He finished 38th and 20th in his first two Martinsville races and then 12th last October.

Los Angelenos with a laid-back reputation were on their feet for two-strike counts against Astros batters, a wave in Pantone 294 — also known as Dodger blue.

“We feed off the crowd, for sure,” Taylor said. “We feel we have a huge home-field advantage.”

Yuli Gurriel, who made a racist gesture toward Darvish in Game 3, was booed loudly during introductions and each time he batted, and Hill stepped off the rubber to allow the crowd extra time to jeer.

So the Jackets are winning without every gear turning in the same direction. Tortorella is already Tortsing all over this team, demoting goals leader Sonny Milano to the fourth line during a drought and stripping Brandon Dubinsky of his alternate captaincy in an effort to get him going. Yes, this is a bit like giving a thoroughbred the whip after the first quarter turn, but this is what Tortorella does.

He finished 38th and 20th in his first two Martinsville races and then 12th last October. In April, he finished third.

“He did a great job,” crew chief Alan Gustafson said. “This is a tough track for us to start. His rookie year, he didn’t have much success and ran good in the spring.

“The test was terrible for us two weeks ago. Just terrible. We took a different car, we did a lot of work, and he did a lot of work and came back and obviously had a car that could win.”

Gustafson said he expects drivers to have contact for the lead. Then they’ll try to get back on track Wednesday, when they host the Indiana Pacers, another supposed Eastern Conference cellar dweller that might not be an easy out, considering the way the Pacers upset the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. Whatever happens against the Pacers, the Cavs have put themselves behind the eight ball.ducks-009

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