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Reliever Davis Keeps Padres Burning, 4-3

July 22, 1987|BILL PLASCHKE | Times Staff Writer

When Mark Davis joined the San Diego Padres on July 5, he told Manager Larry Bowa the same thing just-traded relief pitchers always tell their new managers.

"I want to pitch," he said.

One problem. Davis had no idea what lay inside Larry Bowa's bullpen. Davis had no idea what he was saying.

Thirteen games later, on Tuesday night, Bowa shrugged and smiled.

"Hey, the guy told me . . . "

Davis pitched Tuesday for the fourth straight game. For the fifth time in six games. For the 10th time in those 13 games.

He allowed just one hit and struck out four in 2 innings as the Padres defeated the Cubs for the second straight night, 4-3.

Davis was the winner Tuesday night. He got the save Monday night (7-4 Padres victory), and he's on a roll of 11 shutout innings, allowing just three hits with 13 strikeouts.

Bowa said: "I don't know where it's coming from."

Tuesday night's starter Ed Whitson said: "The boy has got a rubber arm. I used to have a rubber arm. But I just can't do it like that no more."

Davis said: "I am happy to take the ball. I've pitched five days in a row before, I've pitched quite a bit . . . not this much . . . but really, I feel good."

Davis figured he might pitch again Tuesday when Bowa approached him in the dugout in the first inning and asked, as he as asked for 13 straight games, "How do you feel?"

"I feel fine," said the former San Francisco Giant.

"Well," Bowa said, " You wanted to pitch."

"About then," recalled Davis, "I figured I might get in."

He was the perfect ending to a perfect Padre seventh inning rally. Trailing 3-2 after Jody Davis' two-run homer off Whitson in the top of the seventh, they came back with two runs on a Tim Flannery RBI, a poor Cub throw, and bad Cub judgment.

"We've been beaten on by them all year," said Bowa of his club's 3-8 record against Chicago. "I'll take all of it."

Shane Mack led off the seventh with a grounder that shortstop Luis Quinones threw in the dirt for an error. Garry Templeton then lined a ball to center that should have been a single, but both center fielder Dave Martinez and left fielder Jerry Mumphrey dived for it. It fell between them for an RBI triple. One out later, Flannery hit Jamie Moyer for a game-winning double.

All of which overshadowed the fact that the Andre Dawson issue was in the shadows. Security closed down the right field section nearest Dawson, who was severely hassled Monday night. They surrounded the right-center field sections with yellow-jacketed security personnel, including three who spent the game facing the crowd, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, blocking the path of any debris. They even removed a right-field banner that read, "Rain or Snow, Eric Show best not show, (signed) Andre's Army."

The Padres quickly made people forget all of it by scoring the game's first two runs. In the third, after going down six straight against Cubs lefty Moyer, Garry Templeton led off with a grounder just out of everyone's reach up the middle. He was on first momentarily, when Moyer balked him to second, with a worried Moyer perhaps remembering that despite his 9-6 overall record, he has allowed the Padres 11 runs in 7 innings this season.

Then it got worse. Moyer walked rare starter Bruce Bochy. That brought up Padres pitcher Whitson, who bunted the runners to second and third, and that brought up trouble.

Stanley Jefferson grounded a ball to first to score Templeton, and Jefferson was safe when rookie first baseman Rafael Palmiero tried to throw home and was late. Tony Gwynn's fly ball to left then scored Bochy.

Whitson, trying to break out of a funk that has not allowed him to go more than six innings in his last four starts, thought he'd done it. He allowed one run on five hits through six innings, including working out of a massive fifth-inning headache.

But with two out in the seventh, with a kick and a slam-dunk of the resin bag, it ended. After retiring the inning's first two hitters on grounders to second base, Whitson allowed a two-strike, bloop single to center field to Luis Quinones.

One pitch later to Jody Davis, and the Cubs led. He took a fastball and put it just inside the left-field foul pole for his 12th homer, his third career homer in four career hits against Whitson. It was Whitson's second home run given up--Jerry Mumphrey homered to lead off the fifth to close the Padres lead to 2-1. This is after Whitson had given up just five in his previous 56 innings. He has allowed 23 homers in 124 innings.

All of this came just two innings after one of Whitson's best innings this season, which began when he allowed three straight hits and a run.

First up that inning was Mumphrey, a 34-year-old who has found yet another life this season. He improved on his .455 lifetime average against Whitson with a first-pitch homer several rows up in right field. A displaced Cub fan reached the ball first, and threw it back to the field, per Wrigley Field tradition. Right-fielder Tony Gwynn looked up and glared, while Whitson, who watched the ball roll to his feet, threw it off the field.

Two pitches later, Keith Moreland singled down the left-field line, beyond a diving third baseman Chris Brown. Four pitches later, Quinones singled into the right-field corner, his first hit since being recalled from Triple-A last week. Runners were on first and third, and a horde of Padres swarmed around him on the mound. Keith Comstock was up in the bullpen, and Whitson was in big trouble.

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