SAN DIEGO — The Padres finally did it. They quieted Larry Bowa.
We take you to his postgame news conference, minutes after Wednesday night's 3-0 Padre loss to St. Louis.
Bowa: What are the questions? Let's get it out of the way.
Question: Was Joe Magrane (St. Louis' 22-year-old winning pitcher) as good as he looked?
Bowa: Have to ask the hitters.
Question: Anything new on Tim Flannery (who injured his ankle during batting practice)?
Bowa: He's on the DL (disabled list).
Silence for five seconds.
Bowa: Is that it?
Question: One night you score runs, and your pitchers give up a lot of runs. One night, your pitchers are good and you don't score runs. Like tonight. . . . What's going on?
Bowa: You saw the same thing I saw. Write what you saw.
What 11,937 people saw Wednesday night was Padre baseball, which is--as General Manager Jack McKeon put it--"You wonder what'll go wrong next."
This must be San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium Law, because Flannery was running down to first base during batting practice and stepped on a ball. His turned his ankle and had to be carried off. An hour later, he was on the disabled list.
McKeon, sitting all alone in his stadium box, was in a pouting mood.
"This is a tough start," he said. "Seems like things are just multiplying."
And then he said he's been on the telephone, talking trades. He has talked to Oakland, and though he wouldn't mention whom he wants, team sources said he wouldn't mind getting one of the A's young power hitters--third baseman Mark McGwire or first baseman Rob Nelson. And he's willing to give up a starting pitcher.
He also has talked to the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees. He said nothing's close, but then he was reminded the Padres weren't anywhere close to first place.
"I know," he said. "Teams are coming to us because they feel were down. Maybe something will get done."
Magrane got the job done Wednesday. He has had only three starts since coming up from Triple-A Louisville. He's 2-0.
He's a left-hander who fills a void, since left-hander John Tudor has a broken leg. The Cardinals drafted him No. 1 out of the University of Arizona, and they think he could be their best pitcher in a couple of years.
Wednesday's game was a complete game for Magrane. He gave up four hits and struck out two.
"I don't have the kind of stuff that can blow people away," Magrane said.
Whitey Herzog, asked what Magrane throws, said: "A baseball . . . No, fastball, curve, change. Yeah, he has potential to be our No. 1 guy."
Who's the Padres' No. 1 guy? It's Eric Show, but Ed Whitson (3-4) isn't far behind. Whitson gave up two runs in seven innings Wednesday. But he still made a mistake or two.
In the second inning, he gave up a two-out single to Cardinal right fielder Curt Ford, who then stole second. Mistake No. 1 came on a pitch to second baseman Jose Oquendo. With first base open, Whitson threw a pitch that was too good, and Oquendo singled in Ford.
Mistake No. 2 came on a two-out RBI single by Cardinal left fielder Vince Coleman. The count was 0 and 2, but Whitson gave up the hit.
Reliever Goose Gossage got in for the second straight night, and he gave up a run as well. The first batter he faced--Ozzie Smith in the eighth inning--doubled off the right-field wall. Right fielder Tony Gwynn jumped too soon and didn't make the catch. Later, Smith was on third and scored on Gossage's wild pitch, which bounced low and got by catcher Benito Santiago. Smith might have been out at the plate, but Gossage couldn't handle a low throw from Santiago. Gossage said the batter--Willie McGee--blocked his vision.
"If the ball (on Santiago's throw) would have been up, it probably would have hit me in the head," Gossage said. "I couldn't see it."
Gwynn actually blamed the game on himself. He said he should have thrown out both runners on Oquendo's and Coleman's RBI singles. And he said he should have caught Smith's line drive to right off Gossge.
"I haven't played a bad game in the outfield since 1984," Gwynn said. "The mistakes I made tonight were stupid mistakes. Tonight was my mess-up night."
Bowa has seen a lot of mess-up nights.
"I'm sick of answering the same questions," he said, his chin hanging down to about his knees.