Padres Bid Kroc Farewell, Run Streak to Five


Sixteen years and three months after a Kroc first addressed the fans in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, another one did, for perhaps the final time.

Fortunately for the Padres, the result Friday night in front of 20,244 paying fans on Joan Kroc night was quite a bit different than the one in 1974, when her husband, Ray, publicly apologized to the crowd for his new team’s “stupid play.”

Friday, the Padres defeated the Houston Astros, 6-2, for their fifth consecutive victory, equaling their longest winning streak of the season.


Following a 1-10 road trip, the Padres have rebounded nicely and are now 5-1 on this home stand, 11 games under .500 and 16 behind the Cincinnati.

Still, while the setting of the evening was special--what with Kroc reminiscing about the magical 1984 season--the Padres are a long way from catching the front-running Cincinnati Reds.

If the Reds were to win only half their remaining games, the Padres would still have to go 49-16 over the rest of the season just to tie.

The Padres realize this, and are taking things one step at a time.

It seems to be working.

Andy Benes, making his first start in 10 days because of a tender left shoulder injured in a benches-clearing brawl in Pittsburgh, was impressive. Benes (7-7) scattered eight hits over6 2/3 innings and had four strikeouts with zero walks.

“I think Andy had a great outing for having missed two starts,” Manager Greg Riddoch said.

Offensively, the Padres have now outscored their opponents, 36-9, in the five game win streak.

As has been customary for the Padres this week, they got on the board first, scoring one run in the third on a double play, two in the fourth on Joe Carter’s 15th home run of the season and three in the sixth on Jack Clark’s 16th homer.


In the third, Fred Lynn lined a single to right for the first hit off Astro starter Bill Gullickson (6-8). Catcher Tom Lampkin followed that with a similar single to right, and Lynn advanced to third.

It appeared briefly that the Padres were going to explode with one of those multi-run innings they’ve been getting the past three days, but Benes grounded into a double play that enabled Lynn to score but negated any hope for the big inning.

Again in the fourth inning, the Padres appeared to have a nice rally going, but it, too, was momentarily spoiled by a double play. Garry Templeton walked to open the inning, and Gwynn reached on a fielding error by first baseman Ken Oberkfell.

Clark then hit a sharp grounder to second that Bill Doran turned into a double play.

With Templeton on third, Carter ripped the first pitch from Gullickson seven rows into the left field stands. The home run was his first in 14 games. The two runs batted in gives him seven in his last six games and 70 for the year, third in the league.

Alomar led off the sixth with a single to right, extending his hitting streak to nine games, and advanced to second on Templeton’s groundout to short. With an open base, the Astros chose to intentionally walk the hot-hitting Gwynn.

How hot was Gwynn? Heading into Friday’s game, he had hit safely in seven of his last nine at bats, despite being troubled with a migraine headache and blurred vision that forced him out of Thursday’s game in the seventh inning.


So with Alomar and Gwynn aboard, Clark ripped a 1-0 fastball over the eight-foot inner fence in left center field, just above the outstretched glove of center fielder Eric Yelding.

For Clark, it was his sixth homer and 13th RBI in his past 17 games. During that time, he has increased his average to .257 from .215.

“It’s contagious,” Riddoch said. “Once the old ripper gets the old lumber flying, everybody else starts getting in on the act.”

Meanwhile, the Padres and Benes were being aided by a number of outstanding defensive plays.

Roberto Alomar made an over-the-shoulder snare of a flare headed for right field in the second inning, then one-upped that to begin a double play with the Astros threatening in the sixth.

With Oberkfell and Franklin Stubbs aboard with singles and one out, Ken Caminiti hit a one-hopper in the right-side hole. Alomar shuffled to his left, made a nice grab, turned and flipped to Templeton at second, who fired to first to end the inning.


“How about Robbie’s play?” Riddoch asked. “That’s about as great a play a second baseman can make.”

The Padres, who entered the game with the second worst fielding percentage (.974) in the National League, did not make an error for the second consecutive game.

While Benes zipped through the first eight hitters he faced, it was Gullickson that got to him first with a single that tipped off a diving Templeton’s glove.

Benes carried a shutout into the seventh inning, when Glenn Wilson hit his eighth homer of the year into the left field stands. One out later, Casey Candaele tripled, and Benes was replaced by right hander Greg Harris.

Yelding, the Astros’ speedy leadoff hitter, greeted Harris with a line drive to center that skipped by a diving Carter all the way to the wall in center. Candaele scored easily, but Yelding was out trying to stretch it into an inside-the-park homer. Gwynnrelayed to Alomar, who fired a perfect throw to catcher Tom Lampkin for the out.

Padre Notes

Former Padres in attendance for the salute to Joan Kroc included Tim Flannery, Rollie Fingers, Kurt Bevacqua, John D’Acquisto, Nate Colbert, Gene Locklear, Dave Campbell, Gene Richards and John Curtis. .. . During his brief invocation that began the festivities, Father Joe Carroll asked fans to pray for the Padres, that they continue to play the way they have the last four days. . . . The San Diego Hospice will receive a 1991 Toyota Previa in the name of Joan Kroc from the San Diego County Toyota dealers.


Tony Gwynn, who left Thursday night’s game in the seventh inning with a migraine headache and blurred vision, said he has been getting headaches on and off since college. But he said Thursday’s was his worst, and he was still suffering before Friday’s game. “It was worse (Thursday) ‘cause I couldn’t see,” Gwynn said. “I can see today.” He added, “This is the longest (headache) I’ve ever had. Usually, it’s just when I go to sleep, and it’s gone when I wake up.” . . . Bruce Hurst, suffering from the flu, was sent home during Thursday’s game and was unable to make it Friday as well. Manager Greg Riddoch does not expect Hurst to miss his next start on Sunday.

The Astros made a number roster moves Friday. Outfielder Javier Ortiz, who injured his left knee in a collision with Parent on a play at the plate Thursday night, was placed on the 15-day disabled list but likely will be out for the season with torn ligaments and cartilage. Ortiz will return to Houston today and undergo arthroscopic surgery Monday to have the torn cartilage removed and the ligaments examined to see if further surgery is necessary. “It was just a freak thing,” Ortiz said. “(Parent) stepped forward, and I didn’t realize it until (the collision) occurred. I was thinking slide all the way, but the ball skipped to his glove quickly and he stepped up the line.” Ortiz said he knew right away it was a serious injury. “That’s the worst pain I’ve felt in my life,” he said. Infielder Rafael Ramirez, who had been on the disabled list for a hamstring injury, was activated and has replaced Ortiz on the roster.

Slugging first baseman Glenn Davis, who had been on the disabled list and sidelined since June 25 with torn muscles in his rib cage, was sent to the Astros’ double-A affiliate in Columbus, Ga., for rehabilitation. Part of the reasoning for him going there, as opposed to triple-A, is that Davis’ home is in Columbus and the team is home for the next eight days. Davis, and his wife, Teresa, are expecting their third child any day now. . . . Alex Trevino, a Houston catcher, was placed on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. Trevino declined the Astros’ offer of taking a minor league assignment. . . . The Astros also purchased the contract of outfielder Mark Davidson from Tucson, their triple-A affiliate.