Bevacqua Ruins Giants’ Plans With Grand Slam in Padre Win
It figured that Kurt Bevacqua would steal the show on Camera Day. He is a player who thrives on being in the spotlight.
He was center stage again Sunday afternoon when for the first time since his game-winning, three-run homer to left field in Game 2 of the 1984 World Series, Bevacqua went into his home run trot at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Bevacqua’s fifth-inning grand slam led the Padres to a 6-1 victory over the Giants. Dave Dravecky (7-4) pitched a nine-hitter to help the Padres sweep the four-game series.
When Bevacqua is involved, there always seems to be an element of drama. Sunday’s game was no different.
With the Padres leading 1-0 in the fifth, Steve Garvey was walked intentionally for the second time in the game to bring Bevacqua to the plate with the bases loaded. Bevacqua, who started at third base, was hitting in the cleanup spot against left-hander Atlee Hammaker.
Such strategy had worked for the Giants in the third inning when Bevacqua struck out on a low slider.
When Garvey was walked again to load the bases with two out in the fifth, Bevacqua said he had a lot going through his mind. He thought of the two times he had hit into bases-loaded double plays against Hammaker in a game two years ago. He remembered his second-inning ground out, his third-inning strikeout and his overall lack of success against Hammaker.
Bevacqua agreed that the Giants made a good strategic move in walking Garvey.
He also said he refused to let their strategy annoy him. Buoy him, yes. Make him so furious that he would overswing, no.
“They can keep walking guys ahead of me to load the bases,” Bevacqua said. “I don’t look at it as a downgrade. How can I look at that as a cut?”
A big smile came over Bevacqua’s face.
“Now, if Lasorda (Tom) had done it, I might have felt a little more revenge,” Bevacqua said.
“I looked back to the Giant dugout and laughed as I got to the plate. I asked (catcher Bob) Brenly if they were trying to show me up.”
Then, he lined Hammaker’s first pitch about six rows deep into the stands to the left of the 370-mark in left-center field.
“I wasn’t guessing on the pitch, but I was looking for a ball out over the plate that I could drive,” Bevacqua said.
He got it in the form of a hanging slider over the middle of the plate. It was the same pitch that Bevacqua had struck out on two innings earlier, but the location was different.
“In that situation, I knew he’d be hacking at the first pitch and I didn’t have to throw a strike,” Hammaker said.
Hammaker (3-7) said Bevacqua is a clutch player, and that’s why he was even more annoyed with his first pitch.
“I made a mistake,” Hammaker said. “I didn’t put the ball where I wanted to and it cost me the ballgame.”
It was Bevacqua’s second home run and second grand slam of the season. He followed an intentional walk to Carmelo Martinez with a slam in Cincinnati on June 7.
On the season, Bevacqua has 11 RBIs on 11 hits.
“Dick probably put me in the cleanup spot because I can drive in runs,” said Bevacqua, who has hit in every spot in the lineup during his career. That includes batting ninth for the Kansas City Royals in the opening game of the 1973 season.
“It’s hard to pinpoint what it is in a person’s character or makeup,” Bevacqua said, “but I have a sense of pride and believe that I can drive in runs in certain situations.
“I am a firm believer in the mental part of the game. Sometimes in a clutch part of the game, a pitcher tenses up, grips the ball tight and overthrows. It helps me to have been successful in those situations in the past.”
It also helps when a .236 lifetime hitter such as Bevacqua has a flair for the dramatic.
Sunday’s crowd of 37,542 raised the Padres season attendance to 984,047 in 29 home games. . . . It was a good day for the Padre bench. In addition to Kurt Bevacqua’s grand slam, catcher Bruce Bochy went 2 for 3 and hit a solo home run to left in the sixth inning. Shortstop Mario Ramirez, giving Garry Templeton a day off, had three singles for the three-hit day of his career . . . In the pregame Camera Day festivities, the second base combination of Tim Flannery and Jerry Royster pulled a prank by switching uniforms. . . . The Padres swept a four-game series at home for the first time since they beat Houston, June 10-13, 1982. On the road, they swept the Dodgers in June 20-23, 1983. . . . Defensive play of the game: Center fielder Kevin McReynolds robbed Chili Davis of an extra-base hit with a running backhanded stab of a liner to deep center in the eighth inning. . . . Today is the first day the Padres have had off since June 6. They open a three-game home series against the Dodgers Tuesday night.
1985 total (29 dates): 984,047
1984 total (29 dates): 685,667
1985 average: 33,932