Rookie third baseman Wade Rowdon of the Cincinnati Reds may never forget his first encounter with Dwight Gooden.
It happened Wednesday at New York, where the 25-year-old Rowdon began a 5-for-5 performance with two hits off Gooden as the Reds pounded the Met ace and three successors for 17 hits, an 11-1 victory and a sweep of the three-game series.
The best time to face the 22-year-old Gooden apparently is in the daylight, when the right-hander isn't as effective as he is at night. Six of Gooden's eight losses in the past two seasons have been in day games.
This time, Gooden departed after four innings, having given up seven hits and five runs. It was his fourth loss of the season, equaling his total of last season, when he was 24-4. Gooden has won 10 games so far this year.
"I had no rhythm," said Gooden, who has not been the dominating force he was a year ago. "I had no curveball or fastball today, either. I had nothing. A game like this you have to forget."
Not Rowdon, the 25-year-old utility infielder who learned shortly before the game that he would be in the lineup for the flu-ridden Buddy Bell.
"I didn't know what to expect facing Gooden, but he threw me some good pitches to hit," said Rowdon, who, with a double and four singles, scored two runs and drove in three.
In four minor league seasons, Rowdon proved to be a good fielder who hit with power, but he never batted above .289. Near the end of the previous two seasons, the Reds used him sparingly. Until Wednesday, he had appeared in 18 games this season, batting only 31 times.
His big day raised his season's average 107 points to .333 and his career average 74 points to .308. He has batted only 52 times in the majors.
Gooden, after getting the first two Red batters, gave up four consecutive hits, including Rowdon's double. An error and a wild pitch followed to give the Reds four runs.
In the third, Rowdon singled in another run, but he also helped Gooden get out of the inning when he was doubled off second base on a fly to left field.
Atlanta 7, Philadelphia 3--On the day that Dale Murphy's consecutive-game playing streak ended at Philadelphia, the Braves found a pitcher who could both hit and pitch, and they ended a five-game slump.
Doyle Alexander, recently acquired from Toronto, batted for the first time in nearly five years. He had two singles that helped set up runs and also held the Phillies to two runs in seven innings, walking none and striking out six in winning his debut as a Brave.
Unaccustomed to base-running, Alexander developed a cramp in his left leg and had to leave after starting to warm up for the eighth inning.
Ken Griffey, another Brave who was recently brought back to the National League, had a triple and single to extend his hitting streak to 19 games. He had hit in nine in a row when the New York Yankees traded him and has hit in all 10 with the Braves.
Chicago 4, San Francisco 3--The Cubs executed a triple play in the fifth inning at San Francisco and won in the 10th when Terry Francona hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.
The Giants had runners on first and third in the fifth inning of a scoreless game when Cub pitcher Ed Lynch snared Mike Aldrete's line drive and doubled Chili Davis off third. Third baseman Davey Lopes threw to first base to complete what was a comparatively easy triple play, since the Giants' Chris Brown was running from first on the pitch.
Davis sent the game into the 10th with his ninth homer of the season, leading off the ninth.
Montreal 2, Houston 1--While former high school teammate Dwight Gooden is having his problems, Floyd Youmans is in the ascendancy. In this game at Montreal, Youmans pitched a two-hitter, struck out 11 and won his fifth in a row.
It was only the second complete game in 17 starts for Youmans. Andre Dawson homered in the first to get Youmans off to a good start.
Pittsburgh 6, San Diego 4--Joe Orsulak hit a home run and scored three runs, and Johnny Ray also homered to give the Pirates a 5-1 record this season at San Diego.