NEW YORK — The scoreboard, the box score and the New York Mets were all in agreement on a salient aspect of Thursday night's game with the Dodgers.
They all concurred on the number of runs (5) the Mets scored off Fernando Valenzuela in a 5-2 win for Sid Fernandez that completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers at Shea Stadium.
Dodger catcher Mike Scioscia, however, was confused, and not because Keith Hernandez of the Mets tried to leave footprints on Scioscia's head in a seventh-inning collision at the plate.
"Besides (George) Foster's home run, I'm trying to find out where their other runs came from," Scioscia said.
As a New York state of mind, amnesia was as good as any for the Dodgers, who were as generous to the Mets as they were unsupportive of their own pitchers.
Valenzuela, especially, had every reason to push the erase button on his personal memory bank. Better that he didn't remember left fielder Cesar Cedeno overthrowing cutoff man Mariano Duncan in the fourth inning, when the Mets scored twice with two out.
And better that he blot out the seventh, when second baseman Steve Sax couldn't hold onto Valenzuela's low throw on what would have been a rally-killing double-play bunt. Instead, the Mets scored twice on Hernandez's double just beyond the reach of center fielder Reggie Williams.
And every Dodger hitter, with the possible exception of Mike Marshall, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games with his league-leading 13th home run, would do well to leave behind memories of the treatment they received at the hands of the Mets' pitching staff.
The Dodgers scored five runs in three games against Ron Darling, Dwight Gooden and Fernandez, who reminds the Dodgers every time he pitches of a trade that Al Campanis may rue for at least a decade, which is about 10 years longer than anyone will remember Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers had a total of 15 hits and 20 base-runners in their three defeats. And they struck out 29 times, with Met reliever Roger McDowell getting the last two in the ninth inning Thursday night.
"It's always difficult to sweep the Dodgers," said Hernandez, whose back-breaker double in the seventh raised his average to .423 against L.A. this season and to .327 in his career against Valenzuela.
"You're talking about the two best pitching staffs in the National League. Theirs and ours."
In that order?
"If I had to pick between them, I don't know which I would take," Hernandez said.
Choosing between the team's defenses would not have posed the same dilemma. It was almost a year ago to the day that Met third baseman Ray Knight said the Dodgers didn't have a big league defense after watching them make five errors.
They made none Thursday night, at least not the variety that appear in the small print the next day. But while the Mets chased down virtually every ball the Dodgers hit hard off Fernandez--and there were plenty--the Dodgers aided and abetted the Mets' few chances against Valenzuela.
Gary Carter, the Mets' slowest runner who had drawn a walk off Valenzuela when it was 1-1 in the fourth, scored from first base when Cedeno, a five-time Gold Glove winner, fielded Knight's double in the corner and overshot cutoff man Duncan by at least a couple of feet.
"Obviously, I missed him," said Cedeno, who also was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the second inning. "That's as far as it goes."
Actually it went a run further as Tim Teufel singled off the end of his bat to score Knight, who beat Cedeno's throw to the plate without a slide.
Marshall's home run in the top of the fifth, which reached the back wall of the Met bullpen on one bounce, cut the Mets' lead to 3-2.
Valenzuela, who had thrown consecutive two-hitters while working on three days' rest, told pitching coach Ron Perranoski before the Met seventh that he had no objection to being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, a rare admission by the Dodger pitcher that all was not right.
"My arm wasn't tired," Valenzuela said, "but it was stiff a little bit."
He walked Rafael Santana on four pitches to open the seventh but got Fernandez to pop his bunt back to the mound. Valenzuela had Santana doubled off the bag, but he hurried his throw, and Sax couldn't hold it.
"If I throw good it's a double play," Valenzuela said. "I threw it right there but I threw it low."
Neither Sax, who said the throw was ankle-high, nor Valenzuela was charged with an error on the play. "But the umpire called him out at first," Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said. "There's your answer right there."
Even Valenzuela, for whom the next episode of finger-pointing will be his first, hinted that he thought his throw was catchable.
"Everybody knows what happened," he said. "I don't need to say anything."
Talk was cheap, anyway, after Hernandez launched a drive to left-center that barely eluded Williams after a long run--a chase, first baseman Enos Cabell said, that never should have been needed.