Soccer fans who miss the World Cup ought to give Dodger Stadium a try. It may be baseball, but with some of the elements a soccer fan would love.
That's the only way the Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals know how to play this game. The Cardinals won by that score Tuesday night after losing, 1-0, to the Dodgers on Monday night.
Shortstop Mariano Duncan, making his first start in 16 games, booted Tommy Herr's seventh-inning grounder to set up the game's only run after the Dodgers had won the previous night on an unearned run.
Broadcaster Tony Tirado turning "goooaalll" into an aria.
With practice, Vin Scully should be able to do the same with "rrruuunnn," which has become just as rare.
The Dodgers, with a chance to win three games in a row for the first time in a month, instead were shut out for the seventh time this season.
Tim Conroy, a left-hander who has been on the disabled list since May 25 with a bad shoulder, was the winning pitcher, collaborating with reliever Ricky Horton on a five-hitter.
Conroy, acquired from Oakland last winter, was supposed to have taken Joaquin Andujar's place in the St. Louis rotation. Maybe if he hadn't been hurt, the Cardinals wouldn't be 22 games behind the New York Mets.
Cardinal Manager Whitey Herzog wasn't buying that theory.
"Our problem hasn't been that," Herzog said. "For him to have any effect, he'd have to pitch a shutout every night. And so would Tudor and all the rest."
Herzog could have added Bob Welch, who didn't pitch a shutout Tuesday and wound up the loser, even though he took a one-hitter into the seventh inning.
But with one out, Herr hit a bouncer that Duncan perceived to be harder hit than it actually was. The Dodger shortstop backed up on the ball and then watched it bounce off his glove.
Andy Van Slyke followed with a high chopper that cleared Enos Cabell's leap and carried into right field, sending Herr to third. Curt Ford flied to shallow left, but catcher Mike LaValliere grounded a single up the middle to bring home the run.
Duncan, who had made just one pinch-hitting appearance since June 20, was playing on a sprained left ankle, which he said still hasn't healed fully. "It's only about 65 or 70 percent," he had said before the game. "But that's enough. When I see the situation on the team, I feel I can do something. . . . Nobody put any pressure on me."
Duncan was moving with typical grace in the first inning, gliding behind the mound to throw out Ozzie Smith on the run, and going to the hole to grab Herr's grounder and throw him out as well.
He didn't have another grounder until the seventh.
"That ball looked like it was hit hard," Duncan said. "That's why I stayed back. No problem, but I dropped the ball.
"The ball jumped. I think it might have hit something."
That's more than the Dodgers hit. They had five singles, but never got a runner as far as third.
And Duncan, normally a threat to steal, made no attempt to advance after his two-out single in the seventh, even after Horton's first pitch to pinch-hitter Mike Marshall got away from LaValliere.
"Normally, I go," Duncan said. "But that (the ankle) is why I stay there. I'm thinking, maybe Mike Marshall will hit a home run, a double or a triple."
But only one Dodger, Len Matuszek, has hit a home run in the last dozen games, and Marshall--out of the starting lineup because of a bad back--grounded into a force play.
"The Dodgers are missing a bunch of people," said Van Slyke, who had three of the Cardinals' four hits.
"I almost feel like we're playing Albuquerque instead of L.A."
Put Diego Maradona on the Dodgers, and Van Slyke could have said Argentina.
As coincidence would have it, Dodger Vice President Al Campanis was in Mexico Tuesday night, scouting a player. It wasn't a kicker.