Roberts’ Homer in 10th All the Padres Need


There had been so little offense in this game, it seemed appropriate the smallest man on the field would win it with a towering three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning.

That man was Bip Roberts, all 5-feet-7 and 165 pounds of him.

Roberts’ three-run homer, which rose high into the night sky and came down just on the other side of the auxiliary fence in left-center field, gave the Padres a 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros Thursday at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

Unfortunately, there weren’t many fans around to see it. Thursday’s paid crowd--9,244--was the smallest in more than two years at the stadium. One June 7, 1988, 8,575 paid to see the Padres play Cincinnati.


“I thought it had a chance. The ball just took off of the bat,” Roberts said. “We haven’t had the big hits that we need, and tonight we had one.”

It was Roberts seventh homer of the year, and he now has 38 runs batted in. Not bad for a leadoff man whose main objective on most nights is igniting Padre rallies, not finishing them.

This is the first time since 1984 that Roberts has won a game with a home run. Roberts played for Prince William (a Pirate minor league club) in the Carolina League when he hit that one--a grand slam.

This one, he said was a bit sweeter. “I felt I’m going to do it right here,” Roberts said. “I had a lot of adrenaline flowing, but I never thought about a home run. I was just going for a base hit.”

“You’ve got to give Bip credit,” Padre Manager Greg Riddoch said. “He’s been through a lot. He’s made himself into what you saw today.”

Roberts, hitting .304, has been the consummate team player this year. He has played third base--as he did Thursday night--shortstop, second base and the outfield. He has played hurt, as he did last month after getting kicked in the groin by Philadelphia’s Charlie Hayes on a play at third base. And he has played as the Padres continue to try player after player at a number of his positions.


The latest was Paul Faries, who made his major league debut at second base Thursday after being called up from triple-A Las Vegas a few days ago.

Faries, who played at Pepperdine, had outstanding numbers at Las Vegas this season, including team records for hits (172) and stolen bases (47).

In his first at-bat here, he lined a single to right center. He had a chance to win the game later, but second baseman Dave Rohde managed to smother his one-hop liner and throw him out with two outs and runners on first and third in the seventh.

“He hit it right on the screws but right at the second baseman,” Riddoch said. “If he didn’t hit it right at the guy, that would have won the game.”

Instead, it was up to Roberts.

In the 10th, Garry Templeton led off with a single to right center off loser Brian Meyer (0-1). Mark Parent sacrificed Templeton to second. After Faries struck out and pinch-hitter Benito Santiago was walked intentionally, Roberts, batting right-handed against left-hander Juan Agosto, hit a 1-2 pitch and the celebration began.

Roberts made a winner of reliever Greg Harris (8-7) after the right-hander relieved Bruce Hurst, who pitched brilliantly.


Actually, both starters--Hurst and Houston’s Jim Deshaies--pitched well. They matched each other most of the way--Hurst yielding zero runs and four hits in eight innings, Deshaies five hits in seven innings. Hurst threw 103 pitches, 67 for strikes while walking two and striking out a season-high nine batters. Deshaies threw 107 pitches, 69 for strikes while walking two and striking out five.

Oddly, this is the third time Hurst and Deshaies faced each other this year. Hurst (8-9) is 0-1 with two no-decisions against the Astros. Deshaies (6-11) is 1-2 with one no-decision in four starts against the Padres.

With just their fourth victory in 13 games, the Padres (63-73) swept the two-game series with the Astros (62-75) and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of them in their struggle for fourth in the National League West.

The Padres had their only early “threat” in the first inning. With two outs, Tony Gwynn sliced a double down the left-field line, and Jack Clark walked, but Joe Carter flied to right to end things.

That was torrid compared to the Astros. Houston managed just single hits in the first, fifth, seventh and eighth innings off Hurst.

In the first, Craig Biggio walked to open the game but was thrown out trying to steal by Parent, starting in place of Santiago. The next batter, Rafael Ramirez, singled to left, but he too was thrown out by Parent trying to steal.


In the fourth, Biggio walked again to open the inning, but one out later was erased on an outstanding double play started by Jack Clark. Franklin Stubbs, a left-handed batter, lined a one-hopper over first base that Clark snared. He stepped on first and threw to second and Templeton, who put the tag on Biggio.

With those plays, Hurst faced the minimum number of batters until Mark Davidson singled in the fifth with two outs. Hurst then struck out former San Diegan Eric Anthony for the second time.

After Hurst was lifted for a pinch-hitter to lead off the bottom of the eighth, Harris pitched well in his two innings of work, too, allowing just one hit and starting a pitcher-to-short-to-first double play to end the top of the 10th.

Padre Notes

Padres Manager Greg Riddoch said Joey Cora will probably start at shortstop tonight.