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Dodgers Shut Out, but Not Impressed

April 15, 1988|BILL PLASCHKE | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — On a day of bat-throwing by Kirk Gibson, fit-throwing by Fernando Valenzuela and word-throwing by Pedro Guerrero and Gibson, Thursday afternoon came down to this:

The Dodgers didn't think the San Diego Padres' pitchers were worth beans. The Padres, who after last season have the skin of an elephant, didn't care what the Dodgers thought.

And the unfazed Padres won, 2-0, taking two of the three games in this season's first series between two old friends who, as usual, thought they could be honest with each other.

The Dodgers, who had only six hits and struck out seven times, were nevertheless unimpressed by starter Jimmy Jones and reliever Mark Davis.

Jones allowed 5 hits in 6 innings, improving his career mark aganst the Dodgers to 4-0 with an 0.63 earned-run average.

All Davis did was protect a 1-0 lead lead in the seventh by getting Gibson on a two-out ground-out with the tying run on third. Lance McCullers came on to blank the Dodgers in the eighth and ninth, striking out four, to get his second save of the season.

Guerrero, on Jones, who retired him three times with only one ball hit out of the infield: "He didn't impress me at all. I can't believe we didn't score any runs off this guy."

Gibson, on Jones, who walked him twice and struck him out once: "We know we can beat this guy. We will beat him next time. It's not like Roger Clemens on the mound, blowing away 13 hitters."

And Gibson, on Davis, who has retired him all three times he has faced him this series: "He better enjoy it while it lasts. I'm not afraid of him. I'm going to get him next time."

Padre Manager Larry Bowa shrugged. Jones shrugged. Davis, who left the game immediately after retiring Gibson, wandered off before Gibson's words could be relayed to him.

Said Bowa: "They said that, huh? Maybe it would be good if our guys read that."

Said Jones, throwing Bowa's advice to the wind: "I don't take offense to them at all. I don't have 90-m.p.h. heat like Clemens. That's not what I'm about. We won, that's all I can say."

And besides, the Padres thought they won because of pitching. They have a left-handed middle reliever they can trust. The Dodgers, apparently, do not.

When the left-handed Davis retired Gibson, he had just entered the game, and specifically for that purpose. With the Dodgers trailing 1-0, Valenzela led off the inning against Jones with a single to left field. He moved around on a bunt by Steve Sax and Alfredo Griffin's ground-out.

With Gibson up, Bowa approached the mound, unsure of what to do with his 23-year-old starter.

Then came the question. "You know the next hitter is Gibson?" Bowa asked.

"Yeah," Jones said. "I have walked him twice."

Recalled Bowa: "Right then, I decided to take him out."

In came Davis. Gibson fell behind, 1 and 2, then fouled off a pitch, and then another, and then meekly grounded out to first baseman John Kruk.

In the fifth inning, Gibson threw his bat for the first time this season after striking out against Jones, but this time, he threw nothing.

"I was right on him, what can you do?" Gibson said.

Davis said: "That's why I'm here--to get the left-handers."

One-half inning later, the Padres scored their second run when Valenzuela loaded the bases with a walk on his 126th pitch, before walking the left-handed-hitting Kruk to force in a run.

When asked if he had to leave Valenzuela in, Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda said: "Absolutely. Who should have I brought in? (Brad) Havens?"

And so it went on a day when Valenzuela worked out of three jams, giving up just one run in the process, and that on a bad throw from catcher Mike Sciocsia to Guerrero at third base in an attempted pickoff of Tony Gwynn in the fourth inning. Gwynn scored, but then Valenzuela retired Benito Santiago and Chris Brown on ground-outs to end things.

The Padres, who hadn't beaten Valenzuela since 1985, got to him for nine hits in his eight innings. When asked if he thought he should have come out of the game before Kruk, Valenzuela, who threw 151 pitches, shrugged.

"In every inning, I think that," he said.

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