ST. LOUIS — First, Mariano Duncan lost his wallet, which cost him his driver's license, credit cards, and nearly $3,100 in cash and money orders.
Then the Dodger shortstop lost control of his bat, which nearly cost Manager Tom Lasorda his head.
Lasorda, however, was watching and ducked behind the dugout steps just in time Sunday afternoon, as Duncan's bat flew overhead and into a camera well.
A close call for Lasorda, not so close for the St. Louis Cardinals, whose own inattentiveness cost them dearly in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers before a crowd of 34,234 in Busch Stadium, watching the last meeting this season between 1985's division champions.
"The highlight of my day," Mike Marshall said, still chuckling about the incident that reduced the Dodger dugout to silliness in the second inning, when Duncan swung and missed and sent Lasorda diving for a foxhole.
"If he (Lasorda) didn't have the angle of the dugout steps to hide under, he was gone.
"I don't know who enjoyed it more, Doggie (Bill Madlock) or me."
Madlock, who doubled over in laughter at the sight, said the hilarity was widespread.
"Greg Brock said, 'I started to jump over to save him, then I thought,' " Madlock said with a giggle.
"Not so," Brock said, though his eyes betrayed his protest. "Hey, Doggie, are you trying to get me in trouble?"
Lasorda said he rarely ventures to the far end of the dugout.
"I walked down to change our luck or something, and all of a sudden the bat comes flying," Lasorda said. "Then later, a foul ball almost hits me. (Ed) Montague, the umpire, came over and said, 'You better put on a helmet.' "
When they weren't busy laughing, the Dodgers ran the Cardinals silly, stealing five bases--three by Duncan--and provoking two throwing errors by St. Louis catcher Mike Heath. Franklin Stubbs and Steve Sax added home runs and the Dodgers outhit the Cardinals, 14-4, to gain a split of the four-game series.
But matters appeared more serious at the outset for Dodger pitcher Rick Honeycutt, after he gave up a first-inning single to Ozzie Smith and a triple to Willie McGee.
Honeycutt, however, neatly excised the problem by picking off McGee. He didn't allow another hit until McGee's solo home run in the sixth, and then turned the game over to relievers Tom Niedenfuer and Ken Howell.
How did Honeycutt, a left-hander, pick McGee, last season's National League MVP, off third base?
"From the git-go, I felt he'd taken too big a lead," Honeycutt said. "I watched his eyes, and a lot of times he wasn't even looking at me. I looked over and he even had his head down."
Honeycutt gave no signal to Madlock, playing third. Madlock, who missed the throw when Fernando Valenzuela tried the same play in San Francisco earlier this season, said he waited until McGee dropped his head, then broke for the bag. McGee was out easily.
"Obviously, to be picked off third in that situation was a reckless move on his (McGee's) part," Honeycutt said. "He's a better player than to let something like that happen."
Plays like that speak volumes about the 1986 Cardinals, who are 23 games out of first place in the NL East after winning 101 games a year ago.
"That's just the way these two teams are playing," Madlock said, including the Dodgers among those guilty of bonehead maneuvers.
"Anybody who has watched us play this year has seen weirder things."
Niedenfuer, pitching for the third time in three days, entered in the seventh with two on and nobody out and retired the side, helped immeasurably by the failure of Cardinal pinch-hitter Mike LaValliere to bunt the runners over.
LaValliere almost succeeded on his first attempt, but Jeff Hamilton--Madlock's defensive replacement at third--took a chance and let the ball roll past him, figuring it would go foul.
It did, but for a moment, Honeycutt--who was in the clubhouse watching the play on TV--feared otherwise.
"It looked like it might stay right on the line," he said. "It was a pretty gutsy play, and it ended up being the right one."
Niedenfuer wound up striking out LaValliere, retired Terry Pendleton on a foul pop, and after walking pinch-hitter Curt Ford to load the bases, got Vince Coleman to fly out.
"Buff came in and did a super job," Honeycutt said. "As far as I'm concerned, he got the save. He pitched a heck of an inning."
The save actually went to Howell, who set down the last six Cardinals in order for his seventh save.
Howell also had a rare chance to do some damage with his bat, coming to the plate with the bases loaded in the ninth, with one run already in. But Howell, who is still looking for his first big-league hit after 12 at-bats, struck out.
"I walked by Franklin (Stubbs) and he said, 'Thanks for striking out,' that gives me a chance,"' Howell said. "And Franklin did it."
Stubbs, who connected for his 17th homer off Cardinal starter Tim Conroy in the sixth, drove in two more runs with a base hit up the middle off Cardinal reliever Ray Burris.