Padres, Hawkins Escape : Flannery Shares Limelight With McReynolds
On the scorecard, the hero was Kevin McReynolds, who hit a two-run, two-out triple to right-center in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Padres over Philadelphia, 6-5, Tuesday night.
It preserved Andy Hawkins’ unbeaten record (10-0) by giving the Padre starter no decision.
But the real hero, according to the Padres, was Tim Flannery, who was hit by a pitch and scored a run in the third, had two runs batted in in the sixth, then fought with Phillie pitcher John Denny and started an important double play in the eighth.
It had been an innocuous game, but it turned obnoxious in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and two Padre runners on, Flannery hit a 3-2 Denny pitch down the line in left. The left fielder, Jeff Stone, let the ball roll by him, two runs coming in, and the Padres led, 4-3.
Meanwhile, Flannery came into third base, sliding head first. He pounded the base with his fist. He stood up. Then he slapped his hands together. Denny, backing up the throw, was standing near him.
Flannery: “This one’s for you.”
Denny charged at him. He asked Flannery what he’d said.
Flannery: “This one’s for you.”
Why was this one for Denny? Flannery had been hit in the the back of the head by Denny in the third inning, cracking his helmet in two. That was why he was angry.
“If it’s 0 and 2, and you’re hit in the helmet, I have to believe it’s on purpose. Denny is a control pitcher.
“I’m a hyper player. After I was hit, I had to control myself the whole game. I make a living playing baseball, and when someone throws at your hread, you have to do something about it. This is how I put food on my table. If I have to fight, I have to fight.”
Denny doesn’t talk to the media, but according to Phillie Manager John Felske: “Denny said: ‘Are you talking to me?’ Then, the umpires threw Denny out for taking the first step (toward Flannery) If Denny goes, Flannery should go.”
The benches emptied, and there was pushing. Kevin Gross, a Phillie pitcher, then tackled Flannery to the ground, getting him away from Denny.
Jerry Royster and Kurt Bevacqua appeared to be the first Padre players out of the dugout, and they pushed as well, but the main action involved Flannery and Gross.
Eventually, there was a mass of bodies standing around third base, with only minor pushing and protecting going on. The mass of bodies moved near to the pitcher’s mound, except for Flannery, who stood dusting himself off next to bullpen catcher Roger Oglesby, Kevin McReynolds and third base coach Ozzie Virgil Sr.
Eventually, it was just Phillie Manager John Felske talking to the home-plate umpire Dave Pallone, along with his crew (Paul Runge, Jim Quick and Bob Engel). Dick Williams came out to listen in, and Pallone then told Denny to leave, for he had been ejected along with Gross.
Denny walked straight for the dugout, his face tense, but showing no emotion. A fan hit him with a paper cup. He did nothing.
All this commotion and emotion seemed to overshadow the game. Andy Hawkins, who had been and still is 10-0, was in trouble in each of the first three innings. Juan Samuel had an RBI triple and Ozzie Virgil had an RBI double in the first inning, and then Tim Corcoran scored Mike Schmidt on a sacrifice fly in the third. It was 3-0.
And there had been a change in Hawkins this week, for he had been seen talking and laughing in public. This streak of his has shown the world a new and improved side of him, an excellent change of pace.
He has said that The Streak would inevitably end, and each and every person came to San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium Tuesday night, wondering if this would be the night.
As usual, it looked like it would be. Andy Hawkins’ constant problem throughout this season has been his inability to get quick outs in an inning. And more often than not, the first and second men in the order have caused problems.
Still, he settled down after the third inning. Flannery had scored on a Steve Garvey double play in the third, and Garvey had then homered to center in the fifth, so the score was 3-2. Flannery’s big hit in the sixth made it 4-3.
And it was only in the eighth inning that Philadelphia threatened again against Hawkins. Juan Samuel opened the inning with a double off the wall in left center. Samuel went to third on a ground out, and Williams brought in Goose Gossage, who hadn’t pitched since May 28 becaue of a bicep injury in his right arm. Hawkins, who had his first no-decision of the season, pointed at Flannery as he left, seemingly thanking him for his RBIs.
But Gossage’s first pitch was hit by Schmidt to the wall in right-center. Samuel scored, tying the game, 4-4, and Schmidt ended up with a triple. There was one out.
Of all people, Flannery then saved the day. Again. Corcoran lined a ball hard at Flannery, who backhanded it as he moved to his left and started an inning ending double play.
“Flannery is awesome,” Hawkins said. “That man has more fight in him than any little man I’ve ever seen. . . . I owe him. I feel bad about my performance because of him. If I ever get the chance again, I’ll definitely pay him back.”