Dodgers Only Have Eyes for Finishing First
He wasn’t born in the U.S.A., so maybe Pedro Guerrero’s response shouldn’t have come as a surprise after he was asked if he were going to the Bruce Springsteen concert Sunday night.
“Who’s he?” Guerrero said.
In San Pedro de Macoris, apparently, they still prefer the bossa to the Boss.
Besides, Guerrero’s present state of tunnelvision doesn’t allow much room for a rock concert. For that matter, it doesn’t allow much room for the Cincinnati Reds, either, the team in pursuit of the Dodgers in the National League West.
“I don’t give a damn if they win ‘em all, I don’t even think about them,” Guerrero said. “I just think about us. They have to be worried about why we don’t lose.”
Sunday afternoon in Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers did nothing to ease the anxiety in Cincinnati, beating the Giants, 7-2, to complete a three-game sweep and reduce their magic number to three with seven games to play.
The Reds won for the 12th time in 14 games Sunday afternoon, beating Houston, 5-0, but remained 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, who have won seven of their last eight. Guerrero’s two-run, bases-loaded single in the fifth inning Sunday gave the Dodgers a lead they never relinquished. Any combination of Dodger wins or Red losses totaling three, and the division title belongs to L.A.
A fitting metaphor for the last-place Giants, meanwhile, was provided by backup infielder Rick Adams, who was sitting in a folding chair in the Giants’ bullpen when outfielder Rob Deer crashed into the bullpen door catching Mike Scioscia’s fly ball in the sixth.
The door was jarred open on impact, and Adams was sent toppling head over heels.
“It just goes to show you,” Adams said, “that you don’t have to play to get on ‘This Week in Baseball.’ ”
The film of everything else the Giants did in this game ought to be burned. They committed three errors, with shortstop Jose Uribe’s misplay of Steve Sax’s ground ball the overture to the Dodgers’ three-run fifth inning.
In the seventh, Mariano Duncan scored when Giant reliever Mark Davis threw a wild pitch on a third strike to Bill Madlock, who swung at the pitch in the dirt and wound up standing at first base. Two batters later, Mike Marshall, who had dropped a fly ball for a three-base error in the fourth, hit his 25th home run.
“I came here to see a lot of things, but I didn’t want to see this many.” said new Giant Manager Roger Craig.
Sound like something less than championship-caliber baseball?
“It was a thriller for us,” said Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda to reporters afterward. “Of course, you’re hard to please.”
It was satisfying enough to pitcher Bob Welch, who gave up six hits and two runs, just one earned, in seven innings for his 13th win, matching his total in 1984 even though he missed the first two months of ’85. Another difference between this year and last is that Welch lost 13 a year ago and just four so far this year.
And Welch’s single after Uribe’s error seemed to invigorate the Dodger offense after Giant rookie pitcher Roger Mason had struck out six batters in the first four innings.
“Myself, I was kind of looking for some nice sunshine and everybody screaming and hollering,” said Welch, who said he felt about as drab as the skies overhead. “I was a little lackadaisical. I had some trouble hopping right out of bed.
“I just wanted to keep it close. I knew we’d score some runs. It doesn’t matter how we do it, as long as we win, we’ve got it.”
The win was the Dodgers’ 92nd of the season, which is as many wins as the defending champion San Diego Padres had at the end of last season, when they won the division by a dozen games.
As the schedule would have it, the Dodgers’ clinching could come in the next two nights against the Padres, but Lasorda dodged a chance to gloat when asked if it would mean more to him if it came against San Diego.
“No way,” he said. “All we want to do is clinch it.”
Dodger Notes Pedro Guerrero said his sprained left wrist bothered him more Sunday than it has since his return to action last Monday. He speculated that it might have been the relatively cool weather. Manager Tom Lasorda, asked if he were concerned that Guerrero’s wrist will worsen along with the weather in the postseason, said: “How am I supposed to know how he’s going to feel 10 days from now? If I did, I’d be working for the Mayo Clinic.” . . . With a sellout crowd of 45,775 on Sunday, the Dodgers’ home attendance exceeded 3 million for the sixth time and fourth season in a row. Attendance is at 3,007,964 in 74 dates, an average of 40,648 and an increase of 66,825 over last season. . . . Dave Anderson’s eighth-inning RBI was his first since July 14. . . . Ken Landreaux, who singled in a run in the fifth, was 3 for 38 before that at-bat. . . . Greg Brock ended a 4-for-33 spin with two doubles. . . . Mariano Duncan’s two stolen bases gave him 33 for the season, 10th best total in the league and just one behind Andy Van Slyke of St. Louis. . . . Sunday was the ninth anniversary of Lasorda’s hiring as Dodger manager. . . . Lasorda, who pulled Bob Welch with a 6-2 lead Sunday, said he wasn’t aware that Angel Manager Gene Mauch had lifted Don Sutton with a five-run lead on Saturday and lost the game. “I went to early Mass,” Lasorda said, “I didn’t get to read about it.” . . . Bob Welch is now 15-2 lifetime against the Giants.