Padres Are Even After 11 : Baseball: Harris strikes out Dodgers’ Samuel with two on and two out in bottom of 11th to maintain a 1-1 tie.
Padre catcher Mark Parent casually was putting on his uniform before Friday’s game against the Dodgers when a horrified look crossed his face. He immediately scrounged for a paper, tore it open to the sports section, and turned to the agate page with the baseball box scores and standings.
“I didn’t know who was pitching for the Dodgers,” Parent said. “I guess it’s time I better know that stuff.”
Yes, times have changed for Parent. There was a time it didn’t even matter to him who was pitching, because he’d just be sitting on the bench watching, anyway.
But now he’s the man. He’s the Padres’ starting catcher for the next six weeks or however long it takes Benito Santiago’s broken left arm to heal.
It’s unfair to say the Padres’ title hopes rest on Parents’ shoulders, but when you replace an All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, you’re the man everyone will be pointing fingers at if the Padres falter.
Good luck, big guy.
“You know, it didn’t even dawn on me until I was talking to my neighbor last night,” Parent said, “but I’m going to be open to a lot more criticism. I know there will be times when fans are going to say, ‘I wish Benny was there.’ Even when I backed up Benny before, and I screwed up, I could hear fans yelling at me. So I’m sure it’ll be a lot worse now.
“Hey, I know I’m not Benito. I’m just Mark Parent. But I’m not going to worry about failing. I’m just going to do what I do best. I’m going to catch the very best game I can, and if the hits come, they come. But that’s not my top priority.
“You know, I always thought I could play every day in the big leagues. Now I guess we’ll find out.”
Little did Parent realize, however, that his first day on the job would be lasting long into the night. The Padres and Dodgers were tied, 1-1, through 11 innings Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
Padre reliever Greg Harris struck out Juan Samuel with two on and two out in the bottom of the 11th to maintain the tie.
It certainly was no fault of Parent’s that the game went on forever. Besides catching a beauty of a game, went two for five with a double through the first 11 innings.
Now, all he has to do is keep it up for six weeks until Santiago returns to the lineup.
“Even if I do great, I know I’m going back to the bench after Benny returns,” Parent said, “but I can accept that. I mean, that’s the way it should be.
“I’m just sorry I had to get the starting job this way. I tried to call Benny this morning, but he was really out of it. I ended up talking to his niece, but my Spanish wasn’t real good, so I don’t know if he got the message.
“But I can tell you this, no one’s rooting any harder for Benny to get back than I am. Hey, we need the guy.”
Certainly, the Padres could use his offense. After being humbled three consecutive games by the San Francisco Giants in which the Padres batted just .168 with three extra-base hits, the Padres managed just seven hits through the first 11 innings.
No wonder Padre chairman Tom Werner said he groaned aloud Thursday when he heared the news of Santiago’s injury, and sat there in his box seat Friday witnessing the Padres’ feeble offensive attack.
The Padres wasted outstanding pitching performances by their two pitchers whom the Dodgers hate the most, starter Andy Benes and reliever Craig Lefferts. Benes, who owns a career 3-0 record and 0.51 ERA against the Dodgers, allowed just five hits and one unearned run in seven innings. Lefferts, who is 9-0 with five saves against the Dodgers, pitched two hitless innings.
Still, there were the two teams, still batting into the night.
The most exciting offensive assault occurred in the sixth inning when Padre left fielder Bip Roberts was ejected in sixth inning by home-plate umpire Gary Darling for his impersonation of former Padre Chub Feeney.
Roberts, upset at a called third-strike, vehemently complained that it was a foot outside, or in his words, a bleeping foot outside. Roberts argued profusely with Darling before third-base coach Sandy Alomar intervened, and escorted Roberts away.
Roberts started walking back to the dugout, and angrily tossed his bat aside. Darling saw the incident, pointed to Roberts, and fined him $100.
Roberts then pointed at Darling, but used a different finger, perhaps gesturing that, uh, the Padres were No. 1?
Sorry, wrong finger.
Roberts was ejected for the first time in his big-league career.
Of course, some of Roberts’ frustration can be attributed to his hitting performance of the past week. Roberts is batting just .125 (four for 32) in his past eight games, and has been hit by two pitches.
If Roberts’ incident was the most embarrassing of the night for the Padres, shortstop Garry Templeton finished a close runner-up.
The Padres were primed for a big inning in the third when Parent and Templeton each singled, and Andy Benes sacrificed, moving them to second and third with one out.
All they needed now was just a single into the outfield by Roberts or Roberto Alomar, and they’d have two easy runs. Oops. Templeton was caught wandering too far off second, and Mike Scioscia picked him off. Valenzuela then retired Roberts on a line-drive to right field, and the inning was over.
In the fifth, Templeton was on second after his run-scoring single drove in Parent. Benes then hit a hopper behind the third-base bag, making it a difficult play for third baseman Lenny Harris. No matter. Templeton made it easier for him by running to third, and being tagged out.
The only run Benes allowed Friday was in the fourth inning, which was set up by second baseman Roberto Alomar’s error.
After Kirk Gibson fouled out, Kal Daniels hit a ground ball to Alomar. He tried to backhand the ball, but it bounced off his arm, allowing Daniels to reach first.
Benes then appeared rattled. He walked Eddie Murray on five pitches, and then fell behind on a 1-0 count to Stan Javier when Parent and Pat Dobson, Padre pitching coach, came to the mound..
Benes made sure his next pitch was a strike, but the only problem was, Javier knew it too, and hit a fastball into center field, scoring Daniels. Benes would allow just one more hit during the remainder of his outing, but that run that ultimately sent the game into extra innings.
Each team threatened in the eighth inning, but the Padres were left empty-handed when Joe Carter flied to left with runners on first and second, and Carter returned the favor by catching Kal Daniels’ ball up against the center-field wall with runners on first and second.
And as the game progressed, it was catcher Ronn Reynolds who was forced to watch from the bench. Reynolds arrived from Las Vegas on Friday morning, taking Santiago’s place on the roster. This is the fourth major-league team Reynolds has played for in his 10-year professional career. But although he has nearly three years of major-league service time, Reynolds has not played in a big-league game since September, 1987, while with the Houston Astros.
“It’s been a long, long time,” Reynolds said, “but hopefully I’ll be able to do the job like Mark did in this role.”
Padre Manager Jack McKeon said reliever Greg Harris was fined $200 by National League President Bill White for hitting New York Mets shortstop Kevin Elster on May 27. The pitch triggered a bench-clearing brawl. The threat of fines, McKeon said, is one reason why his pitching staff has hit just five batters this season, compared to 13 by the Padres’ opposition. The San Francisco Giants hit two Padre batters Thursday; an inside pitch thrown by Jeff Brantley in the seventh inning broke the ulna bone in catcher Benito Sanitago’s left forarm. “We’ve got to start pitching inside,” McKeon said. “If you hit him, so what, pitch in there. I think that’s why we’re giving up so many damn homers (72). You got to come in from time to time and just let it fly.” . . . Padre reliever Mark Grant, who didn’t retaliate by throwing at any of the Giant batters in the eighth or ninth innings Thursday, talked with several of his teammates Friday, including first baseman Jack Clark, and said that he might take a different approach if the same situation occurs again. Said McKeon: “There’s no way they tried to hit Benny on purpose, but that’s not to say we can’t pitch inside when we face them again. What if, hypothetically, we pitch (Will) Clark and (Kevin) Mitchell inside the next time we face them. That doesn’t mean we’re trying to hit them. Hey, if we don’t pitch inside, they kill us, so there’s nothing wrong with that, is there?”
Tom Werner, Padre chairman, and Russell Goldsmith, vice chairman, met with the team for about five minutes before Friday’s game, introducing themselves while informing team members the lines of communication will always be open. Werner will be in his office at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium beginning Monday and said that he expects to see most, if not all, of the remaining Padre home games. “I told them that I’m a rookie at this, obviously, but what’s important to me is establishing a sense of mutual respect and mutual trust.” And just what was the most pressing question asked by the Padre players? “They wanted to know when Bill Cosby will be in the clubhouse,” said Werner, who produces The Cosby Show. . . . Werner also said that he has discussed the dual roles of McKeon, who serves as manager and vice president/baseball operations, and will discuss the situation at length toward the end of the season. McKeon, sources say, would prefer to be general manager if he has to choose, but he has yet to decide whether he wants to give up one of his roles. “We’ll talk about that stuff later,” McKeon said. . . . McKeon will continue to have full authority on all baseball personnel decisions, Werner said, but trades and other vital matters will be discussed with him before being implemented. He said that he will be in daily contact with McKeon. “From my point of view, I’d like to quickly shift the focus from the owners to the field,” Werner said. “As you probably know, I’d rather be behind the cameras than in front of them.” . . . Werner stressed that he wants to maintain stability in the organization and took an indirect slap at New York Yankee owner George Steinbrenner by saying, “I think the idea of having 19 managers in 17 years does not create an atmosphere that makes it fun to play baseball.”
And, oh, yeah, there’s the matter of beer in the clubhouse, which was banned in 1986 by former Padre owner Joan Kroc. “I’m looking into that situation now,” Werner said. “Don’t forget, one of my partners, Leon Parma, is a Budweiser distributor, so he’s been asking me, too.” . . . Werner is the sixth major league owner McKeon has worked for in his career, a list that also includes the likes of Charlie Finley and Ted Turner. “I don’t think I’ll work for another owner like Charlie,” said McKeon, laughing. “He was in a class by himself.”
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