Sandberg Homer Pins Padres With 7-3 Loss

Times Staff Writer

Poster boy Ryne Sandberg hit a three-run, game-winning homer off the Padres’ saddest boy, Ed Whitson, Saturday, to lift the Chicago Cubs to a 7-3 victory over the Padres.

Saturday was “Ryne Sandberg Poster Day” at foggy Wrigley Field, and Sandberg was pretty photogenic after his seventh-inning blast, which broke a 3-3 tie. He circled the bases while the 25,428 fans waved their rolled-up Sandberg posters in unison, and he had to tip his cap, just so they ould sit down.

Speaking of down, Whitson--who has given up 14 homers in six starts--wouldn’t lift his head afterward. He eventually got up to take an early shower, but no water would come out of the faucets. He started screaming at the top of his lungs, “Where’s the water? Where’s the water?”

And where’s Manager Larry Bowa’s bullpen? Whitson (3-3) wasn’t exactly sharp Saturday--he gave up back-to-back homers to Andre Dawson and Leon Durham in the fourth inning--and he made it to the seventh inning because Bowa had no confidence in his relievers.


Entering the seventh, the Padres were leading, 3-2, thanks to third baseman Kevin Mitchell’s two-out, two-run single the previous inning. Whitson began the seventh by getting two quick outs, but then . . .

Cub center fielder Dave Martinez lined a ball straight at first baseman Steve Garvey, who was guarding the line. The ball hopped up toward Garvey’s midsection, and he failed to get in front of it. The ball bounded into right field, and Martinez had a double.

Bowa said: “I’m usually pretty critical, but that ball took a bad hop.”

Garvey said: “On the last hop, it just took off. Very rarely do I not get a glove on the ball at least. But it exploded on me. It vanished.”


Pinch-hitter Jerry Mumphrey tied the game with a single to center. Chico Walker had a single, and Sandberg followed with his home run to deep left.

“I’m still not swinging the way I should be,” said Sandberg, who hit an inside slider.

Bowa says Whitson never would have lasted the inning under normal circumstances. Bowa said that after Walker’s single, he certainly would have brought in a right-handed reliever to face Sandberg--if he had one.

“What am I supposed to do?” Bowa said. “Invent a pitcher?”


Lance McCullers normally would be the man for the job, but McCullers had blown Friday’s game here and also Wednesday’s game in St. Louis.

“If McCullers is hot, he (Whitson) doesn’t even pitch that inning,” Bowa said.

Bowa was also concerned about McCullers’ state of mind. Before Saturday’s game, McCullers went into Bowa’s office to say he had a lot of personal things on his mind of late, and he was sorry. Bowa told him he still might use him, but he didn’t want to do so in that situation--in the middle of a Cub rally in the seventh.

Bowa could have used left-handers Craig Lefferts or Dave Dravecky, but he wanted a right-hander to face the right-handed hitting Sandberg. And the right-handed hitting Dawson was on deck.


So his options were sticking with Whitson or using one of three young right-handers--Jimmy Jones, Ed Wojna or Greg Booker.

“I don’t think that would have been fair to those three guys,” Bowa said. “They’re not used to that situation.”

So he lived and eventually died with Whitson. Lefferts finally replaced Whitson in the eighth, and Jody Davis promptly hit a home run deep to left, making it 7-3.

Padre pitchers have served up 37 home run balls (eight in two days), leading the majors. Cub power-hitters Dawson and Durham have 15 homers between them, compared with the Padres, who as a team have hit 12 homers total.


Padre Notes When center fielder Stan Jefferson returns to the lineup next week, he won’t bat leadoff. Instead, it will be second baseman Joey Cora, who took Jefferson’s place in the batting order when Jefferson hurt his ankle three weeks ago. Cora, who went 2 for 4 Saturday, is batting .266 and has impressed Manager Larry Bowa. Jefferson will bat in the No. 2 spot. . . . Bowa said Saturday that pitcher Jimmy Jones will join the starting rotation sometime next week. . . . John Kruk will start in place of Steve Garvey at first base today, and he is all smiles. “I played first all during winter ball,” Kruk said. “I tell you, I loved it. It keeps you in the game. You’re more intense.