hit shutout of Texas. Brady Anderson and Juan Bell had two hits each for the Orioles.
At Dunedin, Fla., Gerald Perry hit a three-run homer and two doubles, driving in a total five runs, in St. Louis' rout of Toronto. Bob Tewksbury got the victory with three perfect innings. Pat Borders homered for the Blue Jays.
At Phoenix, Ariz., Reggie Harris, Joe Slusarski, Kirk Dressendorfer and Joe Klink combined on a two-hitter to lead Oakland past Cleveland. Terry Steinbach, Doug Jennings and Mike Bordick had two hits each for the A's.
At Mesa, Ariz., Chicago put together a three-run eighth inning on Domingo Ramos' two-run double and Doug Dascenzo's RBI single to defeat San Francisco. Kevin Mitchell had a two-run homer for the Giants.
At Yuma, Ariz., Tony Gwynn went 3-for-3 with six RBI and Dave Staton had a three-run homer to lead San Diego past California. Max Venable had a three-run shot for the Angels.
At Chandler, Ariz., Ken Griffey Jr. and Patrick Lennon each smacked solo homers to help power Seattle past Milwaukee. Darry Hamilton had an RBI single and Tim MacIntosh a sacrifice fly for the Brewers.