Only this time, the Dodgers had breakdowns in quality control and deviated from their winning pattern as they ended this generally successful 16-day, 14-game trip.
Wasting another strong effort by starter Tim Leary, the Dodgers headed home 2-1 losers to the Giants after a 10th-inning collapse in which catcher Rick Dempsey could not catch a crucial pitch, reliever Jesse Orosco did not provide enough relief and right fielder Mike Marshall dropped what would have been a game-winning fly ball by Rob Thompson, anyway.
The biggest breakdown, however, went unseen by most of the 34,168 fans at Candlestick Park. Before Orosco's first pitch to Thompson, Dodger decision-makers signaled for a pitchout from the bench. But Dempsey did not call for a pitchout, and Thompson launched a fly ball that a drawn-in Marshall reached after backpedaling--and then dropped.
"I guess I missed the sign from the dugout," Dempsey said. "I guess I was supposed to pitch out on that last pitch of the game. I missed it, and the guy hits a sacrifice fly that loses the game for us."
Not to be greedy, but the Dodgers wanted the finale of this hit road show to end as impressively as they had played over the balance of the last two weeks. Instead, they could not muster enough offense to support Leary (10-7) and must settle for an 11-5 record on the trip. "It wasn't a great offensive road trip for us, but we still won 11 games," second baseman Steve Sax said. "If you'd tell us before the trip that we'd win 11 games, I'd take it."
Leary, pitching on only three days' rest for the second time on the trip, had another excellent outing. He struck out 10 Giants before tiring in the 10th.
Even though the Giants broke the 1-1 tie at Leary's expense, it was not entirely his fault. Leary gave up a leadoff single to Jose Uribe, who stole second base on the first pitch to pitcher Joe Price. That prompted the Giants to send up Ernest Riles to pinch-hit and the Dodgers to replace Leary with Orosco, a left-handed reliever.
Orosco walked Riles. Then, Dempsey's passed ball, as Brett Butler squared to bunt, advanced Uribe to third and Riles to second. Butler was called out on a third strike that appeared to be out of the strike zone. Even given that break, Orosco and the Dodgers could not escape. Thompson's sacrifice fly, which Marshall dropped, scored Uribe for an unearned run and a Giant win.
Dempsey's passed ball, which had moved both runners into scoring position, was perhaps a more serious gaffe than his missed-pitchout faux pas.
"When Butler squared, he put the bat eye-level to me," Dempsey said. "Then, he moved it. Just for the blink of a second, I couldn't pick up the ball."
Had it not been for a pair of fielding errors by the Giant infield, the Dodgers probably would not have scored against Giant starter Atlee Hammaker, who is in the starting rotation only because of injuries to three San Francisco pitchers.
Hammaker limited the Dodgers to four hits through eight innings, by far his best outing of the season. But the best he could get for his efforts was a no-decision, as the Dodgers' pushed across an unearned run in the seventh.
That was better than what Leary got out of his outing. He gave up a bases-empty home run to Kevin Mitchell in the second inning--only the fifth home run Leary has allowed in 144 innings--but then limited the Giants to only three more hits.
"I still felt I had something in the 10th," Leary said. "I don't know if I was throwing as hard, but I had something left.
"Keeping them to one run in nine innings, that wins most games right there. I don't think about not getting runs. I've had a few games where I've had runs, too."
Leary worked out of a tough jam in the ninth with the help of poor Giant baserunning. With none out, Will Clark on second base and pinch-runner Donell Nixon on first, Mike Aldrete hit a liner to center field. John Shelby charged and caught the ball, while Clark assumed it would fall for a single. Shelby easily doubled up Clark, who rounded third base unaware of Shelby's catch.
The rally was jump-started when Nixon stole second and Leary walked Mitchell. But Bob Melvin grounded to shortstop to send the game into extra innings, when the Dodger collapse ensued.
Third baseman Jeff Hamilton suffered a rib injury in the ninth inning in Tuesday night's second game and returned to Los Angeles Wednesday for tests. After being examined by Dr. Ralph Gambardella, it was determined that a cartilage had pulled away from the 12th rib. Hamilton will be examined again today and Friday before it is determined whether he will be put on the disabled list. Fred Claire, the Dodgers' executive vice president, said he is not sure when Pedro Guerrero will be ready to be activated. Guerrero was scheduled to play his fifth rehabilitation game in Albuquerque on Wednesday. "I don't know that Pete's ready," Claire said. "Ralph took a look at it and said it could be a matter of a couple weeks for Hamilton. With Pete, I'm not going to ask a player to play if he's not ready. Not Pedro Guerrero or a rookie." Trainer Bill Buhler said, "My guess is that we'll see Pete (in Los Angeles) on Friday."
Claire said he called National League President Bart Giamatti and met with Giant President Al Rosen to express his concerns about the fan violence that was evident during Tuesday night's doubleheader. A Giant source said 75 fans were ejected by San Francisco Police, between two dozen and three dozen were ejected by Candlestick Park security personnel and that there were 18 arrests for fighting and throwing objects at Dodger players and umpires. About 50 young fans in left-field seats took their standard practice of chasing long fly balls in a concrete area between the seats and the fence to ridiculous extremes Tuesday night, climbing the chain-link fence and refusing to return to their seats. For Wednesday's game, stadium personnel lined the left-field area with protective steel barriers to keep fans away from the fence. "I talked to Al Rosen, and he's concerned," Claire said. "I talked to Bart Giamatti because it's frightening. That's the only word for it. The Giants and Al assured us they'd take all the steps they can. There's a problem that's here. I called upon the National League to put a stop to it. Al Rosen is very concerned. You can't put players in a position of danger. I think it's worse now than it was before." . . . Rosen called the events of Tuesday night "frightening" and added: "This was the worst I've seen since I've been born. And I've been in World War II."
Mariano Duncan, who broke a bone at the base of his left hand swinging a bat Monday night, will undergo surgery and will be out for four to six weeks. . . . Alfredo Griffin said the two throwing errors he made in Tuesday night's game were not attributable to stiffness in his right wrist. Griffin has recently been activated after breaking a bone in his right hand on May 21. "(The wrist) felt good," Griffin said. "Last night, the grass was wet and it was tough to throw the ball. Late in the game, it was cold. But playing in a real game is different than taking ground balls. It may take a while for me to get back." Manager Tom Lasorda on Griffin: "We're going to break him in a little at a time. We don't want to rush him."