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Padres Defeat Laskey Despite Three-Hitter

Times Staff Writer

In a locker room of apparent Giants, Jeff Leonard took it upon himself to protect pitcher Bill Laskey, which is a good thing considering no Giant has taken it upon himself to score Laskey some runs.

“Good night,” Leonard said to reporters standing near Laskey (1-9), who had just pitched a marvelous three-hitter, only to lose 2-1 to the Padres on Steve Garvey’s two-run homer in the fourth inning.

“He’s not talking,” Leonard said again, now waving a bat and perhaps thinking about making contact. “I’m saying it now. He’s not talking.”

Laskey, his head in his hands, managed to turn around and speak for himself then, saying that he indeed would not talk on this day. The people left, and Leonard put down his bat.

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It’s strange how pitchers are always dealt with so delicately, probably because their jobs are so much intertwined with what others do. A pitcher could strike out 18 in a game, but still lose if the team behind him can’t field or hit.

And, consequently, a lot of what these pitchers do out there involves luck. Andy Hawkins, for instance, won 11 straight games this year, yet also was given an average of six runs per game. No one is demeaning what he achieved, but he was quite fortunate.

“Face it,” said Padre starter and winner Eric Show (6-4), who also perceives his season as luckless. “He (Hawkins) had nothing to do with it. He was the right man at right time.”

Therefore, Saturday’s game was essentially just another day in the life of a pitcher, a crude and rude awakening to what they actually have to put up with.

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First, there’s Laskey, who has been given a total of 12 runs in his nine losses this season, and who has (no wonder) asked to be traded. Actually, he wants to leave because he found out last week that he’d been taken out of the starting rotation, and he heard this from reporters, not Manager Jim Davenport.

Naturally, he then became upset, and he made his trade demand. Sources say the Giants might oblige. In the meantime, he was back in the rotation Saturday, only because Jim Gott hurt his back, and it was a nice opportunity, considering the game was being shown to 38% of the nation on NBC and he’d have a chance to improve his market value by showing off.

And he did so. Yet, again, the problem was his teammates, who scored their only run on Chili Davis’ fifth-inning homer. The Giants are so bad offensively that their team batting average is .211, two points below the worst hitting team ever, the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas. The 1985 Giants have a chance to make history.

Anyway, this has all become so mind-boggling that Davenport may be losing his mind, not to mention his job. Afterward, he couldn’t remember that Davis had hit the homer, thinking instead that it’d been catcher Bob Brenly. It’s starting to get a little scary.

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And then Davis, in another part of the clubhouse, was saying: “We haven’t given up hope. I haven’t seen a team in the division that’s that much better than us. Actually, I haven’t seen a team better, man for man.

“But we just ain’t hitting. If you (he pointed to short reporter) were out there, you could probably hold us to three hits. Unless you hang some, and then I’ll take you deep.”

Davis had taken Show deep to right in the fifth, but Show only gave up two hits overall, even on a day when his off-speed pitches were awful (he only threw six, one for a strike). Still, he was booed by the fans here after Davis’ home run and booed again after his four walks.

And the criticism has angered him to some extent. For instance, he had waited in the training room to avoid reporters and then he ordered away a Channel 8 camera crew because a Channel 8 sportscaster had apparently ripped him on the air. He said he understands the booing because fans have that right. But he also pointed out that he hasn’t had the greatest run support from his teammates.

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Then, he spoke of Laskey, who has had it a bit worse, and Show said: “Maybe if I wasn’t as lucky as I didn’t think I was, I’d really be in trouble.”

Translation: It could be worse. Show could be pitching for the Giants.

Finally, there was another pitcher involved in Saturday’s game, reliever Tim Stoddard. He took over in the ninth, retired three straight Giants and got his first save of the year. This is monumental only because Stoddard has been horrendous this season.

“I didn’t do nothing,” he said when crowded by reporters. “I gave up a very hard ground ball and a very hard fly ball. You’re here because Eric (Show) won’t talk.”

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Question: But it was your first save.

Answer: “I guess I’m going to the Hall of Fame now.”

Q: Wouldn’t you like to be the stopper all the time?

A: “That’s what I’ve done before. But in Chicago, they had Lee Smith, and Goose (Gossage) is here. I guess I have to settle for being the caddie.”

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Q: How hard do you throw?

A: “They don’t use the gun here. It could be anywhere between 80 (m.p.h.) and 150 (m.p.h.). Probably closer to 80.”

Q: The coaches are happy how you pitched, so aren’t you?

A: “They only signed me for three years. I hoped I’d do something in that time. I’m sure I’ll hit another streak when I stink again.”

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Pitchers.

Padre Notes

Tim Stoddard pitched the ninth inning because Goose Gossage had back spasms prior to Saturday’s game. Pitching coach Galen Cisco said he was told that Gossage had sneezed violently, which lead to the spasms. His status is day-to-day. . . . NBC, which televised Saturday’s game, polled 3,604 fans at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, asking them if they agreed or disagreed with the Padre stance that Alan Wiggins would never play again in San Diego. The results: 73.15 agreed with the Padres. . . . Sources again said Saturday that the Padres and Orioles are close, but still have not agreed on a deal that would sent Wiggins to Baltimore for a minor leaguer. The deal is expected to be consummated next week.

PADRES AT A GLANCE

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Scorecard FOURTH INNING Padres--Gwynn singled to center. Gwynn stole second. Garvey homered to left, his 11th. Kennedy struck out. McReynolds flied to center. Nettles struck out. Two runs, two hits, none left.

FIFTH INNING Giants--Davis homered to right. Brenly was hit by a pitch. Green hit into a double play. Adams struck out. One run, one hit, none left.


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