Gott’s Streak Ends in Pain for Dodgers : Baseball: After retiring 22 consecutive batters, relief pitcher gives up McReynolds’ second home run of the game and the Mets win, 3-2.
Jim Gott, who had retired 22 consecutive batters spanning five appearances, made a 400-foot mistake on No. 23 in the ninth-inning Friday, giving up Kevin McReynolds’ second home run of the game to give the New York Mets a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers.
McReynolds’ 18th homer, which came on an 0-and-2 pitch, dropped to the Dodgers to 6 1/2 games behind the National League West-leading Cincinnati Reds, who defeated Pittsburgh 4-3. They also fell into a second-place tie with San Francisco, the first time they have shared second place since Aug. 16.
The Dodgers had one last threat in the ninth inning. But after Mike Sharperson drew a two-out walk from Dwight Gooden and pinch-runner Juan Samuel advanced to third on a bloop single by Mickey Hatcher against reliever John Franco, Rick Dempsey grounded to shortstop to end the game.
The Dodgers need for the Reds to stumble in their remaining two games against the first-place Pirates. After this weekend, the Reds play only 10 of their remaining 36 games against teams with .500-plus winning percentages. When the Dodgers finish with the Mets this weekend, they play 15 of their final 35 games against winning teams.
Before a sellout crowd of 48,358 at Dodger Stadium, Gott had relieved Ramon Martinez to start the eighth with the score tied 2-all, and had retired five consecutive hitters before McReynolds, who had homered in the fifth, completed his second multi-homer night in six games.
Gooden gave up six hits and struck out 11 while Martinez struck out only five. Gooden is 13-1 against the Dodgers in 18 career starters. He has not lost to them since May 25, 1985.
The Mets had taken a 2-0 lead against Martinez in the top of the fifth inning on McReynolds’ 17th homer and an RBI single by Dave Magadan.
The Dodgers countered with a run in the bottom of the fifth against Gooden on Jose Offerman’s grounder after singles by Hubie Brooks and Sharperson. They tied it one inning later on Kirk Gibson’s hustle. He singled, stole second, then stole third and scored when catcher Mackey Sasser hurriedly threw the ball into right field.
Martinez, who entered the night with a season-long two game losing streak, did not lose. But he did not break out of his doldrums, either. After throwing a hitless three innings, he allowed two runs on six hits in his final four innings of work.
He was finally removed from the game for pinch-hitter Stan Javier in the bottom of the seventh. Although he leads the major leagues with 188 strikeouts, he has struck out just 14 in his last three starts. It is the first time this season he has gone three starts without a win.
The Dodgers blew a good chance to take the lead in the seventh after Mike Scioscia led off with a single and Sharperson then bunted safely when catcher Sasser delayed on his throw to first base. After Offerman kept runners on first and second with a bunt that forced Scioscia at third, the runners advanced to second and third on Gooden’s fourth wild pitch this season.
But pinch-hitter Javier struck out, then Lenny Harris’ line drive landed in the web of leaping shortstop Howard Johnson’s outstretched glove. That final indignity was too much for Manager Tom Lasorda to take, as he threw a catchers’ mask on to the field in disgust.
The Mets touched Martinez on his fifth pitch in the fifth inning, when Kevin McReynolds broke an 0-for-19 slump with a home run. The hit, which sailed into the Dodger bullpen over the left field fence, was just McReynolds’ second career hit in nine at-bats against Martinez.
After Kelvin Torve popped up the next pitch, Sasser singled to right field to start another scoring opportunity. Gooden’s bad bunt was thrown to second base by Martinez to force Sasser, but Gooden soon moved to third on a single by Daryl Boston. With first baseman Eddie Murray guarding Boston on the bag, Magadan grounded a single past Murray and into right field to score Gooden. Boston, who moved to third on the play, was stranded when Jefferies struck out on three consecutive pitches.
The Dodgers came back in the bottom of the fifth after Brooks, mired in a five-for-35 slump, blooped a single to right. Scioscia’s bouncer to Gooden moved Brooks to second, a single to shallow right field by Sharperson moved Brooks to third, and Offerman’s grounder scored him.
The Dodgers tied it in the sixth on an 150-foot base hit and 270 feet of hustle. Both were supplied by Kirk Gibson, who hit a one-out bloop single to right field off Gooden. With Kal Daniels batting, two pitches later Gibson stole second. Two pitches after that, Gibson stole third and continued his sprint around the base and to home plate after an obviously frustrated catcher Sasser bounced the ball past Magadan and into left-field foul territory. He scored to a standing ovation, which he acknowledged with several pumps of his fist. Those were his second and third stolen bases of the game, giving him 20 stolen bases in 22 attempts this season, second best on the team even though he has played in just 63 games.
Today’s game, which will be broadcast nationally on CBS, will begin at 12:15 p.m. . . . The starting time for the Sept. 3 game against Houston in Dodger Stadium has been moved from 7:05 p.m. to 7:35 p.m. . . . Juan Samuel, who was benched for six consecuitive games, should return to the lineup this weekend against Sid Fernandez and Frank Viola.