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Hawkins Quietly Wins His Ninth : The Best Pitcher Who Nobody Knows Beats Phillies, 4-1,

May 26, 1985|TOM FRIEND | Times Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA — Just in case members of the Phillies' bullpen don't know (they watched a Stanley Cup hockey game instead of Saturday night's game here), Andy Hawkins is 9-0. It's the best baseball stat that nobody knows. And Hawkins also happens to be the best pitcher who nobody knows.

Personally, Hawkins would prefer to keep it this way, because he is quieter than a Phillie rally. He's done about three interviews in the last week, and he thinks he's getting bombarded by the media. After Saturday night's 4-1 complete-game victory here, he figures it'll get worse. Someone mentioned the All-Star Game, and he said: "Shhhh."

"I'm thinking about Montreal first," said Hawkins, who goes for No. 10 Thursday against the Expos. "Geez, I think I'll start looking at their box scores tomorrow morning."

And this is when sports are fun, when someone naive breaks onto the scene, experiences success and has no clue what to do with himself. Hawkins was asked to sit there, say "9 and Oh, 9 and Oh, 9 and Oh" 10 times fast, and see how it sounded.

He said: "I'm in unknown territory for me. I've never been here. I don't know how to act . . . I know if I think about it too much, I'll just lose it. So I try to put it in perspective.

"Really, the big man upstairs is taking care of me. I'm not real religious, but all the breaks are going my way. It's something I'm thankful for."

And he should be thankful, because, in many ways, he is lucky. So perhaps he's overrated a bit. In nine starts, the Padres have now scored 54 runs for him, an average of six per game. LaMarr Hoyt should be so lucky, and, unfortunately, he isn't.

Still, Hawkins also should be commended, because he does seem to get the right outs. In the fifth, the Phillies put two men on with one out and failed to score. Hawkins, working mostly with his fastball and cut fastball (a variation of a slider), struck out Steve Jeltz and forced John Russell to fly out.

Then, in the seventh, Hawkins, who had only walked six batters all season before Saturday, walked two consecutive hitters. ("I had brainlock," he said.) But he struck out pinch-hitter Greg Gross to end the inning.

As for the Phillies, Wayne Gretzky scores more than they do. Philadelphia is 0 for their last 16 with runners in scoring position. Their lone run came in the ninth when Ozzie Virgil hit a homer to left off a cut fastball.

Meanwhile, the Padres went to their second unit and still scored four runs, winning their sixth straight, which equals their longest streak of last season. Manager Dick Williams, thinking it was a perfect time to rest outfielders Kevin McReynolds and Carmelo Martinez, started Bobby Brown in center field and Al Bumbry in left, both of whom needed the at-bats. And Williams will make some more changes today, because Terry Kennedy and Graig Nettles will sit out.

"I even told Garv, 'Tell me when you want a day off.' He said, 'I will, I will,' " Williams said, laughing because Garvey takes days off every solar eclipse or so.

Brown and Bumbry found out about their day on just minutes before batting practice. First base coach Jack Krol told them.

"My biggest problem was trying to stay calm," Brown said. "I don't want to get too over excited, you know."

And he wasn't very excited afterward, because he'd gone 0 for 5, including three hard fly balls to center. Brown is 0 for 15 on the season.

"Hey, could you guys make a mistake for me in the box score?" Brown asked reporters. "Put a hit in there. Make me look good."

Bumbry, who also went 0 for 5, was more calm, only because he's an unemotional guy. He says he just wants to stay ready, in case he's needed. And he was glad his mom, who had come up from Virginia, got a chance to see him play.

So the Padre runs had to come from the regulars. Nettles drew a walk off Phillie starter Charles Hudson to begin the second (Nettles is second in the league in walks). After Steve Garvey flied out, Kennedy singled to left. Garry Templeton, batting seventh with all of the lineup changes, singled to right then, and Ozzie Virgil Sr., the third base coach, waved Nettles in from second.

And it appeared to be a silly play because right fielder Glenn Wilson had fielded the ball cleanly and was throwing home before Nettles had even rounded third. Virgil said later that he forgot Templeton wasn't the eighth batter (normally, a pitcher follows Templeton), and that's why he made the run signal.

It worked out, though, because Ozzie Virgil, his son the Phillie catcher, couldn't handle Wilson's throw. Nettles was safe, and it was 1-0.

Tim Flannery, batting eighth, singled in one more run, and then Hawkins executed a perfect suicide squeeze, to bring home Templeton. It was 3-0.

In the fifth, Tony Gwynn and Nettles had consecutive doubles to make it 4-0.

So it was up to Hawkins, who predictably came through. Immediately thereafter, he did two radio interviews, while a dozen writers waited by his locker. So this is fame.

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