SAN DIEGO — Take one for the team . It's a common baseball expression, meaning: Let something unsightly happen to your body if the other guys on your side will think it's cool.
Take one for the team. Wednesday night at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, Dodger Pedro Guerrero did. Dodger Kirk Gibson did.
Padre Eric Show couldn't.
And the Dodgers once again proved they may be a team worth taking one for, as they won, 4-3, in front of a crowd of 16,838.
The Dodgers came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it in the seventh, thanks in part to Guerrero's unwillingness to get out of the way of an inside pitch by Eric Show. They then won it in the eighth on Guerrero's two-run homer after Gibson stood in front of a Show one-bounce changeup that hit him in the leg.
"I kind of thought that you have to make some effort to get out of the way," said Show, who was otherwise good as he scattered 7 hits over 7 innings. "I guess the umpires didn't think so."
Said Gibson: "Quite honestly, I wanted to be in that situation. If you're scared, go home."
Guerrero, who is hitting .346 with 2 homers, was not scared. Only surprised.
"I wasn't looking for a home run," he said. "The pitches I see now are just so big.
"I am pleased with how we are playing, but it's early. Check back in a month. A lot of things can happen."
The game ended with a ninth inning in which Padre fans may have wondered if they were taking something. Trailing 4-2, the Padres immediately put the tying runs on base with a single by Tony Gwynn and a walk to Randy Ready. Dodger pitcher Jesse Orosco was unsettled, having walked Ready on four straight balls after getting him down 0-and-2.
Up steps John Kruk, who won Tuesday's game with a grand slam. What happens? With two strikes, he bunts. The runners move to second and third with one out, but for what? Pinch-hitter Dickie Thon, about the only man left on Padre Manager Larry Bowa's bench, whose base hit might not have scored the not-so-speedy Ready anyway.
"Kruk missed a sign," Bowa said. "He wasn't supposed to be bunting with two strikes."
As it was, Bowa was taken off the second-guessers' hook when Orosco walked Thon to load the bases for Benito Santiago, putting the game right where Bowa wanted it.
Except Santiago could only manage a fly ball to center, scoring just one run. Pinch-hitter Mark Parent then struck out to give Orosco three saves in three save opportunities.
"What Santiago did didn't matter," Orosco said afterward, surprisingly calm considering he was visited by various Dodger personnel six times during that ninth inning. "On him, I thought to myself, just get a fly ball or popup or grounder. Once I got that, I went with my strength."
It would not have come to that if Show had not grown tired, or upset, or something in the eighth, which he entered with a 2-2 tie and promptly retired Steve Sax on a fly ball and Alfredo Griffin on a grounder. But then came the bouncer to Gibson, which hit him in the right leg.
An obviously frustrated Show went 3-and-0 on Guerrero before giving up the gopher, a 380-foot shot to left-center field, Guerrero's second homer of the season.
"It's nice to have somebody like Pete behind you," Gibson said. "We're going to be in a lot of games like this."
Said Show: "I don't know what happened. I don't know what I was thinking."
Said Bowa: "He was fine. He had only thrown 81 pitches, and he would have told me if he needed to come out."
Perhaps more than anything, Guerrero saved the Dodgers from an embarrassing seventh, in which John Shelby apparently would not take one for the team, and cost the Dodgers runs.
Entering the seventh, Show had allowed just two hits, including a Franklin Stubbs pinch homer that put the Dodgers on the scoreboard in the sixth. Show had struck out four and allowed just eight balls out of the infield.
But then, as easily as he was getting to them, the Dodgers got to him. Gibson started off with a single to right. Show then nicked Guerrero on the sleeve on a 2-and-2 pitch.
"Don't know where it hit him," Show said, shrugging.
Show then got Mike Marshall down 0-and-2. But, one ball later, Marshall grounded a single to left, scoring Gibson and moving Guerrero to third. It gave Marshall at least one RBI in four straight games, and made him 6 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Mike Davis hit the next pitch into right field to load the bases, still with none out. If only, for the Dodgers' sake, Marshall could have batted again.
But it was Shelby, who went 0 for 12 to start the season and 0 for 2 on this night with a strikeout and a double-play grounder.
Guess what? He hit a sharp grounder to first that a diving Kruk stabbed next to the bag. Kruk threw out Guerrero at home, throwing so hard and on line, Shelby dived out of the way.
It being nearly impossible to go to first base on your belly, and Shelby was thrown out to complete the double play.
After Mike Scioscia was walked to re-load the bases, up stepped Danny Heep, pinch-hitting for Alejandro Pena. That's Danny Heep, who was 5 for 35 (.143) as a pinch-hitter last year. Heep worked the count full, but then the law of his averages caught up with him. With all three runners running, and most of the fans hollering, Show hit the outside corner. The bat never left Heep's hands. Strikeout, end of inning.