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Padres Get Support From Flannery, Fans

May 18, 1986|STEVE DOLAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — According to Steve Garvey, the Padres had 54,366 "10th Men" at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium Saturday night.

They were members of a season-record crowd that came to get a free beach towel, then stayed to watch the Padres defeat Montreal, 5-3.

Afterward, Garvey came up with a definition for another person. Fans, get reacquainted with Tim Flannery, whom Garvey has decided to call the Padres' "Quintessential 10th Man."

It's a mouthful to say, but Flannery had been more than a handful for the Expos. As a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth, Flannery broke a 3-3 tie with a two-out, two-run double to center.

"He's a great guy to have on the team," Garvey said. "He's always ready. He understands his role but he doesn't necessarily like not playing. He does the next best thing by staying ready. He's what I call a true professional."

Flannery has never started an opening day for the Padres. He has never been handed the role as San Diego's second baseman, but nobody has taken the position away from Flannery. Fifteen second basemen have come and gone since he joined the Padres in 1979.

Don't call him a starter, just call him a survivor. Flannery has had to live through so many "future" second basemen that the term has become redundant.

"I'm not upset," Flannery said of his role. "I'd love to play everyday. There isn't a man on this team who wouldn't love to play everyday. This is just like 1984. I just want to win."

Whether the Padres will win another pennant in 1986 is speculation. The certainty today is that, for the time being, they will win or lose with rookie Bip Roberts, not Flannery, starting at second.

"I don't think Bip has won the job or Tim has lost the job," Manager Steve Boros said. "It's simply that Bip is hot and playing well. As long as he does what we are looking for in a leadoff hitter, he can stay out there."

Boros said he must find ways to get Flannery in the lineup. Flannery can play second, short or third, and he has volunteered to catch in a pinch.

Saturday, he was needed in a different kind of pinch. After the Padres had gotten two runners on base in the sixth, Graig Nettles and Carmelo Martinez struck out. Flannery was aware that he was 4 for 6 lifetime against Montreal pitcher Bert Roberge, and so was Boros.

"I wasn't going to say anything to him (Boros) about it," Flannery said. "I was looking at him and thinking I wanted to be the guy. Anytime there is a chance to win the game, I want to be the guy."

LaMarr Hoyt, making his fourth start of the season, earned his first victory. Hoyt pitched a season-high six innings, allowing three solo home runs. Padre pitchers have allowed six runs to Montreal, all on solo homers.

"They've been told to give 'em up with the bases empty," Boros joked. "They follow instructions well."

The Expos led, 2-0, through four innings on solo homers by Wayne Krenchicki and Hubie Brooks. The Padres, who scored both their runs Friday on solo homers, had a solo homer by Kevin McReynolds to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

Then the Padres proved that they could score by methods other than solo home runs. Roberts drove in the tying run with a ground-ball single to left. Garry Templeton drove in the go-ahead run on a grounder to short. Roberts was stealing second on the play, causing shortstop Brooks to cover the bag before he retrieved the ball.

"When Roberts broke, that threw everything out of whack for them (the Expos)," Boros said. "That's why movement is so important on that play."

Solo homers might have looked more impressive, but when a team has lost four straight at home, any way of winning will do.

Montreal received another solo homer from Tim Raines in the sixth. However, the Expos didn't score thereafter.

Goose Gossage earned his seventh save, shutting out the Expos in the final two innings. However, as usual, Gossage did not make things easy.

He left a runner on first in the eighth. He left runners on first and third in the ninth, striking out Raines to end the game.

Gene Walter was warming up in the bullpen. Boros said Walter was warming up only to get in some work.

Padre Notes Two weeks ago, Manager Steve Boros was looking for a leadoff batter. Now, he thinks he has at least a temporary answer in Bip Roberts. The new priority? "I'm looking for a No. 2 hitter," Boros said before Saturday's game. Garry Templeton, the latest candidate, batted second for the fourth time this season. "Garry took an 0-1 pitch when Bip was stealing last night, and we liked that," Boros said. "We need someone to protect Bip when he steals. I'll leave him (Templeton) there for a while and see how it goes." Boros said Templeton will also give the Padres more speed near the top of the lineup. Templeton has stolen just one base this year, but he has been bothered by knee and hamstring injuries.

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