It’s Chili Night for Dodgers : His 2 Homers Send Giants Into First
And Steven Spielberg thought he had exclusive rights to “Amazing Stories.”
Monday night, the Dodgers and Giants plunged into the fog of Candlestick Park, where anything that can happen probably will.
Tom Lasorda did not disappear, but the Dodger bats vanished into the mists. Chili Davis of the Giants, meanwhile, stayed out of Mike Scioscia’s way and lost two of Rick Honeycutt’s pitches for home runs in San Francisco’s 5-1 win over Los Angeles before an ecstatic crowd of 22,283.
And when the dust cleared, there were the Giants in first place by a half-game over the Houston Astros. Spring is just a month old, but the Giants haven’t been in first this late into any season since 1978.
And there were the Dodgers, who have gone to extraordinary lengths to prove how much they miss Pedro Guerrero. It’s bad enough they’re in last place, 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco.
But they’ve given bad a new meaning. The Dodgers’ 4-10 start is the worst since Walter O’Malley grew too big for Brooklyn. There, they called ‘em Bums, but the last Dodger team in Brooklyn to have this bad a start was in 1931, Wilbert Robinson’s last season as Dodger manager.
Lasorda has no plans to quit, of course. But Mariano Duncan, the Dodgers’ slumping leadoff man, was planning to place a call to Guerrero.
“I’ll probably call him tonight,” said Duncan, whose batting average sank to .136 after he went hitless in three trips, extending a 2- for-23 slump.
“Sometimes when I’m in a slump, I talk to Pete, he can tell me something. I know he is watching every game.”
If Guerrero is, it must be with his hands over his eyes. The Dodgers, held to two hits by Atlanta’s Zane Smith on Saturday, scored seven runs Sunday but reverted to form Monday, collecting three hits off Giant right-hander Roger Mason.
One of those hits was Ken Landreaux’s first home run of the season, in the third. Except for a single by Greg Brock and an infield hit by Dave Anderson, that was it, as Mason set down the last 14 Dodgers in a row.
“Yesterday, we saw those runs, and we were pretty happy that we were starting to get some runs,” Lasorda said.
“Tonight, this guy (Mason) three-hits us. You can’t win with three hits.”
In Atlanta, Lasorda had ordered equipment man Dave Wright to crack open a new supply of bats. That worked for one day.
What next? Someone asked Lasorda if he had considered having a bat-burning party.
“Too expensive,” he said. “What with what bats cost today, I can’t burn ‘em.”
But without Duncan to ignite an offense that only smolders without Guerrero, Bill Madlock and Steve Sax, nights like these are only too commonplace.
“I feel really bad about the situation right now,” Duncan said. “I’m not getting on base too many times.
“When I get on base, the big guys have more confidence. But when I don’t, they try to do too much.
“I think I have to shorten my swing. Sometimes I’m swinging like I’m the fourth hitter on this team.”
Davis wasn’t doing any swinging at all after being totalled in a home-plate collision with Scioscia a week ago Sunday in Dodger Stadium.
He missed two games with a bruised shoulder and was hitless in nine at-bats until homering off Dave Dravecky of the Padres on Sunday.
“The trouble with being a switch-hitter in a slump,” Davis said, “is you’re in a slump for two people.”
Davis ran into Scioscia, in a less literal fashion, outside the Giant clubhouse before Monday’s game.
“You OK?” Scioscia said pleasantly.
“I still feel it,” Davis said. “I think I ran into your head.”
On Monday, Davis turned heads with a tee shot over the left-field fence to lead off the second.
“My golf swing’s getting in the 80s, maybe that had something to do with it,” he said.
In the fourth, after Jeffrey Leonard singled, stole second and went to third on Scioscia’s throwing error, Davis buried another drive well beyond the left-field foul pole.
“With Leonard on third, I tried to pitch him up and in, hoping he’d hit a popup,” said Honeycutt, whose four-inning stint was followed by Jerry Reuss’ first appearance as a reluctant Dodger reliever.
“All he did was hit it 400 feet.”
The Giants, losers of 100 games last season, have become an early season hit under new manager Roger Craig.
“I just felt all along we had a decent ballclub,” he said.
“The most important thing I had to do was create a better attitude, and I think I have.”
Davis, a Giant for five seasons, has a notion of how a winner acts only by observing others. He spoke admiringly of the Dodgers.
“We got a lot of Dodgers on this team,” he said. “and they always walk around like they’re God’s gift to baseball. That’s what it takes to win. They believe they can win. They walk around like they’re the only team in baseball. I’m sure the Yankees are the same way.”
For the moment, at least, the strut has become a crawl. And Guerrero is in a brace.
Dodger Notes Bill Madlock, reacting to the news that Pittsburgh had filed suit against Dave Parker, with whom he played on the Pirates: “I was wondering when that would happen. And they’ll probably have to have people testify, I imagine.” Madlock, who has not forgiven Parker for bringing up his name in last summer’s Pittsburgh drug trial, could not keep from smiling at the possibility that Parker may not collect the $5.3 million the Pirates owe him in deferred payments. “What do they (the Pirates) got to lose?” Madlock said. “They’ve got to pay him, anyway. Whatever it takes to pay the lawyers, it ain’t going to be $5 million.” Madlock said he believes there is an economic reason to the owners’ desire to include drug clauses in long-term contracts. “That’s the only way they can try to get out of the contract, a drug clause,” he said. . . . Enos Cabell, who like Parker was disciplined by baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth, is in the last year of a multiyear contract he signed with the Houston Astros. Told of the Parker situation, he said: “Not my problem. And I don’t have any more money.”