On the surface, there was so much significance in the Padres’ 5-4 12-inning defeat of the Atlanta Braves Tuesday night.
For Jerry Royster--He had come up with one out in the top of the 12th with Tim Flannery on third and Tony Gwynn on first. He then lifted a sacrifice fly to left that turned out to be the game-winner.
And Royster used to play here. For nine years. Everywhere he went, people patted him on the back. Everyone here seemed to be on first-name basis with him.
“And, you know, the people were happy it was me who won the game,” he said. “They didn’t boo me. They cheered.”
For Roy Lee Jackson--After Craig Lefferts walked Dale Murphy with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, it was Jackson’s game. He’s all the Padres have to show for Alan Wiggins right now. He replaced Lefferts, walked Bob Horner, but then got Terry Harper to ground out. It was his first save as a Padre.
“Oh yeah, it meant a lot,” he said. “Because if you come through successfully, you feel like you’ve contributed.”
For Tony Gwynn and Tim Flannery--Flannery led off the 12th with a single, and Gwynn then singled, moving Flannery to third. That set up Royster. And for a team that’s still five games behind the Dodgers, this rally was imperative.
“I’ll tell you what me and Tony have been doing,” Flannery said. “I’ll get on during a game, and he won’t. Or he’ll get on three times, and I won’t. We haven’t been in sync.”
For Carmelo Martinez--The Padres had trailed, 3-2, entering the eighth inning. Then, the Braves turned to Terry Forster, the guy who had been called a “fat tub of goo” by David Letterman. Forster waddled in, and the fans all screamed “Gooooo.” But when the Padres tied it, they screamed “booooo,” or wait it “gooooo?” Then, with Bruce Sutter now pitching and with Royster on third, having pinch-run for Graig Nettles, Martinez singled in the go-ahead run.
Special? Martinez had been hearing all these rumors about how he was going to be traded. It unnerved him. It caused a slump. He had been 0 for 15 entering Tuesday’s game.
“Want me to tell you the truth? It did affect me a little,” he said. “I was trying to do better than I was doing. I was forcing it. And I got into a slump. What was bothering me was my wife. I would have to leave her in San Diego if I were traded.”
For Kurt Bevacqua--He never played, but said afterward: “I get to tell everybody on my radio show that we won. I was sick of making excuses.”
And so, on the surface, there are all the significant components of Tuesday’s game.
Now for everything beneath the surface:
The Feud Between Eric Show and Dick Williams--It began last Thursday, the day the Padres blew a 6-0 lead to St. Louis and lost 9-6. Show had been taken out when San Diego led 6-1 and later said Williams shouldn’t have given him the hook. He also said he had “a premonition” that the Padres would blow it, which they did.
Tuesday’s game was Show’s first game since Thursday. He pitched fine throughout the game, but fell behind, 3-2, in the sixth when Rick Cerone hit an RBI single to left. Still, Martinez had put the Padres ahead, 4-3, in the top of the eighth, and it seemingly was time to turn to Goose Gossage, who was throwing hard in the bullpen.
But Show started the eighth. He walked the leadoff man, Murphy, but he stayed in. He gave up a single to Horner, and he stayed in. Then Terry Harper hit a ground ball that scored Murphy, tying the game. Show was still in.
Gossage was leaning against the bullpen railing. He pounded the ball into his glove. He bounced a ball on the ground. He never entered, not until the ninth. Eventually, the game went into extra innings.
Did Williams do this to get back at Show, who had questioned his move last Thursday?
Williams, who appeared to be in a cranky mood, was asked if Show was tiring by the eighth inning.
“Remember when we took him out premature with a 6-1 lead? We didn’t tonight, did we?”
Williams was asked if he left Show in to get back at him.
“No,” he said.
Did Show think Williams left him in to get back at him?
“Um. . . . um . . . with him, anything’s possible,” Show said. “You guys saw it, you write it.”
Later, Show said with a smile: “The main purpose of me starting the eighth was for me to face Murphy, Horner and Harper. There was no sense throwing the ninth with the bottom of the order up.”
And so there’s never a dull moment with the Padres, although the Braves tend to bring teams down to their level. Maybe, it’s the humidity. The last time the Padres were here was April, Williams had Gossage in the game with a lead, but took him out for Lefferts, something he’d never done before with Gossage. And last year, there was the infamous brawl.
What will today bring?
Tony Gwynn went 3 for 6, lifting his average over .300 again, to .301 precisely. . . . Were the other Padre players surprised that Manager Dick Williams didn’t bring in Goose Gossage for the eighth? “I don’t make decisions,” Gwynn said. “But I was surprised. It worked out OK. We got the win. I was looking for Goose, but I still felt good about Eric (Show) because he was going good. Said Terry Kennedy: “I don’t know. I’m not going to manage. I’ve got my own stuff to worry about behind the plate.” . . . Terry Forster, that “fat tub of goo,” was back in Atlanta Tuesday after his performance Monday night on The David Letterman Show. He sat in the clubhouse before the game, eating. Naturally. But it was just a watermelon. No cookies or cake. Anyway, his agent, L.A.-based Mark Polan, keeps getting calls from television people, wondering about possible commercials. Some music video people have called, too.