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Padres Lose at St. Louis in the 12th : Smith’s Triple Finds No-Man’s Land Between Left and Center

Times Staff Writer

Minutes before, they had stood near each other in the outfield.

Now, they sat together in the clubhouse.

Left fielder Carmelo Martinez and center fielder Kevin McReynolds.

They spoke.

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Martinez, a beer in his hand: “So where were you playing?”

McReynolds, tying his shoe: “I was straight away.”

Martinez: “I was right where I had to be until there were two strikes. Then I moved toward the line.”

And that’s when Ozzie Smith hit one where they weren’t, a fly ball in the 12th inning that bisected the two of them in left-center field. On impact, Padre Manager Steve Boros had said: “Oh, that’s gonna be caught.”

But it was not. Smith wound up with a triple and then scored the winning run on Jose Oquendo’s drive to left over a drawn-in Martinez. St. Louis, in last place before the game and getting desperate, won it, 4-3, in three hours and 12 minutes.

And Boros looked more upset than loser Goose Gossage (2-3). Gossage, perhaps used to the agony of defeat by now, walked off the field calmly. He had entered in the 12th and faced two batters.

Smith and Oquendo.

Neither made an out.

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But Boros said Smith should have.

“I just felt, and so did everyone in the dugout, that it should have been caught,” he said. “We might have to go to the video tape to find out why it wasn’t.”

A sigh.

“Now, I’ll just spend the whole night second-guessing myself,” Boros said. “Should I have put Marvell Wynne in center field? I didn’t think there was a spot (in the game) to put him in, but I’ll go over my lineup card in my room and find one, I’m sure. Usually, I think about those things. Usually, there’s an opportunity to double switch. Ah, shoot. I’ll be pouring over that thing (the score sheet) to figure when I could have run Marvell out there. Especially on the (artificial) turf. Speed is so important, especially in a big ballpark like this.”

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A sigh.

All this over a lazy fly.

“No, no. The ball wasn’t that close to us,” Martinez said. “It may have looked like we could catch it, but the ball kept sailing, though.”

McReynolds, to reporters: “I ain’t got nothin’ to say . . . I was playing the guy to pull.”

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Smith, in a drastically more positive Cardinal clubhouse: “I thought it was high enough to be caught. I guess they were playing me a little farther over (toward right-center). When it fell, I ran as far as I could.”

Cardinal starter John Tudor went as far as he could, 10 innings to be exact. He looked bad early. Steve Garvey, who is suddenly getting hot in this Midwestern humidity, hit a two-run homer (his fifth of the season) in the opening inning. In the second, Bip Roberts hit one way over the head of center fielder Willie McGee, who had read the scouting reports and was playing shallow.

Roberts zipped his way to third and had his first major league triple and second major league hit. He scored on Eric Show’s double over the head of Andy Van Slyke in right.

“I was trying to blow people away (with fastballs),” Tudor said. “I can’t do that. It almost cost us the game.”

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But, facing Show, the Cardinals had scored their own run in the first (Tommy Herr’s groundout scored McGee), and then that man again--Jack Clark--hit a two-run homer in the third to tie the game at 3-3.

The next 8 1/2 innings were scoreless.

Nobody was very opportunistic.

Here’s what the Padres wasted:

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Fifth inning: Jerry Royster singles and gets to second when McReynolds walks. With two out, though, Garvey grounds out.

Seventh inning: Pinch-hitter John Kruk singles and gets to second on Royster’s ground out. There are two outs. But Tony Gwynn, who went 0 for 5 against Tudor, struck out.

Gwynn, who was hitting .356 before the game, can’t hit Tudor.

“Never have, never will,” he said.

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Eighth inning: McReynolds singles, but Garvey forces him at second. With Martinez up, the hit and run play is on. Martinez slashes one up the middle, a sure base hit. But Tudor got his glove on it, and the ball rolled right to second base. Herr tagged Garvey and threw out Martinez for the double play.

Ninth inning: Roberts walks, but never gets to second.

Tenth inning: Royster gets his third hit of the night, but never reaches second.

Twelfth inning: Roberts gets another hit, a grounder through the infield to right, and he steals second. There is one out. But reliever (and winner) Todd Worrell strikes out Graig Nettles, and--after Gwynn is walked intentionally--McReynolds flies out.

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By the way, Roberts’ batting average is now in triple digits (.115).

He wore an orange shirt under his jersey for the first time Wednesday, and now he says he will wear it the rest of the year.

“I’ll wash it myself,” he said.

The Cardinals wasted some innings themselves. Radio announcers Jack Buck and Shannon, much like the 24,074 in attendence, were becoming restless.

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After reliever Lance McCullers shut down nine straight batters, Buck said: “He looks like a little Goose Gossage.”

And Shannon said: “Everyone’s looked like Goose Gossage or Sandy Koufax against us lately.”

With Smith about to lead off the ninth inning, Shannon said: “Before Ozzie hits an inside-the-park home run, we pause for a message . . . “

And Buck said: “A little ol’ run is all we need.”

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After Herr swung and missed in the 10th, Shannon: “That’s the hardest rip I’ve seen him take. Attaboy, Tom.”

And after Andy Van Slyke grounded out in the 10th, Shannon again: “Shoot, McCullers looks like Christy Mathewson against us!”

And in the 12th, after McReynolds and Martinez couldn’t catch Smith’s blast, after Oquendo’s game-winner, Buck screamed: “All right!”

Padre Notes Shortstop Garry Templeton will rest one of these days. So far, he has started each game this season, but Manager Steve Boros said the other day: “Well, one of the first things I did in spring training was ask him when I should rest him. He said he likes to play every day, but when we go East on the (artificial) turf, he might sit, depending on how his knee reacts. So I might have to rest him (today). We’ll rest him once each trip East.” That happens four times in a season.

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PADRES AT A GLANCE FIRST INNING Padres--Royster singled to right. Gwynn forced Royster. McReynolds grounded to second, Gwynn advancing to second. Garvey homered to left, his fifth. Martinez reached on an infield single. Kennedy struck out. Two runs, three hits, one left.

Cardinals--McGee singled to left. Van Slyke singled to right, McGee advancing to third. Herr grounded to second, McGee scoring, Van Slyke advancing to second. Kennedy threw out Van Slyke stealing third. Clark walked. Hurdle walked. Pendleton flied to left. One run, two hits, two left.

SECOND INNING Padres--With one out, Roberts tripled to center. Show hit a ground-rule double to right, Roberts scoring. Royster struck out. Gwynn grounded out. One run, two hits, one left.

THIRD INNING Cardinals--With one out, Herr walked. Clark homered to left, his fifth. Hurdle struck out. Pendleton flied to right. Two runs, one hit.

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TWELFTH INNING

Cardinals--Gossage took the mound. Smith tripled to left center. Oquendo singled to left, Smith scoring. One run, two hits.


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