Padres’ Streak Strikes Out Against Giants, 4-1
The noise from the shower room happened to be Mike Krukow’s singing voice.
“We built this city . . . we built this city on rock ‘n roll . . . Oh yeah!”
The Padres, who built their four-game winning streak on late-inning heroics, failed to rock this city (or, the 4,611 fans at Candlestick Park) Thursday, losing to the Giants and Krukow, 4-1.
Krukow (2-0) limited the Padres to five hits. Not only was his curveball dipping as usual, but his fastball was zipping, too.
“I think that’s the best game I’ve ever seen him pitch,” Padre Manager Steve Boros said.
Inevitably, though, the Padres made their run at another one-run game. Both they and the Dodgers had played 10 consecutive games decided by a single run, and just one more would’ve tied a National League record. Trailing by three entering the seventh, San Diego’s Tony Gwynn drew a leadoff walk from Krukow but advanced no further.
In the eighth, John Kruk--starting in left field for the still-hobbled Carmelo Martinez--doubled with one out. Garry Templeton’s infield single pushed him to third, but pinch-hitter Marvell Wynne and leadoff man Tim Flannery were retired.
In the ninth, Gwynn hit a leadoff double, but Krukow struck out Kevin McReynolds with a breaking ball, got Steve Garvey to fly out and made Terry Kennedy hit a lazy pop fly to the shortstop.
The streak had struck out.
“I’d rather have the excitement back again, to say the least,” Boros said. “Don’t guarantee me a win, but tell me I’l play a one-run game everyday, and I’ll like my chances . . . Boy, in the eighth and ninth, the feeling in our dugout was there. We could win. If we wouldn’t push across any runs, we’d at least scare them.”
What’s scary is the way San Francisco’s Jeffrey Leonard is swinging the bat. Last year, he was referred to as Jeff Leonard, but he requested a change because his mother “always used to call me Jeffrey.” He made his mother proud Thursday, blasting a game-winning, three-run double in the third inning, and he now is tied for the National League lead in RBIs with nine. Cincinnati’s Dave Parker, Pittsburgh’s Johnny Ray and the Dodgers’ Franklin Stubbs also have nine.
He also is tied for the league lead in game-winning RBIs, joining Montreal’s Mitch Webster and Ray, with three.
He also has three home runs.
He also isn’t pouting as much.
Last year, Roger Craig came in as Giant manager and told Leonard to shape up. For instance, he couldn’t wear his cap backwards, which Leonard whined about. He said: “It’s my trademark.”
Now, his head and cap seem to be on straight, although he tends to pull his cap down rather low, just above his eyeballs.
Still, his eyes were open wide when Padre starter Andy Hawkins threw him that slider with the bases loaded in the third. Hawkins (0-2) had quickly recorded two outs that inning, but Dan Gladden singled, and Hawkins then threw eight straight balls out of the strike zone.
Pitching coach Galen Cisco then came out to see Hawkins, whose first pitch to Leonard, that slider, was hit to left-center and scored three.
“I had walked two guys in a row, and I figured he’d be looking for a fastball,” Hawkins said. “I figured that would fool him, but I don’t think my slider would fool anybody right now.”
Hawkins thinks his problem simply is that he’s thinking too much. He says when he goes to the mound, he’s trying to make sure his mechanics are correct, but, in the interim, forgets about the batters’ strengths and weaknesses.
“When I don’t think about it (mechanics), I’ll be all right,” he said.
How bad is Hawkins’ slider right now? Leonard thought he hit a straight fastball. It did not break.
Hawkins, though, didn’t breakdown completely. He retired the first two batters in the fifth and looked strong doing so, but rookie Will Clark doubled to right, and Chris Brown followed with an RBI single. It was 4-1.
“That’s ridiculous to give up runs when you get the first two (outs),” Hawkins said.
Krukow was ridiculously happy afterward. The lone Padre run came on Graig Nettles’ second-inning RBI single, but Krukow kept mixing his fastball, curveball (“It’s one of the best in the National League,” Boros said) and split-fingered fastball.
“I’ve never seen his fastball like that,” Gwynn said.
“Well,” Krukow said later, “there was a 90 m.p.h. wind behind me.
“Yeah, I’m in a good mood. We just beat the first-place Pads! We’re 5-4 on the season. I feel good.”
Then, he stuck a cigar in his mouth, picked up his briefcase and out the door he went.
All the way down the corridor, he sang. “We built this city . . . we built this city on rock n’ roll . . . Oh yeah!”
The Padres and Dodgers did set a record for most consecutive one-run games to start a season. However, the 1967 Cincinnati Reds hold the National League record for the most consecutive one-run games at any point in a season with 11 (and the Dodgers still have a chance to break it). The major league record? Who knows? Sports Information Center, which does the American League statistics, declined to look up the American League record for consecutive one-run games, saying it would take too long. It took Elias, which does the National League stats, three days to figure out that the Reds had the record. . . . Carmelo Martinez originally was slated to start in left field Thursday, but the tendinitis in his left knee still made it difficult for him to run. He might play tonight. Catcher Bruce Bochy, who had fluid drained from his left knee this week, is available for pinch-hitting only.