Padres Toss It Away : Baseball: Errors and mistakes help the Padres turn a four-run lead into a 8-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants.


It was the kind of game that the Padres can’t wait to forget.

Manager Greg Riddoch tried to shrug it off by saying, “I don’t rate defeats one through 10. All of them are tied for first in my book.”

But Riddoch’s philosophical view of the disaster Sunday at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium didn’t make it any easier for anyone concerned to swallow. The Padres squandered a four-run lead and wound up with an 8-7 loss to the San Francisco Giants in 10 innings.

The late-inning swoon overshadowed the efforts of the Padres’ Darrin Jackson, who hit two home runs for the second time in his career. It also brought boos from the crowd of 23,212, which was disappointing considering there was a Kenny Rogers concert after the game.


After four innings, the Padres were ahead, 6-2, the result of a four-run burst in the fourth that finished rookie Mike Remlinger. After six innings, the score was 6-3 and starter Andy Benes left for a pinch hitter, looking forward with great anticipation to his fifth victory of the season.

Larry Andersen and Craig Lefferts, the cream of the Padres’ bullpen, pooled their efforts to give up 10 hits and five runs, four of them earned, in the last four innings. Lefferts, who has 14 saves, failed for the fifth time when the Giants scored twice in the ninth. The Padres ended up the loser when Will Clark drove home the tie-breaking run with a single in the 10th.

Andersen began his performance with a two-run seventh in which the Padres injected a touch of slapstick with two throwing errors, which permitted Clark to go all the way around the bases on a single. Tony Gwynn made the first wild throw, Andersen the second.

Clark said later, “I was running until somebody told me to stop. I had a big grin on my face, because I broke my bat and the barrel went almost as far as the ball.”

That made it 6-5, and after Jackson hit his second home run, the Giants resumed their attack. They wasted two hits with nobody out in the eighth, when Lefferts bailed out Andersen, but erased what remained of the deficit on three hits off Lefferts in the ninth--rookie Tony Perezchica singled in the tying run--and needed just one extra inning to run his record to 0-4.

For the resurgent Giants, this sort of thing has become old hat. They now have won eight of their last nine games, including two of three here over the weekend, and have fought from behind in all but one of their eight victories.


Manager Roger Craig has said all along that the Giants can still contend in the National League West despite their wretched start, and he was more convinced than ever after their latest comeback. For the record, they are in fifth place, 12 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers and four games back of the fourth-place Padres.

“This was the biggest game we’ve won,” Craig said. “It’s the type of game that gets guys going, because it’s a game you don’t think you’re going to win and then you do.”

Craig used every one of his position players, and, amazingly, eight men appeared in the fifth spot in the Giants’ batting order.

“My next pinch hitter was going to be Kenny Rogers,” Craig said. “I had him suited up.”

As ineffective as Andersen and Lefferts were, the game might not have come down to them if the Padres had made the most of their 13 hits. They now have collected 28 hits in two games and have lost both.

“We seemed to be on the verge of a big inning several times and couldn’t break it,” Riddoch said.

Had it not been for the collapse of the Padre bullpen, Jackson might have called this the finest day of his career.


“Obviously, what I did wasn’t enough,” Jackson said ruefully. “That takes some of the joy out of it.”

Still, as a reserve outfielder who has had a long struggle to make the major leagues, Jackson felt great satisfaction in his first two home-run game as a Padre. He also had one as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1988, when he finished with six homers, the same number he has now.

“This is the first time I’ve gotten many at-bats since ‘88,” Jackson said. “But I can hit home runs. It depends on how many at-bats I get.”

Even with his five times at bat Sunday, Jackson just skimmed past the 100 mark for the season. As the Padres’ No. 4 outfielder, he was playing only because Jerald Clark was shifted to first base to fill in for Fred McGriff, who suffered a sprained ankle Saturday night.

Asked if he considered himself a home run hitter, Jackson said, “Yep. It’s difficult to do it off the bench, but when I get AB’s, I hit some.”

Jackson’s career high is 23, which he hit at Triple-A Iowa in 1987.

Kevin Mitchell of the Giants hit the only other home run of the afternoon, and that was not exactly news. He now has 13 homers for the season, and he has hit five of them in six games in his hometown.


Mitchell, Clark and Willie McGee each had three of the Giants’ 17 hits, and the one with which Clark decided the game brought words of lament from Lefferts.

“Will and I know each other so well that each one knows what the other can do,” Lefferts said. “It always ends up being a guessing game when we meet, and you have to make the right guesses.

“I got him out in the eighth by jamming him, but in the 10th I put it out over the plate. If you make a mistake to him, he’ll hurt you.”