Orel Hershiser out-K'd the King of K's, Dwight Gooden, Friday night at Dodger Stadium, which will be something to tell Orel V, VI, VII and so on.
Hershiser outhit Gooden, too, beating out a scratch single. Gooden stranded seven base-runners in three fruitless at-bats.
Again, something nice for the scrapbook and future generations.
But in the end, it took more than Hershiser to beat the Mets, the team with the best record in baseball. In the end, neither Hershiser nor Gooden was around when Bill Russell's perfect 70-foot suicide-squeeze bunt in the 11th inning scored Mike Marshall with the deciding run in the Dodgers' 4-3 win before a sellout crowd of 49,139.
Dave Anderson's broken-bat infield hit started the winning rally against Met reliever Jesse Orosco, who had been unscored upon in his previous 12 appearances. Mike Marshall forced Anderson, but Mike Scioscia followed with a hit-and-run single to right, sending Marshall to third base.
Up to the plate came pinch-hitter Russell, who took a ball, then laid down a bunt that hugged the third-base line and rolled to a halt less than a half-foot from being foul. The game ended with Orosco and third baseman Ray Knight hovering over the ball, futilely wishing it foul.
"In a situation like that, I've been there before in my career," Russell said. "The Mets knew it. It was a tough pitch to bunt. All you want to do in that situation is put the ball in play."
"Because it stayed on the grass, it stayed fair. The guys tell me it stayed fair by inches."
The Dodgers' third straight win, which went to reliever Ken Howell, appeared to be aided by an unusual delay before Greg Brock's two-run single in the sixth, an inning in which the Dodgers scored three unearned runs off Gooden after a muffed pop-up by Met shortstop Howard Johnson.
Brock had not had a hit since a sixth-inning single against the Expos on May 9, popping out five times, striking out once and grounding into a double play in nine at-bats since then.
So, if anyone would seem to have been a mismatch for Gooden, it was Brock. But with a 2-and-2 count on Brock, plate umpire Bob Engel stopped play because of some lights shining behind the black screen in center field.
While Gooden threw warm-up pitches and the other Mets stood idly on the field, Bob Smith, the Dodgers' director of stadium operations, dispatched security guard Dave Robinson to investigate.
According to Smith, the offending glare was caused by fog lights on top of a four-wheeled truck. The driver, Smith said, had gone into the gas station to use the rest room.
When play resumed, Gooden hung a breaking pitch that Brock whacked into right field, scoring Bill Madlock and Marshall, both of whom had singled.
"I hate to see a situation where my guy is geared to pitch and then there's a delay," Met Manager Davey Johnson said.
"It kind of breaks your concentration. There was a light out in center field that I couldn't see. Gary (Carter, the Met catcher) said it was bothering Engel."
Said Brock: "It was a big, bright light. At least they turned it (the vehicle) around, or dimmed it."
For a time, it appeared that the most significant arms on the field did not belong to Gooden and Hershiser but to Dodger infielders Mariano Duncan and Bill Madlock, whose first-inning throwing errors put the Dodgers in a 2-0 hole in the first.
But then the Met defense betrayed Gooden as well, before Darryl Strawberry's RBI single in the seventh tied the score.
Both pitchers finished strong. Gooden, who pitched eight innings before leaving for a pinch-hitter, retired the last seven Dodgers, three on strikes, and finished with seven strikeouts while allowing the same number of hits.
Hershiser, who was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth, struck out a season-high 10 Mets and set down the last seven he faced, three on strikes.
For all of Keith Hernandez's irritation over Hershiser's dallying--"He's a fine pitcher, he just takes nine years to pitch"--the Mets' All-Star first baseman has hit the Dodger right-hander with regularity.
Hernandez, who came into the game batting .385 (5 for 13) against Hershiser, started the Mets' first-inning rally by looping a two-out, opposite-field single just over the head of shortstop Duncan.
Strawberry followed with a sharp ground ball to Duncan's right. The Dodger shortstop made a backhand stop, planted his back foot to throw, then planted that throw in the Dodger dugout.
Hernandez went to third and Strawberry to second, and both runners scored when Madlock fielded Carter's check-swing tapper and bounced his throw past Brock.
The first two Mets to bat in the second reached base on singles, but Hershiser pitched out of it, with Brock throwing out the lead runner at third on Gooden's sacrifice attempt, then starting a double play.
Another Dodger error, the team's 50th in 36 games, forced Hershiser to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
This one was the result of a mix-up on Strawberry's routine grounder to Steve Sax. Brock broke toward the ball from first, Hershiser was late to cover the bag, and Sax's throw went to a vacant first base.
Strawberry stole second, and Hershiser hit Carter in the back with a pitch. Danny Heep was called out on strikes, but Ray Knight walked, loading the bases.
Madlock bobbled Tim Teufel's smash hit right at him but recovered in time to force Strawberry at the plate. Gooden, who fancies himself a hitter, then hit a bouncer to Madlock, who stepped on third for an inning-ending force-out.
After that jam, Hershiser permitted himself a small thrust of his right fist but couldn't dodge the Mets in the seventh.
Leadoff batter Len Dykstra grounded a single up the middle, only the Mets' fifth hit off Hershiser. Johnson struck out, then Brock smothered a shot down the line by Hernandez for the second out, Dykstra taking second.
Strawberry followed with a ground ball just out of Sax's reach, Dykstra scoring, and when the ball died in the outfield grass, Strawberry hustled into second with a double.
Carter bounced to short to end the inning.
Dodger Notes Dr. Frank Jobe, who examined Pedro Guerrero on Friday, remains optimistic that the Dodger outfielder will play this season. "I don't think you can say exactly when," Jobe said, "but I said during the spring that it would be three or four months, and I think that's still correct." The current timetable has Guerrero returning in early August. "He's got some atrophy," Jobe said, referring to the thigh muscles to which the patellar tendon is attached in Guerrero's left leg. "You expect there to be a lot, but there really isn't that much, and his range of motion is good." . . . Pitcher Dennis Powell, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow May 2, has been given the go-ahead to start throwing today but isn't expected to pitch again for at least three weeks. Relief pitcher Carlos Diaz, on the disabled list with what was termed a strained rotator cuff, is scheduled to begin throwing Tuesday. "The area looks pretty good now," Jobe said. "You really can't tell about the cuff unless it's torn, but he said that area hurt, and you've got to take his word for it." Diaz went on the disabled list on the day Bill Madlock came off, and thus probably saved himself a trip to Albuquerque. . . . Today's pitchers: Bob Welch (3-2) for the Dodgers, Sid Fernandez (4-0) for the Mets.