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Whitson Shuts Out San Francisco, 5-0

June 13, 1987|TOM FRIEND | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Manager Larry Bowa didn't throw any soap, but then again, the Padres played cleaner baseball Friday night. The last-place Padres defeated the first-place Giants, 5-0, and Bowa took a relatively mundane postgame shower.

Thursday night's 1-0 Padre loss prompted Bowa to throw things in the shower room, but he had Ed Whitson pitching for him Friday night. Whitson (7-6) threw a four-hitter, his first National League shutout in six years and his first National League complete game in three years. Whitson didn't allow a runner past first.

His fastball was clocked at 95 m.p.h. Friday night, and most of the Giant fly balls were blown backward by a 20 m.p.h. Candlestick Park wind. The Padres have won 16 games, and Whitson has nearly half of the victories.

"It's luck of the draw," he said. "On days I pitch, we seem to score runs. That's all I can say. I'm in a lucky spot."

Whitson's locker neighbor was Eric Show, who lost Thursday night, 1-0.

"Last night, Eric pitched just as good or better than I did," Whitson said. "What can I say?"

The Padres got to Giant starter Mike LaCoss early, scoring twice in the first inning and twice in the second. Then came a rare sight--a Padre homer--hit by Kevin Mitchell. Mitchell had looked so pathetic during batting practice that Bowa said: "What's his deal?"

But his homer--leading off the seventh inning--was a line drive that traveled 350 feet into a steady wind.

"We needed that," Bowa said.

The Padres also need Tony Gwynn, which is why Gwynn is playing. Thursday night, Gwynn had to leave the game early with what he believed to be a left knee injury. He had said there was a lot of pain behind the knee. But, later, trainer Dick Dent said what Gwynn felt was pain in his lower hamstring.

Gwynn was still limping during batting practice Friday, but played anyhow. In that first inning, he ran hard to beat out a double play (and limped); he stole second (he grimaced and limped) and he then scored with a headfirst slide after catcher Benito Santiago singled (and he limped some more).

A good question: Why play?

"Because I want to play," Gwynn said. "That's it. If they (the Padres) didn't want me to play, they wouldn't put me in the lineup. In the back of my mind, I worry about tearing it (the hamstring) and being out for the year, but I'm a gamer. Whatever happens, happens."

Eventually, Bowa lifted Gwynn for a pinch-runner in the seventh inning.

And Gwynn limped to the clubhouse.

Shortstop Garry Templeton (two hits) and second baseman Tim Flannery (three hits) each had RBIs Friday, but first baseman John Kruk continued to slump. He's 0 for his last 17 with nine strikeouts.

It's slumps such as the one Kruk's having that cause Bowa to lose his cool, and most of his tact.

Before Friday's game, he said:

"I never give up . . . but there's got to be a lot of things done to this ballclub, such as getting someone who knows how to play the game. What's sad about it is we had probably the best spring training I've ever been associated with. And, yet, we're playing like we didn't even have spring training. I wish I had a dollar for every fundamental we taught.

"They (the players) are all worried about themselves. They don't even think about playing team baseball. I mean, (John) Kruk was up with the bases loaded the other night (Thursday), and he tries hitting the ball out of the stadium and strikes out.

"Then (the Giants') Chris Speier went up with the bases loaded and tried hitting a ground ball the other way. And he did it. You've got to hope these kids turn the corner before the season's over. You got to hope Santiago has few mental lapses behind the plate; you got to hope (Stan) Jefferson wants to play. You got to hope Mitchell swings the bat the way he can. He's been a real disappointment, I think.

"This is killing me. I laid off them and let them play for a month. I made it a point for a month to control my emotions. But why lie to the people following the Padres? Why say a guy's doing all right when he's not? Why should I tell a player what he wants to hear? Tell them the truth.

"Some of these guys are lucky they have big league uniforms on. If they were anywhere but in San Diego, they wouldn't be (big leaguers). They should be grateful for this organization. Their owner (Joan Kroc) comes in and says she's behind them. Not too many owners will do that. But they're in for a rude awakening next year when they can't get a contract.

"How do I feel? I think every manager should go through a year like this, because they'll appreciate the job they have. Day after day after day of this stuff? I mean, there should be some fun in this job."

Having said all this, Bowa sat in the dugout for Friday's game, expecting more of the same. But the Padres scored all those runs and beat the Giants for the first time all year.

Asked afterward if he felt better now, Bowa said: "Do I feel better? I feel better every time we win."

Padre Notes Outfielder Marvell Wynne remained in San Diego Friday because of muscle spasms in his lower back. The Padres will decide Sunday whether to place Wynne on the disabled list. . . . Andy Hawkins, today's starter, is 0-4 lifetime in Candlestick Park.

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