Torre: Houston park 'inviting' to sluggers

Torre: Houston park 'inviting'

HOUSTON -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre would like to take a moment and thank the architects of Minute Maid Park for Wednesday's Homers R Us battle against the Astros.

The Dodgers got homers from Manny Ramirez -- whose blast left the stadium over the left-field wall -- Andre Ethier and Casey Blake -- all in the sixth inning -- while Houston got dingers from Hunter Pence and Lance Berkman in a 6-5 victory for the Astros.

"I think [Minute Maid Park] can be [a launching pad] at times," Torre said. "Straightaway left field looks pretty inviting [315 feet, with a 19-foot wall]. I don't know if it plays differently when it [the roof] is open or closed. I haven't spent enough time here to get the feel for that.

"But straightaway left field looks pretty easy."

Torre noted that a short porch can put pressure on a pitching staff, especially when a relatively innocent swing can produce a fence-clearing shot.

"I think sometimes we play into the thinking that home runs are entertaining as opposed to winning games [with small ball]," he said. "It's very tough on a pitching staff to make quality pitches when all a guy has to do is one of these [pantomiming a weak swing] and get a home run. Some of the ballparks today you can do that. Cincinnati [Great American Ball Park] is one. It's so different than it was years ago."

Michael Murphy is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.