Houston Outlasts the Padres

Times Staff Writer

There were 19 runs scored, 29 hits, 5 errors, 17 runners left on base, 17 strikeouts, 6 walks, 4 stolen bases and 34 players--10 of whom were pitchers--in the Houston Astros' 12-7 victory over the Padres Wednesday night.

And the game at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium took only three hours and 26 minutes.

A crowd of 17,483 was treated to a game in which the Padres blew a 5-0 lead. The Astros scored six times in the fifth to take a 6-5 lead. San Diego tied the game in the sixth, but the Astros scored three runs in the seventh to take the lead for good.

San Diego added a run in the seventh, but the Astros countered with three in the ninth.

The key inning was the seventh. Padre reliever Lance McCullers entered the inning with a 6-6 tie. The Astros loaded the bases with nobody out before McCullers struck out cleanup hitter Glenn Davis and got Kevin Bass to foul out to third.

But Jose Cruz then hit a liner to right field. Tony Gwynn got his glove on the ball while attempting to make a spectacular leaping catch near the warning track, but the ball bounced off his glove, and Cruz had a bases-clearing double. And the Astros had a 9-6 lead.

"I love it," said Cruz about batting in the bases-loaded situation. "I'm one of the best hitters with men on base. I just get more aggressive."

The Padres added one run in the seventh, but they did most of their scoring early.

They scored three runs in the first, when they batted around, and two in the second.

Stan Jefferson led off the first with a walk and moved to third on a hit-and-run single to right by Tim Flannery. Gwynn singled to left, scoring Jefferson.

The Padres added two more runs on a play that would have Little Leaguers shaking their heads. With the bases loaded and one out, Randy Ready smashed a liner up the middle. Astro starter Danny Darwin got his glove on the ball and tossed the ball softly to Davis at first. But the ball went off Davis' glove and two runs scored.

The Astros lead the National League in fewest errors committed with 45. On Tuesday, center fielder Billy Hatcher was charged with an error and left fielder Cruz lost a ball in the lights that resulted in a triple for Gwynn. Then came Davis' misplay Wednesday.

Flannery's RBI single to right-center and Carmelo Martinez's sacrifice fly to left gave the Padres two more runs in the second.

Starter Jimmy Jones had allowed only two hits and led, 5-0, going into the fifth. That's when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate and struck for six runs on six hits and one very costly error by Flannery.

With one out and runners on first and third, Davey Lopes--pinch-hitting for Darwin--hit a hard grounder to Flannery. The potential double-play ball went under Flannery's glove and one run scored. The floodgates were open, and the Astros took advantage of their break.

Hatcher singled to load the bases. Bill Doran singled to make it 5-2. Craig Lefferts replaced Jones and promptly struck out Denny Walling with the bases loaded. But Davis doubled to left to score two runs and Bass singled to right for two more.

Suddenly, the Astros led, 6-5.

The starters were out of the game. Jones, who pitched a one-hit shutout (6-0) against the Astros in his major league debut Sept. 21, allowed six hits and five runs (one earned) in 4 innings Wednesday. Darwin, who pitched 7 innings in a 1-0 shutout win over the Padres June 9, gave up seven hits and five runs (four earned) in four innings.

In the sixth inning, the Padres got four hits, but were only able to score one run to tie the game at 6-6.

With one out, Flannery singled to knock out reliever Ron Mathis. Gwynn followed with a single to knock out reliever Dave Meads. Larry Andersen came in to get Martinez to bounce into a force play. With runners on first and third and two out, Kruk singled to left to tie the game. Ready beat out a check-swing infield roller to load the bases. But Benito Santiago struck out on three pitches.

After the Astros scored three runs in the seventh, the Padres got one run back on a double by Shane Mack and RBI single by Flannery in the seventh. But that was the last Padre rally on a wild night at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

Padre Notes Tony Gwynn had two singles and a double and Tim Flannery had four singles for the Padres. Glenn Davis had three singles and a double and Billy Hatcher, Bill Doran, Craig Reynolds and Jose Cruz had two hits apiece for the Astros. . . . Storm Davis was scheduled to start Wednesday night, but he woke up Wednesday with a stiff back and was still hunched over at game time. "I didn't do anything unusual. This is another thing to battle through," said Davis, who is 2-7 this season, but was coming off a strong seven-inning performance in a 3-1 victory over the Giants last Thursday. "I just write it to off to '87," he said. His status will be evaluated day-to-day. . . . Outfielder Marvell Wynne, who suffered muscle spasms in his lower back at Houston June 9, comes off the 15-day disabled list today. To open a spot on the roster for Wynne, the Padres plan to send one of their 11 pitchers down to Las Vegas, or if Davis' injury proves to be more serious than anticipated, they would place Davis on the disabled list. . . . On Tuesday, pitcher Eric Show said he planned to talk to Tony Gwynn about negative remarks Gwynn made about Show. Before Wednesday's game, Show said he hadn't talked to Gwynn yet, "but we intend to talk." Said Gwynn: "I'm not commenting. I don't want to talk about it anymore."

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