Padres Drop the Dodgers Into Fourth, 3-2
The San Diego Padres, who were prudent enough not to engage Pedro Guerrero in a home run-hitting contest, switched events on the Dodger slugger Monday night. They challenged Guerrero to a footrace, with Padre pitcher Eric Show winning in a photo finish at the first-base bag.
With Guerrero out of the way on that seventh-inning sprint prompted by his checked-swing grounder, Craig Lefferts and Goose Gossage closed out the Dodgers, 3-2, before 30,633 in Dodger Stadium who witnessed an end to:
--the Dodgers’ four-game winning streak;
--Guerrero’s four-game home run streak;
--26 consecutive shutout innings by Dodger pitching.
The defending champion Padres, meanwhile, who had lost a doubleheader to the last-place Giants the day before, dropped the Dodgers from second to fourth, with Houston now the runner-up, 3 1/2 games behind San Diego.
Ken Landreaux, who had singled and stolen second with two out in the seventh, represented the tying run when Guerrero tried to hold up his swing and instead pushed a ground ball to the right of the mound between Show and first baseman Steve Garvey.
“I tried to check it, but my bat is so big that when I start to swing sometimes I can’t stop,” said Guerrero, whose 36-inch, 34-ounce bat is bigger than any other piece of lumber employed by the Dodgers.
Both Show and Garvey went for the ball, which meant that Show was on his own when he got there first. That’s when he turned dashman, breaking the tape just ahead of Guerrero for the final out of the inning.
If Show looked like a man running for his life, there was a reason.
“He was running for a win, which was just as important,” said Garvey, mindful that Show hadn’t won a game in more than a month--May 11, to be exact--and started the night a .500 pitcher, despite giving up three runs or fewer in 10 of his first 13 starts.
“He needed to win for his own personal sanity,” said Padres catcher Terry Kennedy, whose broken-bat RBI single in the fifth off Dodger reliever Bobby Castillo provided the winning margin after the Padres had knocked out Rick Honeycutt on four straight hits and two runs in the second.
Garvey, who had three of the Padres’ 10 hits off five Dodger pitchers, slyly suggested another reason why Guerrero didn’t get a hit on the play, which would have scored Landreaux.
“The grass backfired on them,” said Garvey, who was aware that the Dodger groundskeepers had been instructed to let the native greenery grow a little longer than usual, as an aid to the Dodgers’ equally green infielders.
“Same thing on (Mike) Scioscia’s bunt (in the sixth). We had a better chance on that one, but the grass stopped both balls.”
When the grass wasn’t throwing up roadblocks, the Dodgers were erecting some on their own. They had runners on in every inning, but left 10 men on base. Greg Brock hit his 10th home run in the second, but naturally, it came with the bases empty, the 39th time that has happened out of 50 Dodger home runs this season.
The Dodgers even had their chances against Gossage before he registered his 15th save. Bill Russell led off the inning with a grounder that struck the heel of shortstop Garry Templeton’s glove and became airborne. Templeton plucked it out of midair with his bare hand, however, and threw out Russell by a step.
“It popped right in front of me,” Templeton said. “I knew I still had time to get him if I caught the ball.”
Then, with two out, Mariano Duncan lined a single to center. Duncan was on the move when Landreaux lifted an opposite-field fly ball that dropped just outside of the left-field foul line.
“It was foul by about eight inches to a foot,” said Padres left-fielder Carmelo Martinez. “As soon as I reached the ball, I looked up and I saw that Duncan had already hit the third-base bag. That was real close.”
Not close enough for Landreaux, who wound up driving a ball that Tony Gwynn caught up with it on the warning track in right.
“There were some tense moments out there,” Gossage said, “but that’s what the game is all about.”
Honeycutt wasn’t around long enough for any buildup of tension. Consecutive doubles by Martinez and Graig Nettles, an infield hit by Templeton and Show’s RBI single brought on his exit, which he punctuated by firing his glove against the dugout wall.
“It was just bad pitches. Everything was up,” said Honeycutt, who insisted his left shoulder was OK.
“I’m more upset at myself. You don’t go out and start a game to pitch one inning and leave in the second . . . Things happened so quick, it kind of made my head spin.”
That’s not the first time the Padres have done that to the Dodgers.
“If this were the last week of the season, it would be interesting as hell,” Padre Manager Dick Williams said. “But it isn’t.”
Padre scout Dick Hager, who had been with the Dodgers during their three-game sweep of the Astros in Houston, on how the Padres should pitch to Pedro Guerrero: “I told Dick (Williams) that we should invoke the old Little League rule, when you point to first base when you walk a guy.” With Mariano Duncan on base with a bunt double in the first, Guerrero chased a 3-and-0 pitch from Eric Show, fouling it back. He wound up bouncing out to third. Show hit him in the backside with an off-speed pitch in the third, and Guerrero flied to left-center with Ken Landreaux aboard in the fifth. “I think I just missed that one,” Guerrero said. “It was a good pitch, a slider off the plate.” . . . Show had left the clubhouse by the time reporters arrived after the game. . . . The Padres nearly matched the Dodgers in the left-on-base category, stranding nine. . . . Greg Brock’s 10th home run came on his 135th at-bat, giving him an impressive ratio of one home run per 13.5 at-bats. . . . Dodger attendance is down 59,331 after Monday’s smallish crowd. . . . Terry Whitfield, who grounded to short in a pinch-hitting appearance in the eighth, hasn’t had a hit since May 14th. He’s 0 for 19 since.