National League Roundup : Berenguer Picks Up Another Save for Giants
Most of his career, Juan Berenguer has been a hard-throwing right-hander who has run out of gas after five or six innings. It remained for another pitcher, Roger Craig, to decide that Berenguer belonged in the bullpen.
Craig, manager of the San Francisco Giants, acquired Berenguer from Detroit last December in what is now known as the Eric King trade because King is pitching so well for the Tigers. After Berenguer was unimpressive in three early-season starts, Craig sent him to the bullpen.
Berenguer languished for weeks, getting out of the pen mainly for mop-up jobs and always in games in which the Giants trailed. He kept asking Craig for another chance.
Last Wednesday night at San Diego, with the Giants leading by only 4-3, Craig sent for Berenguer. It was the seventh inning, the bases were full with one out and Kevin McReynolds was up. Berenguer, who had only one save in four seasons with the Tigers, struck out McReynolds and Steve Garvey. Suddenly, Craig had a new bullpen ace.
Berenguer went on to save that game and another one against the Houston Astros on Friday night. His third save in four games came Saturday at San Francisco when he pitched 1 hitless innings in a 2-1 victory over Houston that put the Giants just a half-game out of first place in the West.
The Astros, who saw their lead shrink when Berenguer blew them down for the second game in a row, protested this one. They claimed that the Giants were allowed too many visits to the mound in the eighth inning.
Scott Garrelts (6-6) went seven innings, and Chuck Hensley retired the first Astro in the eighth before Berenguer was summoned. After just one pitch, Giant pitching coach Norm Sherry came to the mound. The Astros claimed that the Giants could not visit the pitcher after one pitch unless they planed to take him out.
In his three saves Berenguer, 5 feet 11 inches and 215 pounds, has pitched 6 innings, given up two hits, struck out eight and walked two.
“I knew I could help this club,” Berenguer said, “but I wasn’t getting the chance. I know my future is in the bullpen. I feel comfortable now, and I’m a good fastball pitcher.”
When Berenguer asked to be given a chance to pitch or be traded, Craig told him to wait his turn.
“To be honest,” Craig said, “I didn’t think he was ready three weeks ago, or even six days ago. We had him in a mop-up role and he didn’t like it. I admire him. He likes to pitch in pressure situations.
“I know him as well as anyone. I had him at Detroit, remember. He can throw as hard as anybody in the league. I guess I just had to get him mad enough to show me something.”
While Berenguer made the save, Chili Davis made Mark Knudson’s first start of the season a losing one. Davis doubled in the first Giant run and singled in the other. Davis, who leads the league with 50 RBIs, has driven in 35 runs in the last 35 games.
Chicago 8, New York 6--Keith Moreland denies he “owns” Met bullpen ace, Jesse Orosco, but he hit Orosco’s third pitch in the ninth inning for a home run to break a 6-6 tie at New York.
Moreland, who was 3 for 4 and drove in two runs, is 7 for 15 lifetime against Orosco.
“All I do is go up there and try to hit the ball hard,” Moreland said. “He gave me three fastballs and the third was up. I got hold of it.”
The Cubs gave Dennis Eckersley a 6-2 lead in four innings, but he couldn’t hold it. Kevin Mitchell singled to drive in a run in the three-run fourth for the Mets, then doubled and scored the tying run in the sixth.
St. Louis 8, Philadelphia 6--The Phillies insist there is nothing physically wrong with Steve Carlton. In this game at Philadelphia, the veteran left-hander was pounded for the fifth time in a row, giving up six runs in five innings. In his last 20 innings he has allowed 37 hits and 25 runs.
Mike Heath, batting .179 and without an RBI this month, drove in four runs, two of them in the top of the ninth, when the Cardinals broke a 6-6 tie.
Todd Worrell (4-7) pitched 1 scoreless innings to gain the win. Four of his five outs were on strikeouts.
Atlanta 7, Cincinnati 6--Ozzie Virgil hit a bases-loaded single in the eighth inning at Cincinnati to break a 3-3 tie, and the Braves barely held on to end a four-game losing streak.
Rick Mahler needed help in the eighth but improved his record to 8-5. He is 8-1 in his career against the Reds.
Pittsburgh 14, Montreal 1--Sid Bream had three hits, including a two-run home run to lead a 17-hit Pirate attack at Pittsburgh. Rick Rhoden pitched a three-hitter to improve his record to 7-4.
Dennis Martinez made an unimpressive National League debut for the Expos. The former Baltimore Oriole pitched 3 innings in relief and gave up eight runs and nine hits.