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Padres Left Out in the Cold : Garrelts Is On, but Thurmond Is Not, as the Giants Win, 6-1

Times Staff Writer

The season’s first night game at Candlestick Park turned into Mark Thurmond’s worst nightmare.

He walked the first two batters he faced.

The fourth batter he faced--Jeffrey Leonard--homered.

In the second inning, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh batters Thurmond faced hit a single, double, single and single, respectively.

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Thurmond promptly was replaced, having yielded six runs, and the Padres, who had no heating in their dugout, shivered through this Friday evening, losing, 6-1.

Giants pitcher Scott Garrelts was the winner, as he tossed a three-hitter employing what Tony Gwynn calls “the pitch of the ‘80s.”

The split-fingered fastball.

“I wouldn’t trade him (Garrelts) for Jack Morris,” Giants Manager Roger Craig said.

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Said Gwynn: “Like Flan (Tim Flannery) says, ‘We need to face a pitcher with arm problems. Except for Tom Browning (of Cincinnati), everyone’s been on the ball. We need someone headed for rotator cuff surgery.’

“He (Garrelts) jammed the mess out of me. My thumb hurt so bad it was shaking. I couldn’t stop it.”

The Padres need to win today and Sunday to split this series.

Thurmond is used to hanging his head (and his slider) here. Last season, he lost both games of a doubleheader at Candlestick Park and was taken out of the starting rotation. This season, he’d been 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA, but his 1985 horror show was revisited Friday.

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So the Giants, who have not had a winning April since 1973, are off to a 6-4 start, while the Padres fall to 7-5.

And the Padres just refuse to hit. They had scored only 27 runs in the 11 games before Friday, and if not for their dynamite pitching, their record wouldn’t be so good.

“We’ve got to start scoring some runs,” Manager Steve Boros said before Friday’s game. “The pitchers understood when we played the Dodgers and Reds that they had to put zeros on the board. But we have to score so we don’t put consistent pressure on them.”

The Giants scored a lot. Dan Gladden and Will Clark opened the game with walks (on 11 pitches), and after Chris Brown flied out, Leonard homered to left-center. It was a towering fly ball, and a kid in the bleachers used his battered old glove to catch it.

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Left fielder John Kruk--again starting for injured Carmelo Martinez--applauded the kid.

The 14,107 fans applauded the Giants in the second inning. Rob Thompson led off with another walk (Thurmond gave up three total). Thompson took second on a ground out. He scored on Gladden’s two-out single to left. Gladden built a batting cage in his backyard in the off-season, naming the pitching machine “Casey,” and he hasn’t been striking out like “Casey at the Bat.”

He leads the majors with 17 hits.

Gladden eventually scored on Clark’s double to right. Clark, a rookie, is an important player here. With a 6-0 lead, Giant Manager Roger Craig lifted Clark, who had a slight groin pull, just to give him the rest of the night off.

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Such treatment for a rookie?

Clark eventually scored on Brown’s single to right, and when Leonard came up and singled, Thurmond was out of there.

Gene Walter replaced him, and he was outstanding. Walter threw 4 scoreless innings of relief--the longest stint of his career--and has yet to give up a run in 10 innings this year.

He has struck out 15.

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Walter also doubled for his first major league hit. He’s no runner. The ball rolled into the right-field corner, bouncing around free, and Walter only made it to second. The next batter, Flannery, dribbled one in front of the plate, a perfect opportunity for Walter to take third, but he did not.

The Padres only got a runner to third in the second and sixth innings, and each time, the runner was stranded. Garrelts struck out Kruk and Garry Templeton with Graig Nettles on third in the second inning. And with Gwynn on third with no outs in the sixth, Kevin McReynolds, Steve Garvey, Terry Kennedy (who walked) and Nettles could not move him across.

Kennedy ruined Garrelts’ shutout with a ninth-inning homer.

“What’s missing in our offense is leadoff extra-base hits,” Boros had said earlier in the day. But Gwynn had that leadoff double in the sixth and was stranded.

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“And, also, we haven’t clustered any hits,” he said. “We haven’t got two, three, four in a row.”

But they’ve lost two in a row.

Padre Notes The Padres had an optional batting practice early Friday afternoon, and more bodies than usual showed. Before Friday, the team was averaging 2.45 runs. Tony Gwynn was there, Bip Roberts, etc. Roberts actually was there extra early to take private lessons from hitting coach Deacon Jones. Jones and Padre Manager Steve Boros have ordered Roberts to choke up and use a bigger bat rather than a smaller bat to swing away like a home-run hitter. Roberts apparently has visions of grandeur, (homers and triples), and the Padres would rather he think ground balls and line-drive singles. Forget that. He borrowed Carmelo Martinez’s 34-ounce bat, and Jones--who happened to be celebrating his 52nd birthday--threw him 30 minutes of batting practice, telling him to “chop down” at the ball. Roberts seemed to listening, but won’t get his next start until Sunday. He’s still looking for his first big-league hit.


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