Garvey, of All People, Helps Throw Dodgers for a 5-4 Loss
He has made them pay with his bat and by the loss of his box-office appeal.
But in all the sleepless nights the Dodgers may have had since Steve Garvey became a Padre, they never imagined the day when he would beat them with his arm. Garvey’s arm, after all, is to accuracy what Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s voice is to perfect pitch.
That day, however, arrived Thursday, when for the second straight game, the Padres sent another of the vaunted Dodger arms, Fernando Valenzuela, back home on his shield. And it was Garvey who made the most meaningful throw of the day, short-circuiting a Dodger rally by cutting down Mike Scioscia at the plate on a bunt-turned-double play.
Stronger arms then prevailed as four relievers combined to shut down the Dodgers on two hits in the last 5 innings, and the Padres won, 5-4, in front of 47,482, a record crowd for a weekday at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
The Dodgers, certain they had an edge in the arms race with Orel Hershiser and Valenzuela after winning the opener of this three-game series, had visions of a sweep in Mission Valley. Instead, they found a minefield, as the Padres jumped on Hershiser and Valenzuela for 11 runs in 12 innings after managing just seven hits and one run in 36 previous innings against the two Dodger pitchers.
The bus ride back up to Los Angeles wasn’t any longer than the one down, but the distance between the two teams is greater now. The first-place Padres lead the Dodgers by six games in the National League West after duplicating the two-out-of-three routine they performed in Dodger Stadium last week. Cincinnati, meanwhile, slipped past the Dodgers into second place, five games out.
“They (the Dodgers) came down here thinking sweep ,” said Kevin McReynolds, who did most of the damage against Valenzuela with a second-inning solo home run and a third-inning two-run single.
Jerry Royster, batting .118 against Valenzuela coming into the game, did most of the rest with three hits, two runs and a two-out RBI single that broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth.
“We knew we had to go out the next couple of days and make them earn everything they got,” McReynolds said. “We weren’t going to give our lead away. They would have to beat us, and they didn’t do that.”
The Dodger chances of doing so would have been better had Scioscia beaten Garvey’s throw to the plate in the fourth inning. Or perhaps it would have been better yet had he not run at all when Valenzuela laid down a bunt with runners on first and third and one out.
Padre reliever Craig Lefferts, who had just replaced rookie starter Ed Wojna, fielded the ball and threw to first. That’s when Scioscia, biding his time about 30 feet down the third-base line, broke for the plate. Garvey threw a strike to catcher Terry Kennedy, and on a close play, Scioscia was out. End of rally, end of inning, but just the beginning of the discussion on the wisdom of Scioscia’s sprint, such as it was.
“Are you kidding?” Garvey said when asked if the Dodgers were banking on his reputation for scatter-shooting. “You’ve seen how I’ve come along.
“You can’t go a whole season without an error (as Garvey did in ’84) and have too bad an arm.
“You have to ask the Dodgers what their design was on that play. I think it turned the game around. I would have let Fernando hit, myself. He swings the bat pretty good.”
The Dodger design, it turned out, was an improvisation. Scioscia was running on his own.
“The play was to bunt the guy (Steve Sax) to second base,” Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said.
Scioscia said that Garvey’s arm did, in fact, enter his decision to go.
“It was a combination of factors,” Scioscia said. “I had a big lead off third and I thought I had a good jump. Steve’s arm was just one of the factors.”
That wasn’t the only time Dodger strategy took a beating Thursday. McReynolds’ two-run single in the third came after Dodger nemesis Kurt Bevacqua was intentionally walked. Valenzuela had fallen behind in the count, 2-and-0, before the decision was made to give Bevacqua a free pass.
“The answer’s in the other clubhouse,” Padre Manager Dick Williams said when asked about the move. “I’m not going to answer for Tommy.”
It wasn’t the favorite question of the day for Lasorda, who was something less than gracious in defeat.
“Fernando fell behind him, and we thought we could set up the double play,” Lasorda said. “I thought McReynolds flared the ball, one of a number they flared today. How many balls did they hit hard?”
More than the Dodgers did, to be sure, against the Padre bullpen, from which Goose Gossage was summoned in the ninth to collect his 17th save.
The Dodgers will have to wait until Sept. 16 for another shot at the Padres.
“I can’t figure this game out,” Lasorda said.
The Dodgers weren’t going to get an argument on that one Thursday.
Dodger Notes Padre right fielder Tony Gwynn, the defending National League batting champion, left Thursday’s game with a bruised left wrist suffered in a collision with Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia at the plate. Gwynn was injured, attempting to slide around Scioscia while scoring on Kevin McReynolds’ single. Gwynn took his position in the fourth inning but left the game in the fifth, when Jerry Davis replaced him. Gwynn was taken to Scripps Clinic for X-rays, which were negative. . . . Gwynn has broken both of his wrists, the right one in Puerto Rico in December 1982, the left one when diving for a ball in Pittsburgh on Aug. 25 of the same year. . . . Jerry Royster, 4 for 34 against Fernando Valenzuela before his three hits Thursday, is batting .400 (16 for 40) in his last 14 games. “I hit the ball hard off him (Valenzuela) for the first time in my career,” Royster said. . . . Valenzuela gave up nine hits and six walks (two intentional) in six innings. “He wasn’t quite as sharp as the first two games we faced him,” McReynolds said. “His screwball didn’t have the bite it had in the previous two games.” . . . Pedro Guerrero struck out against Padre rookie Ed Wojna in the first inning, then walked three times, once intentionally. The strikeout was Guerrero’s first in 35 plate appearances dating back to June 18. . . . Dodger pinch-hitters were hitless in four tries Thursday, making them a collective 6 for 54 since May 15. Bill Russell, who had a game-tying pinch hit in Tuesday night’s win, remained on the bench in the eighth with Guerrero on second when Manager Tom Lasorda sent Candy Maldonado to the plate to bat for Scioscia against left-hander Mark Thurmond. Maldonado grounded to short. “I thought they might bring in the right-hander, (Luis) DeLeon,” Lasorda said. “Plus, Maldonado is capable of hitting the ball out of the ballpark.” . . . The Dodgers plan to honor Guerrero in pregame ceremonies Saturday, which is Guerrero’s 29th birthday.