Murray Puts Grand Finish to Dodgers 7-4 Win
Eddie Murray, who always thought the San Francisco Giants never gave his brother, Rich, much of a chance when he was here, got his first chance to exact a measure of familial revenge Monday night, and made it a memorable one.
Murray, who failed to get the ball out of the infield in his first four trips to the plate and was 2 for 25 (.080) as a National Leaguer, crushed a tiebreaking grand slam off San Francisco reliever Mike LaCoss in the ninth inning, lifting the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory and spoiling the Giants’ home opener before a crowd of 53,015 in Candlestick Park.
Murray’s home run, which came on a 1-and-1 pitch and landed deep into the right-field seats, followed a bases-loaded error by Giant first baseman Will Clark that enabled the Dodgers to tie the score, 3-3. It also was the 15th grand slam of his career, more than any other active major leaguer, and raised his lifetime batting average with the bases loaded to .416 (62 for 149).
That, of course, is one way he built his reputation as a clutch hitter, the reason the Dodgers acquired him from the Baltimore Orioles last winter. This was dividend No. 1 on that trade, and also provided win No. 1 of 1989 for pitcher Orel Hershiser, who struck out 10 in eight innings but was in danger of becoming a two-time loser until the Dodgers’ five-run rally in the ninth.
“Yeah, that was basically it,” Murray said in a postgame interview, when asked if he had been trying too hard. “I wanted to do well so bad, you can add a lot of pressure on yourself.”
Murray, however, said that his teammates told him this would be his night.
“It was just a matter of time,” Manager Tom Lasorda said.
The Giants got one run back in the bottom of the ninth when they loaded the bases against one Dodger reliever, Jay Howell, and another reliever, Alejandro Pena, balked a run home. But Clark, with a chance to atone for his error, took a called third strike from Pena, ending the game.
The home run by Murray, whose brother had brief trials with the Giants in 1980 and 1983, was the Dodgers’ third of the game. It came after earlier bases-empty home runs by Mike Marshall, his first of the season, and Kirk Gibson, his second.
The Dodgers trailed, 3-2, entering the ninth, but Mike Scioscia opened the inning with a leadoff single off Giant reliever Atlee Hammaker, who departed for LaCoss. Mickey Hatcher, pinch-hitting for Hershiser, followed with a weak ground ball just out of the reach of third baseman Chris Speier for a hit, sending pinch-runner Mariano Duncan to third.
“When I saw where Speier was playing, I knew it had a chance because I knew he would have to dive for the ball,” Hatcher said.
Willie Randolph then drew a walk, loading the bases. Franklin Stubbs, batting for Alfredo Griffin, followed with a sharp grounder up the middle that second baseman Robby Thompson gloved and turned into a force play at the plate with a tough throw across his body.
Gibson then hit the grounder that Clark botched, allowing pinch-runner Dave Anderson to score. Clark said he took one step toward second but intended to go to the plate until the ball bounced off his glove.
The Giants had jumped on Hershiser for four hits and two runs in the first inning, when only the plate-blocking skills of Scioscia kept the inning from being a bigger horror.
Hershiser threw another scare into the Dodgers in the second inning, when the man with the $7.9-million arm felt some pain on a 1-1 pitch to Don Robinson, the Giants’ pitcher. Griffin’s visit to the mound prompted trainer Bill Buhler and Lasorda to rush to Hershiser, but after he threw two test pitches, he decided to continue.
“I felt a little twinge in my arm,” Hershiser said. “It was tough to warm up in the cold and with the (opening) ceremony.
“Alfredo heard me yell, ‘What was that?’ It was a little demonstration on my part, but after testing it I said, ‘I’ll be all right.’ ”
He couldn’t have been hurting too badly, because he struck out the side in the second and did it again in the eighth.
“Both games I’ve pitched this season, I’ve thrown the ball well at times, but very inconsistent,” said Hershiser, who allowed six hits and walked five.
“I’d go from battling them in one inning to striking out the side.”
In the sixth, the Giants broke a 2-2 tie on a sacrifice fly by pinch- hitter Ernest Riles. Clark lined a single to open the inning and Kevin Mitchell, who had doubled home a run in the first, walked on a full count. Candy Maldonado bunted the runners over, and Riles--sent to the plate for Matt Williams, who had hit a grand slam the day before but had struck out twice against Hershiser--stroked a liner to left that drove Gibson back to the track.
In the seventh, Hershiser walked the leadoff batter, Speier, but spared himself further trouble by knocking down Thompson’s wicked liner up the middle and turning it into a force play.
Even though Hershiser beat the Giants four times last season, this wasn’t the first time he has been roughed up here. He lasted just two innings and gave up eight runs in a 15-4 loss here last Aug. 14.
“Hey, Hershiser, your 59 innings stunk,” yelled one fan, leaning over the tunnel leading to the visitors’ clubhouse before the game, in a reference to Hershiser’s record scoreless inning streak last season.
Hershiser laughed about it then, and tipped his cap to the fans who greeted him with a crescendo of boos during pregame introductions. Lasorda, of course, received a similar reception and naturally relished the moment, bowing deeply and blowing kisses.
“I told the players in our meeting before the game that whatever they do, don’t react to anything the crowd does,” Lasorda said.
Marshall was welcomed rudely by Robinson’s first pitch in the second inning, an inside fastball that put him on his back. But the Dodger right fielde-r, a Candlestick villain since pointing into the Giants’ dugout after a home run two years ago, responded with a vengeance, powering his first home run of the season over the left-field fence.
Gibson tied the score with two out in the fifth, driving Robinson’s first pitch over the fence in right.
The Giants, losers of 12 of 18 games to the Dodgers last season, got to Hershiser quickly in the first. Thompson singled to right, Clark singled to center, and Mitchell’s fly ball to right fell behind Marshall for a double, scoring Thompson. After Maldonado fouled out, Terry Kennedy lashed a single to right, scoring Clark, but Scioscia stopped Mitchell’s progress cold with a body block helped in great measure by Marshall’s perfect one-hop throw.
Until Mike Marshall’s second-inning home run, the fourth, fifth and sixth hitters in the Dodger order--Eddie Murray, Marshall and John Shelby--had no home runs and no RBIs in a total of 48 at-bats. Kirk Gibson, with five RBIs, started the night with more RBIs than the rest of the starting lineup combined. . . . Tim Belcher, who pitched the season opener in Cincinnati and lost, will pitch the home opener for the Dodgers Thursday afternoon against the Houston Astros. . . . When Giant catcher Terry Kennedy stole second base while Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia was arguing whether the pitch was a foul tip, it was his first stolen base since June 24, 1987, and the fifth of his career in 1,194 games. . . . Among the measures the Giants have taken to make Candlestick Park less susceptible to the type of rowdiness it has become notorious for: more security guards, trained at the San Francisco Police Academy; a family seating section; stricter guidelines for the purchase of alcohol; computerized system to identify repeat offenders; 700 employees trained in an alcohol management supervised by big-league baseball. There are numerous signs throughout the ballpark bearing such messages as: “We want you safe because we want you back.”