Padres Shut Out Punchless Giants
Leave it to the Giants to prove it takes a lot more than good or even great pitching to win.
The last-place Giants lead the major leagues with a 2.71 earned-run average, but they have the lowest team batting average at .213.
The Giants have scored just 9 runs in their last 82 innings, they have been shut out 9 times, and they have scored an average of only 2.8 runs per game.
The pattern continued in the Padres’ 3-0 win Thursday at Candlestick Park.
San Diego snapped a two-game losing streak, improved its record on this trip to 5-3 and increased its lead in the National League West to three games over Houston.
Padre starter and winner Dave Dravecky (5-4), aided by three double plays, allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three in seven innings against an anemic Giant lineup.
“It really doesn’t make any difference who you face,” Dravecky said diplomatically. “They’ve got guys who can hit the ball out, and I can’t approach any ballclub relaxed. I have to have tunnel vision to Terry (Kennedy).”
Padre Manager Dick Williams reiterated that Goose Gossage is paid to save games, so on came the Goose in the eighth. He pitched two scoreless innings to gain his 14th save of the season.
It appeared that Gossage, who struck out three, was toying with the Giant hitters. Maybe he was.
“That’s the hardest I’ve ever seen Goose throw,” Kennedy said. “You can tell right away if he has his rhythm, and he had it.”
At times Thursday night, it appeared all the Padres had to do to beat the Giants was show up for all nine innings. Could that be a reason why only 8,603 fans showed up on a nice evening? Or why a little boy leaving the stadium was heard asking his mom if they could get their money back?
Giant Manager Jim Davenport, who took over a team that was second in the league in hitting last season, doesn’t know where to turn.
The highest average in the lineup on Thursday belonged to cleanup hitter Rob Deer. And it was just .262. The only Padre starter on Thursday with a lower average was Graig Nettles (.233).
The Giants have scored three runs or fewer in 39 games, have the fewest hits (399) in the National League, and they’ve outhit their opponents only 18 times.
“I’ve tried different positions in the lineup,” Davenport said. “That hasn’t been the answer. If we had people to replace some people, we’d certainly do it.
“I thought we’d be a decent hitting ballclub, but we haven’t hit from Day One. I like to hit and run, but I can’t even do that because my hands are tied.”
This continual lack of hitting is enough to make the Giant hitters want to break their bats, if they haven’t already been broken by opposing pitchers. And enough to make the frustrated Giant pitchers want to help them smash their bats.
Giant starter and loser Bill Laskey (1-7) allowed three runs in eight innings, but he probably began to fear the worst when the Padres scored two in the third inning.
“It’s real frustrating for our pitchers because they know they can’t make even one mistake,” Davenport said.
San Diego, which has the second-best team average in the league at .260, pieced together three hits for their biggest rally in three nights.
After facing a red-hot Mike Scott and Nolan Ryan in Houston, Laskey was a welcome relief.
Dravecky led off the third with a sharp grounder up the middle that resulted in an infield hit. After Tim Flannery flied to center, Tony Gwynn lofted a double that hit the fence in right-center field.
With runners on second and third, Steve Garvey singled to right for one run. Kennedy followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Gwynn.
The Padres added an insurance run in sixth when Carmelo Martinez blasted his ninth home run of the season down the left-field line. He is tied with Garvey for the team lead in homers.
The rest was up to Dravecky, who had the best ERA in the league against the Giants last season (1.38). This season, the Padre left-hander has allowed just 17 earned runs in 68 innings as a starter.
Dravecky has pitched in tough luck this season. Yet, he still has five wins and a lot of hope from his hitters.
Imagine if he were pitching for the Giants.
Andy Hawkins (11-0) will face Dave LaPoint (2-6) tonight at 8:05 (KFMB 760 and KCST-TV Channel 39). Hawkins, who has been in great demand for interviews lately, had his first press conference before the game Thursday night. Cable News Network came to town to do a feature on him. . . . The umpires in Thursday night’s game were forced to wear Giant warmup jackets and caps because their uniforms were lost en route from Houston. Big John McSherry, working the third-base line, was unable to close his jacket. . . . Saturday afternoon’s Padre-Giant game will be broadcast nationwide on CBS Radio. Brent Musburger and Jerry Coleman will announce the game. . . . Kevin McReynolds singled in the third inning to stretch his hitting streak to 13 games. He has hit in 32 of 34 games.
PADRES AT A GLANCE
Scorecard THIRD INNING Padres--Dravecky led off with an infield single on a ground ball up the middle. Flannery flied to center. Gwynn doubled to right-center, sending Dravecky to third. Garvey singled to right, scoring Dravecky and sending Gwynn to third. Kennedy drove in Gwynn with a sacrifice fly to center. McReynolds singled to right, moving Garvey to second. Nettles walked. Martinez flew to left. Two runs, three hits, two left.
Padres--With two out, Martinez homered to left, his ninth. Templeton bounced to short. One run, one hit, none left.