SAN DIEGO — What's this world coming to? Steve Garvey was booed here Friday night.
Garvey committed a two-run fielding error in the fourth inning, propelling the St. Louis Cardinals past the Padres, 4-2. It didn't help that the Garv is 1 for 18 and 8 for 64. A crowd of 21,730 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium booed loudly.
"Ahhh, it wasn't that bad," Garvey said. "I've been booed before--a lot worse in Dodger Stadium. Boos don't bother me. It's the losses and non-hits I care about."
A baseball purist wouldn't have cared for the Padre performance. There was an assortment of bobbles--one by second baseman Tim Flannery and one by shortstop Garry Templeton--both of which ruined potential double plays and led to St. Louis runs. And then there was the Garv. Hours before the game, he said he'd had batting slumps like this with the Dodgers, although his recent 0-for-28 streak might have been a personal record.
"I had a 3-for-50-something one time," Garvey said after batting practice. "And I've been 2 or 3 for 30 a couple of times. But it's just been a struggle. But not because of a lack of effort or lack of adjustments. And you've got to give some credit to the pitchers.
"Maintaining your sanity and perspective is important. And you've got to do the other things--in the field and moving the runners. Obviously, getting hits is the most glamorous thing. This (slump) is agonizing, but I know this, too, shall pass and I'll help the team again. The main thing is wearing the right type of shoes or batting gloves, the ones with hits in them."
This was before the game.
He went 0 for 4. He led off the ninth with his team trailing by two, and he swung at the first pitch, grounding weakly to third.
Padre Manager Steve Boros, who has seen enough, will rest Garvey today. Garvey has always said his contract calls for a 162-game season, but this year might be a 161-game season. Boros said he might not even use the Garv to pinch-hit or for defensive purposes in the later innings.
Funny, but before the game Garvey was asked if he'd ever seek out Boros and tell him, "I need a day off."
His response: "Only if I thought this slump was affecting my total game, if I wasn't doing well defensively or offensively."
And then he made the error.
It came with runners on second and third and the score tied, 1-1. Ozzie Smith smashed one down to first and Garvey bent over, his leg down to protect the ball from going through.
But it did roll by, and Terry Pendleton and Vince Coleman scored.
"It had pretty good topspin on it, and the ball kicked up," Garvey said.
He will be cranky on the bench today. He wants to play.
"My philosophy has always been you can't work your way out of it sitting and watching," Garvey said. ". . . It simply has to transpire."
Boros--explaining why he'll rest Garvey--said: "It's the slump. He'll have three days off starting Monday (with the All-Star break). . . . Maybe it'll give him a chance to think and sort things out."
St. Louis reliever Todd Worrell saved Friday's game, literally. In the eighth, starter Danny Cox walked pinch-hitter John Kruk and gave up a single to Tony Gwynn. Manager Whitey Herzog called for Worrell.
There was one out.
He struck out Kevin McReynolds on a breaking ball.
And Graig Nettles whiffed on a fastball.
The Padres had only five hits. McReynolds, who struggled again after Thursday's game-winning home run, may be benched today, too.
"I guess it's been a characteristic of this club for a few years now," Boros said. "Apparently, we don't blow people out of the water; we're not an offensive machine."
The Padres had been playing a lot of "selfish" baseball, according to General Manager Jack McKeon, but there was nothing self-centered about their first inning Friday. Leadoff man Marvell Wynne reached first on second baseman Jose Oquendo's fielding error. With one out, Wynne stole second and ran all the way to third on the catcher Mike LaValliere's throwing error.
Next was McReynolds, and McKeon has been complaining for weeks that not enough players hit groundouts to score a run. But McReynolds did. His chopper to second got Wynne in. It was 1-0.
Then came that fateful fourth. Padre starter Andy Hawkins walked LaValliere, which was followed by a Terry Pendleton single. Oquendo's flyout got LaValliere to third and when pitcher Danny Cox walked (he bunted a suicide squeeze attempt foul), the bases were loaded for speedy Vince Coleman.
He grounded to second. Here came one of those bobbles. Flannery might have been able to start a double play (Coleman has grounded into only four this year), but it bounced out of Flannery's glove. He managed to get a force at second, but the run scored.
Coleman then stole second, his 57th of the year. Ozzie Smith then hit that grounder to Garvey.
The Cardinals made it 4-1 with a run off Hawkins in the fifth on Pendleton's sacrifice fly, but the Padres made it 4-2 when Terry Kennedy doubled, was singled to third by Flannery and scored on pinch-hitter Dane Iorg's sacrifice fly.