Fernando Closes Down Padres in Opener, 2-1 : He Strikes Out Nine; Marshall Homer Wins It
Pedro Guerrero made it as far as the on-deck circle Monday afternoon and threw the Dodgers’ first pitch. Fernando Valenzuela went the distance and threw their last.
Mike Marshall arrived early and delivered late. And the San Diego Padres ran themselves silly, then sillier still, with even the Garv himself making a rare stumble.
One step into that uncertain black hole known as life without Guerrero, the Dodgers were anything but tentative, winning their first game of 1986, 2-1, before 49,444 in Dodger Stadium.
“I don’t think we have to feel too sorry for the Dodgers,” said Steve Boros, new San Diego manager whose debut might have ended differently if the Padres hadn’t been so sorry on the bases.
“Don’t spend too much time worrying about the Dodgers, with that pitching.”
After a still-dizzy Guerrero had hobbled out of the hospital on crutches to throw out the ceremonial first ball, Valenzuela did anything but stand on ceremony, shutting out the Padres for eight innings and finishing with a 10-hit complete game.
Marshall, meanwhile, a lone figure taking batting practice at 10 a.m. Monday, singled and scored the Dodgers’ first run in the second, then homered off Padre starter Eric Show for a 2-0 lead in the seventh.
“Pete’s being out really didn’t matter as to how I go about my season,” said Marshall, who had jammed his right hand on a pickoff play in the Freeway Series last Friday and came out to the park early to see whether he could play.
“I’m not a real flashy player. I just go out there and do my job every day. I’m not going to change because Pete’s gone.”
There’s no question the Padres have changed, now that the heavy on Kroc’s landing, Dick Williams, has been replaced by good-guy Boros. The new man likes to let his players loose on the basepaths. Monday, they ran amok, when they weren’t running in place.
In the fifth, Carmelo Martinez, challenging the arm of Franklin Stubbs, new Dodger left fielder, was cut down attempting to score from second on Jerry Royster’s single.
“Surprised? Are you kidding?” said Stubbs, when asked about the slow Martinez’s 180-foot dash. “Everybody’s going to go on me. I’m sure they’re going to try. I just have to meet the challenge the best I can.”
In the seventh, Marvell Wynne, pinch-running after Terry Kennedy had walked, was picked off by Valenzuela.
That blunder not only ended a potential rally, but kept Boros from using his only right-handed pinch-hitter, catcher Bruce Bochy, to start the eighth. Bochy had to go into the game to replace Kennedy, so the Padres, who had cut right-handed hitter Bobby Brown the day before, were forced to send up Graig Nettles, who struck out.
Then, after Kevin McReynolds’ leadoff single in the ninth, Garvey lost his footing on his approach to first base after skipping a ground-ball that hit third base and went past third baseman Dave Anderson. Instead of a certain double, Garvey had to retreat to first, where he was removed for pinch-runner John Kruk, who was playing in his first big league game.
With runners on first and third, Boros called for a hit and run. Martinez, however, swung and missed. “He’s not the first guy to swing through a Fernando screwball,” Scioscia said.
And Kruk, on his way to second, stopped well before reaching the bag. He was a parked Kruk when Dodger second baseman Steve Sax applied the tag.
“I should have kept going,” Kruk said. “If it was a one-run game, maybe I stop and get in a rundown. In a two-run game, I keep going.”
It became a one-run game when Garry Templeton, a .380 hitter against Valenzuela, lined a single to right, scoring McReynolds. But Bochy tapped out to the mound for the final out, making Valenzuela a winner for the first time in the last four openers.
Last season, Valenzuela lost the opener to Houston, 2-1, on two unearned runs after an error by Mariano Duncan. Monday, with the exception of an error charged to Scioscia when his throw bounced past Duncan on Templeton’s second-inning steal, the Dodgers were flawless afield.
“Everybody needs to play together like we did today,” said Duncan, who has spent the last couple of nights visiting Guerrero in the hospital.
“If we play D like we did today, we have a chance to win a lot of games.”
It doesn’t hurt, of course, to have Valenzuela pitching the way he was. He struck out nine, walked only one, and allowed the Padres only singles.
And he made an imperceptible blip of Bip Roberts, the Padres’ new leadoff man. The rookie second baseman, playing his first game above the double-A level, struck out on three pitches to start the game. He grounded into a double play in the third, bounced into a double play in the sixth and tapped to third in the eighth.
“That screwball was real tough,” said the 5-7 Roberts, whose size could make him a cousin to the NBA’s Spud Webb.
“We knew the screwball was coming, but we couldn’t lay off it.
“I’ll put this in my notebook. He got me today. He broke in the rookie. But I’ll get him.”
With Guerrero gone, the Dodgers know that many teams believe the getting is good. This was the first chance to prove otherwise.
“I’m sure other teams are going to wait and see if we can win without him,” Scioscia said. “I know we can.
“Last season, Pete was really struggling at the beginning. He was hurt three weeks in the middle and then again at the end.
“A healthy Pedro Guerrero, a 100% Pedro Guerrero probably played in just 100 games last season. It’s amazing he was able to hit 33 home runs in that few games.
“But we’ve done it (won without Guerrero) in the past, and if we put our minds to it, we’ll do it again.”
Dodger Notes Steve Sax’s right foot is bothering him more than he has publicly let on. Sax, who singled home the Dodgers’ first run in the second, has a bone spur in the middle of his right heel. A cortisone shot he was given last Wednesday has not helped, and Dodger officials were considering giving Sax another shot, possibly today. . . . Pedro Guerrero, just released from the hospital Monday morning, was moving very slowly when he came out of the Dodger dugout on crutches to throw out the first ball. “He’s OK, he’s just a little dizzy,” said Mariano Duncan, who twice has visited Guerrero in the hospital. “I was really happy he could throw out the first ball.” Duncan said that when he sees Guerrero, he avoids talking about baseball. “I don’t want him to feel bad,” Duncan said.
Mike Marshall, who did not hit well during spring training--a .228 average, 19 strikeouts in 74 at-bats--said he was not concerned. “The intensity level is so different,” Marshall said. “Every year in spring training, I try four or five different batting stances, four or five different bats, then I go right back to the same bat and the same stance. The first three or four weeks of spring training, I probably took so many swings I was fatigued for the games. All I was doing every day was sleeping and playing baseball, and I think it caught up with me.” . . . Marshall hit Eric Show’s first pitch in the seventh for a homer, just to the right of the 370-foot sign in left. Show allowed just five hits before giving way to Craig Lefferts, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. “Show’s a lot like Fernando,” Marshall said. “You think you’re knocking him around, then you look up at the scoreboard in the seventh and you’ve only got one run.”
With Dave Dravecky, a left-hander, pitching for the Padres tonight, Manager Tom Lasorda said he would not platoon either Greg Brock at first base or Ken Landreaux in center field. Bill Russell or Reggie Williams will start in left field, he said. . . . Lasorda used Dave Anderson at third and Williams in left as defensive replacements for Bill Madlock and Franklin Stubbs, respectively. Anderson, on Steve Garvey’s ninth-inning single that skipped past him: “It hit the bag. Fernando was doing such a great job, I thought maybe we had a chance to lose. I thought for sure Garvey would be on second base. I’m glad we got out of it.”
Lasorda’s office was empty except for reporters before the game. “Very lonely,” said Lasorda, who used to entertain friends, celebrities, politicians and restaurant owners galore before home games. “Who would you rather talk to, a writer or Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles?” Lasorda’s solution? “I think I’ll put my friends on videotape and talk to them that way. You know, have Frank say, ‘Hi, Tom, how are the kids?’ ” . . . Tonight’s pitchers: Orel Hershiser (19-3) vs. Dravecky (13-11).