There will be no parades in October for Goose, Garv and the rest of the San Diego Padre gang that tilted the freeway south last season, when they won the first pennant in their 16th year of existence.
But that doesn't mean they can't delay the Dodgers' little party this season.
The Padres, who breezed to the 1984 division title by a dozen games but came into Dodger Stadium as also-rans, 13 games behind the Dodgers, punctured a few balloons Monday night, coming from behind against Fernando Valenzuela in the eighth inning and then beating reliever Ken Howell, 6-4, before a crowd of 37,571.
Neither of those occurrences qualify as rare anymore. Valenzuela, who couldn't hold a 3-1 lead, hasn't won in a month; Howell, who took the loss and is 4-7, hasn't had a save since Aug. 16.
Rookie Jerry Davis broke a 4-4 tie in the ninth with a two-out single that scored pinch-runner Miguel Dilone, who had stolen second base to get into scoring position. Davis wound up on third after right-fielder Mike Marshall threw to the plate and catcher Mike Scioscia heaved the ball back into center field, then scored on Garry Templeton's double.
It was Davis' second RBI of the season.
In his last six appearances, Howell has now given up 10 runs in 9 innings.
After Steve Garvey's RBI infield out capped the Padres' three-run rally in the eighth, Goose Gossage gave up the tying run in the bottom of the inning but wound up with the win.
The Dodgers still moved a game closer to winning the division, however, as Cincinnati lost to San Francisco. With six games left, the Dodgers' magic number to clinch is two. They lead the Reds by 5 1/2 games; any combination of two Dodger wins or Red losses and the title belongs to Los Angeles.
The Dodgers had tied the score in the bottom of the eighth against Gossage, with Steve Sax singling, taking third on Enos Cabell's hit-and-run single and scoring on Mariano Duncan's sacrifice fly. With two runners on, Gossage got Pedro Guerrero to pop out for the final out.
Valenzuela, 0 for September, had just one win in his last six starts, a stretch in which he lost a 4-0 lead to Houston in his last start and a 6-1 lead on Sept. 15 at Cincinnati, a game that kept the Reds in the race.
During that time, Valenzuela has been pitching with a sore left ankle, an injury that he refuses to acknowledge has bothered him. It was noticeable, however, when he hopped down to first base after one of his two singles off Padre starter LaMarr Hoyt.
The 3-1 lead the Dodgers gave Valenzuela on Monday was constructed primarily by Marshall. He led off the second inning with his second home run in two at-bats and 26th of the season, a drive into the right-field pavilion.
In the third, Valenzuela singled, went to third on a base hit by Duncan and scored when Ken Landreaux hit a shot to second that Jerry Royster converted into a double play.
With one out in the fourth, Marshall lifted a fly down the right-field line that may have been foul when Tony Gwynn got his glove on it. But Gwynn, who was running at full speed, was in fair territory when he touched the ball, and Marshall wound up at third with a triple. He scored on a perfectly executed squeeze by Scioscia.
The Padres had scored a run in the top of the fourth and probably would have had more except for a superb double play turned by shortstop Duncan. After a double by Gwynn and a bloop single by Garvey, Carmelo Martinez hit a ball that was headed up the middle. Duncan gloved it behind second base, raced over to step on the bag for the force and in the same motion threw out the slow-footed Martinez at first.
An inning later, right fielder Marshall--who had uncharacteristically dropped a fly the day before--made the catch of the night, a sprawling grab of Bruce Bochy's shallow fly near the line.
But the Padres, the only team in the NL West with a winning record against the Dodgers, rallied to take the lead in the eighth. After Bochy singled, Valenzuela walked pinch-hitter Davis and Royster to load the bases. Gwynn lined a 2-2 pitch to left-center to drive in two runs, then took second when Landreaux juggled the ball for an error.
Manager Tom Lasorda lifted Valenzuela for Howell, with Garvey bringing in the go-ahead run with an infield out.
Steve Garvey, for one, picks the Dodgers to beat the Cardinals, assuming the teams meet in the playoffs. "If the Dodgers pitch up to their capabilities, they'll win," said Garvey, adding that they must neutralize St. Louis' speed. . . . On a choice for Most Valuable Player, Garvey saw it as between Pedro Guerrero and Willie McGee of the Cardinals. "Pete was a magnet who drew the other guys to him," Garvey said. . . . On his choice for manager of the year, Garvey smiled and said: "Uh, I think we're hitting now." After his listeners laughed, he added: "I can't decide between Tommy (Lasorda) and Pete (Rose), I really can't. If the pitching hadn't been so phenomenal, I probably would have said Tom. . . . Pete is the one person who probably had the greatest influence on a team, but, of course, he's out there every day." . . . Alejandro Pena pitched three innings of a simulated game Monday, allowing one hit and striking out three.