Bill Gullickson Plays It Safe, Beats Dodgers

Times Staff Writer

The Dodger guns of August, which had blasted away for 22 hits just four nights ago in Philadelphia and have had 22 hits in the four games since, were muffled again Sunday, this time by a sissy.

That wasn't the name on the back of the uniform worn by Bill Gullickson, the Montreal pitcher who shut out the Dodgers for eight innings and wound up with a five-hit, 6-1 win before 18,150 fans in rain-soaked Olympic Stadium.

At 6-3, 220 pounds, Gullickson has been addressed as "sir" more often than "sissy." Yet that's one of the names Pedro Guerrero called Gullickson when the right-hander walked him on four pitches with two runners on and a six-run lead in the ninth.

"I told him, 'Throw the bleeping ball over the plate,' " said Guerrero, who discussed the subject with Gullickson on his way to first base.

"I called him a big sissy."

In the French papers here, that will come out as un gros peureux . In any language, it's still an insult.

And how did Gullickson respond? "He said, 'Bleep you,' " Guerrero replied.

"It's a bleeping crime. Two men on base, and the bleeper throws me three bleeping breaking balls. Then, when he knows I'm taking, he throws me a fastball inside. Way inside, too."

Detect a little frustration in Guerrero's tone? Well, he wasn't alone in the state of aggravation Sunday. Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda was ejected from a game for the first time this season, thumbed out by third-base umpire Dana DeMuth for arguing that R.J. Reynolds had arrived at the bag ahead of right fielder Andre Dawson's throw in the sixth inning.

It was one of Lasorda's shorter monologues, as DeMuth gave him a faster hook than a third-rate comic on the same bill with Richard Pryor.

"What I said I don't think warranted me getting thrown out," Lasorda said. "I didn't want to get thrown out. I never cussed him out."

What, then, did Lasorda say?

"I told him, 'You're full of bleep,' " the manager answered.

The distinction between cussing and not cussing may not be the same for Lasorda and a linguist--nor, it is apparent, for umpire DeMuth.

"I wanted to make it through the whole year without being thrown out," Lasorda said.

Asked if he'd ever managed that, Lasorda replied: "I don't know, I'm not a stat man."

As upset as he was by the call, Lasorda was just as upset that Reynolds, who had opened the inning with a pinch single, had decided to challenge the arm of Dawson when Mariano Duncan followed with another base hit. At the time, the Dodgers trailed, 3-0, a situation that Lasorda said did not invite derring-do on the bases.

"When you're three runs behind, you shouldn't take any chances," Lasorda said. "He (Reynolds) came around second base and hesitated. That made the difference."

Perhaps, someone suggested, Reynolds was just trying to play aggressively.

"Yeah, but you've still got to know the score and how many outs there are," Lasorda said. "You should never get thrown out at third base for the first or second out of an inning."

Reynolds, who maintained his head-first slide beat the tag of third baseman Tim Wallach, didn't argue the veracity of that axiom. On the other hand, he said he'd do it the same way if he had to do it over, and would do it again the next time the situation presents itself.

"I wouldn't call it overzealous," Reynolds said. "If I'd been thrown out by five feet, then it would be a different story.

"I took a chance, gambled and lost. The bottom line is, when I stop running, I can't play. Running's my game, and any chance I have of going from first to third, I'll go first to third.

"We hadn't done anything to that point, and I was trying to make something happen. The right fielder (Dawson) had to come over and had to pick the ball up off wet turf. I don't care whose arm it is.

"It wasn't like I hesitated, but he made a helluva throw and gets me, the way things turned out. But if I get to first base and there's a ground ball up the middle again, I'll go to third again."

And Reynolds said he's not what you'd call a gambler by nature, either. "I don't mind taking chances but I hate to gamble," he said. "I'll let somebody else play with my money."

Until his last two starts, Bob Welch had been money in the bank for the Dodgers. He had a personal eight-game winning streak and the Dodgers had won in 13 of his 14 starts.

But Welch gave up four runs in five innings in a no-decision last Tuesday in Philadelphia and Sunday, his best pitch in five innings of work was the fly ball to the warning track. When the Expos weren't scraping the backs of Dodger outfielders against the wall, they were knocking Welch around for seven hits and three runs, then added another three runs in the seventh against Carlos Diaz.

The usual suspects were involved in the Montreal attack. Hubie Brooks, a cleanup hitter for the first time in his life this season, had three hits, a sacrifice fly and three RBIs, giving him a career high 74, just three fewer than Guerrero. A dozen of those RBIs have come against the Dodgers, whom Brooks is hitting at a .429 pace (15 for 35).

Tim Raines, who reached base 10 times in this series, had two hits, a walk, scored twice and stole a base, and Gullickson doubled in a run after Mike Fitzgerald tripled over the head of center fielder Ken Landreaux with two out in the fourth.

Welch, now 9-2, chided himself as much for his failure to bunt two runners over in the third as he did for giving up the hit to Gullickson.

"My job is do what I can to help them out," said Welch, asked if it were tougher to pitch without some offensive support from his teammates.

"And I sure didn't by not bunting those guys over. That makes it a different situation.

"It's also my job to keep us closer than 3-0."

Gullickson, a 1-0 loser in his last start, lost his shutout in the ninth on Greg Brock's sacrifice fly after singles by Duncan and Mike Marshall and Guerrero's walk loaded the bases. And he wasn't about to apologize for the handle-with-care approach he took with Guerrero.

"He really wanted something to crank, didn't he?" Gullickson said with a smile. "But if I put the ball in there, he could drill it into the seats.

"I was just showing him a little respect. I don't know."

Despite losing two out of three to the Expos, the Dodgers remained 6 1/2 games ahead of San Diego in the National League West. And Guerrero, whose own problems hitting here--he had one hit in 10 trips in the series, Friday's grand slam--predicts the Dodgers will soon be swinging again.

"It seems like everybody is a little impatient, they want to hit so bad," Guerrero said.

"We should be relaxing, playing the game the way we did before. We don't have to catch anybody."

Dodger notes Since their 15-6 win over the Phillies last Wednesday, the Dodgers have scored two runs or fewer in three of four games. The only exception was Friday's 8-4 win in which Pedro Guerrero and Mariano Duncan hit grand slams. In the 36 innings since that blowout, there have been only five occasions in which the Dodgers have had more than one hit in an inning. And of their 22 hits, only three have been for extra bases. "I've been getting myself out," said Guerrero, who is 1 for 14 since last Wednesday. "I'm missing too many good pitches. I'm swinging at everything and I'm not patient at all. But we can't worry about it. We know we can hit. We can't go out there every day and score 10 runs." . . . Guerrero isn't the only Dodger who has cooled off recently. Mike Marshall has two singles in 10 trips, Ken Landreaux two singles in 11 at-bats, and Greg Brock four singles in 12 at-bats. Since returning to the lineup Friday after straining a muscle in his side, Enos Cabell has one single in 11 at-bats and Sunday was dropped from second to sixth in the order. . . . Manager Tom Lasorda, asked if he detected a shift in momentum since the team is now 4-5 on this trip: "We've done a few things to stop our momentum. We're not executing right. We've had scoring opportunities and haven't been able to capitalize on them."

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