CINCINNATI — The manager of the Cincinnati Reds walked silently into his office Saturday night, pulled his double-knit jersey over his head and tossed it on the floor. Then he sat down at his desk, still wearing the red T-shirt that said: "Pete Did It, Sept. 11, 1985."
"That was a (bleep) game, wasn't it?" said Pete Rose after the Dodgers had done it once again to Rose and the Reds, coasting to a 7-0 victory on Bob Welch's six-hitter, a 16-hit attack, four Cincinnati errors--two by starting pitcher Ron Robinson--and two wild pitches by Robinson.
"We don't play the same way against the Dodgers that we do against other teams," Rose said. "Every team has another team it doesn't play well against. It seems that ours is the Dodgers, which is absolutely the wrong team."
Ever the realist, Rose entertained few illusions about the Reds' chances of overtaking the Dodgers, who increased their lead in the National League West to 9 1/2 games and reduced their magic number to 13 by beating Cincinnati for the 10th time in 14 meetings this season.
"But we'll be back tomorrow," Rose said. "I'll tell you something, though: The Dodgers are not lucky, which is what I've been hearing when we've gone to other cities.
"Most of the things they do, they create by their aggressive play and their approach to the game."
On this trip, the Dodger hitters have approached each game with abandon. They've averaged 8.4 runs a game and are batting .349 while winning six of eight from Atlanta and Cincinnati.
Saturday, Mariano Duncan had four hits, went from first to third on a wild pitch in the fifth inning and then scored on another wild pitch. Mike Marshall hit his sixth home run in 10 games, a two-run shot off reliever John Stuper in the ninth that gave him 19 RBIs in a week. Mike Scioscia had three hits, raising his average to .307, and Steve Sax extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
"I tell my players to look at the Dodgers," Rose said. "When a guy gets on, he steals second. The next guy hits it to the right side, and the third guy hits a fly ball that gets him in. Then the three of 'em congratulate each other in the dugout.
"Look at (Enos) Cabell. He gets a base hit up the middle (while pinch-hitting in the seventh) to score a run, but if he'd just hit it to the right side, he wouldn't have cared. You do things like that when you know you're good."
Cabell, told of Rose's critique, nodded his head in agreement.
"That's the way you win," he said. "Individual averages don't mean that much. . . . In a team atmosphere, you have one thing in common: a World Series ring.
Cabell, who has played on losers throughout his career, was asked his ring size.
"I don't know," he said with a laugh. "I've got crooked fingers. I'm going to need a crooked ring. I just hope it has a lot of diamonds in it."
While Cabell's thoughts turned to October, Welch was thinking about the past and how far he has come--not only from his elbow trouble earlier this season, but since the day he first broke in with the Dodgers in 1978.
"There's some difference," he said after running his record to 11-3 and to 3-0 over the Reds, against whom he has an 0.33 earned-run average after allowing just one earned run in 27 innings. "I feel really good. I'm healthy, my legs are good, I've had no injuries since I've come back. I worked hard to get to that point."
Welch, who did not walk a batter, appeared to work effortlessly against the Reds, who had five singles and Eddie Milner's two-out triple.
"I felt really strong tonight," Welch said. "I had good control of my fastball, I threw my curve for strikes and I had a good changeup for the first time in a while."
Asked if he's glad to have seen the last of Welch, Rose said: "I'm the wrong guy to ask."
Rose, who singled Saturday, is batting .415 in his career against Welch.
"Pete's got hits off me since Day One," Welch said.
For the last seven days, Marshall has been hitting everybody and now has just two fewer RBIs (79) than team leader Pedro Guerrero.
"He's a streaky player," Cabell said. "But he's still learning. Most of the players on this team are really young. They still have a long way to go."
Which means only one thing to Cabell.
"I never had a ring," Cabell said. "All of a sudden, I might have hit the jackpot."