Hansen Comes Through, Lifts Dodgers in 11th : Baseball: His pinch-hit single drives in Butler from second with winning run, 7-6.
It would have been one of those real tough losses, what with the Dodgers having failed to score after loading the bases in the ninth inning.
But the Dodger reserves, with the help of a solid effort by the team’s relievers, pulled the game out in the 11th inning Tuesday night, beating the San Diego Padres, 7-6, before what remained of a crowd of 32,549 at Dodger Stadium.
Dave Hansen, the pinch-hitting hero of last season, was down two strikes with two outs in the inning, when he hit a single up the middle against reliever Tim Mauser (2-4) to score Brett Butler from second base. The victory increased the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West to two games over the San Francisco Giants.
“This game can drive you crazy--just when you think you are in good position. . . .” said Manager Tom Lasorda, when asked how he was feeling after the ninth inning. “But we battled back, the bench, and don’t forget the bullpen. This team manufactured runs and stole a lot of bases.”
Butler, batting in the 11th inning, beat out a two-out ground ball that second baseman Bip Roberts fielded cleanly. Delino DeShields walked before Hansen came up with the big hit.
But just seconds before Butler was to bat in the ninth inning, a fan ran to the batter’s box, with these profound words for Butler.
“He said, ‘Hey Dude,’ ” Butler said, “then patted me on the back. I looked immediately at his hands, to see if he was carrying anything with him.”
Ushers took him away, but with runners on first and second, the score tied at 6-6 and none out, it wasn’t exactly the time for a chat.
The Dodgers, who had earlier rallied from a 5-1 deficit, went to the bench, and Mitch Webster and Jeff Treadway reached base. After the encounter with the fan, Butler bunted hard toward third base, but Webster was forced at third. After DeShields walked, Mike Piazza struck out and Tim Wallach flied out to leave the bases loaded, sending the game into the 10th inning.
But the indication came early that this would be a long night. When Tom Candiotti doesn’t have his knuckleball working, the early innings can be rough. By the time he departed in the third inning, the Padres led, 5-1. The Dodgers had used five pitchers, with the five relievers giving up only five hits and one run--albeit the tying run--over six innings.
“I don’t have any idea why (the knuckleball) wasn’t moving, because I really don’t know why it moves in the first place,” Candiotti said.
Candiotti hasn’t pitched less then six innings in each of his last 14 starts and has pitched seven or more innings in 11 of those starts. But he was also making his seventh appearance in a span of a month, during which he had pitched 44 innings in his previous appearances.
Meanwhile, the aggressive play of the Padres hasn’t changed their position in the standings, but it has changed the perception other teams have of them.
“Our record is not good, but other clubs that play us know we will battle,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “We have had a run on some good pitching and our hitting has come up, it’s ranked fifth in the league now. Other clubs have a renewed respect for us and we have been involved in a lot of close games.”
Such was the case Tuesday, when the Dodgers, down, 5-4, in the fifth inning with one out, scored the tying run after Butler worked Padre starting pitcher Bill Krueger for a walk, then stole second and third base with DeShields at bat.
DeShields drove home Butler with a line-drive single, then scored on a stolen base, an error and a wild pitch by reliever Doug Brocail.
But the Padres tied the score against reliever Jim Gott, on a two singles, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers had rallied in the bottom of the third inning, scoring three runs with two outs on a triple by DeShields, a single by Piazza and a two-run homer by Wallach. It was Wallach’s 21st home run this season, equaling what the number he hit combined over the last two seasons.
Todd Worrell (6-4) pitched two hitless innings, striking out one and not giving up a walk.