SAN DIEGO — Unlike the late Branch Rickey or Al Campanis, Rick Honeycutt never mentioned anything about the residue of design after the Dodgers' 6-0 shutout of the San Diego Padres before 30,677 in Jack Murphy Stadium Sunday afternoon.
But the Dodger left-hander was the first to admit he was lucky, or however you want to define it.
Lucky to survive, lucky to win, and lucky to have Bill Madlock playing third base as if it was his glove, and not his bat, that has kept him in the big leagues for the last 13 seasons.
"It was one of those games where you come out shaking your head," Honeycutt said. "You look at the scoreboard and they haven't scored, and you don't know why.
"I told Doggie (Madlock) . . . 'I'm going to make you a Gold Glover this year.' "
While Madlock treated every ball hit his way as if he were on border-patrol duty--seizing and confiscating--Honeycutt stayed afloat for six innings. Then in the seventh, the Padres went under when Steve Garvey, who has enough trouble throwing from a vertical position, discovered it isn't any easier from a sitting-down position.
Garvey, who slipped while fielding Alex Trevino's bunt single, launched a throw so far over the head of second baseman Bip Roberts, covering first, that the 5-7 Roberts could have been standing atop Houston's Twin Towers and still missed it.
Two runs scored on the play, finishing left-hander Dave Dravecky. Mariano Duncan singled in another run that inning and added a two-run homer in the ninth, while Bill Russell, whose single touched off the seventh-inning rally, doubled home another run in the eighth in his first start since April 27.
The Dodgers took two out of three from the Padres, the first time this season they've won a road series that went more than two games. They're now in fourth place, five games behind first-place Houston. The Padres, who are 4-6 on this 14-game homestand, are in fifth, six games behind.
"The whole play had the makings of one of those bloopers," said Garvey, who lost his footing on the Jack Murphy Stadium turf, which has resembled a hockey rink more than once this season. Skates may be more suitable than spikes.
"The bad news was I found the ball right away. I turned around and kind of saw him (Trevino) about 15 feet from the bag and tried to make a good, quick throw."
He got the quick part right.
"I haven't practiced that throw," said Garvey, adding that even he had to chuckle at the result. "My release point was a little high."
Garvey, always a stickler for good grooming, took a few moments to try to put each blade of grass back in place, but there was no hiding this mess. Russell and Franklin Stubbs, who had bunted and reached when catcher Bruce Bochy elected to try for Russell at second and failed, both scored on the play.
Trevino wound up at second, took third on an infield out, and scored on Duncan's base hit off Lance McCullers.
While no one could have anticipated Garvey's slip, it was no accident that Trevino bunted Garvey's way. After the Dodger catcher bunted his first attempt foul down the third-base line, third-base coach Joe Amalfitano summoned Trevino for a conference.
"I told him to bunt it to the first baseman," Amalfitano said. "Someone had to handle the ball, and we preferred to have him (Garvey) be the one."
The Padres, who had scored a season-high 12 runs the night before, failed to score against Honeycutt and two relievers, Tom Niedenfuer and Ken Howell, even though they put runners on second and third with no out in the fourth on Kevin McReynolds' single and Garvey's double.
Carmelo Martinez lined to Stubbs at first for out No. 1. Madlock gobbled up Bochy's sharply hit ball for out No. 2. Graig Nettles was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Garry Templeton bounced to Duncan at short for an inning-ending force play.
"For six innings, we swung the bat as well as I've seen us swing them all year," Padre Manager Steve Boros said. "And we had absolutely nothing to show for it."
Honeycutt recently has begun using a knuckle ball, but he was hardly a master of deception, with that pitch or any other.
"I didn't trick too many guys," he said. "There were a couple of guys I threw well to. Templeton with the bases loaded and Bochy with the guys on second and third, but there weren't too many tricks out there."
Maybe it wasn't a sleight of hand, but Honeycutt still ran his string of consecutive scoreless innings to 22. And that lowered his earned run average to 2.07. And that, abracadabra, is better even than Dwight Gooden, who had been leading the league at 2.21.
Even Honeycutt was momentarily at a loss for a response to that, before poking a little fun at himself.
"He (Gooden) would have been impressed today," Honeycutt said.
The Padres couldn't help but be impressed by Madlock, who came into the game leading all National League third basemen with a dozen errors.