SAN DIEGO — Kal Daniels missed a third consecutive start for the Dodgers Wednesday because of strained muscle in his left side. But he proved there is more than one side to Kal Daniels.
In the eighth inning of a 3-3 tie with the San Diego Padres, Daniels stepped gingerly off the bench and into another Dodger highlight film with a bases-loaded, pinch-hit double down the right-field line, leading the Dodgers in a 10-3 victory before 16,706 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
"I was just down at the end of the bench, shooting the breeze, when they called me to hit," Daniels said. "I was wearing my turf shoes, and I didn't even have time to put on my cleats. I didn't have time to get loose. I was shocked."
He shrugged and added, "Then I go up there just trying to get a fly ball. I guess I got more than that, huh? Maybe it is better to be lucky then good."
Daniels' pained effort saved his teammates from another long look in the mirror, after they had blown a 3-0 lead by giving up three Padre runs in the seventh inning.
The Dodgers are looking toward Cincinnati and another weekend showdown with the National League West-leading Reds.
They have moved to within six games of the Reds, who lost to Houston, 3-1, Wednesday. But the Dodgers have 19 games left.
"It seems like every time we've played the Reds, we've had to sweep them," Daniels said. "So what else is new?"
The Dodgers' eighth inning actually had roots in the fourth, when Daniels said that coach Bill Russell asked him if he could hit. Before the game, Daniels had taken his first batting practice since Sunday.
"I told him, 'Yeah, I can hit in an emergency,' then I didn't think anything of it." said Daniels, who is batting .400 in September with five home runs and 14 runs batted in despite suffering from a muscle pull since late August.
Four innings later, after the Padres had tied the score off Dodger starter Jim Neidlinger and reliever Dave Walsh, the eighth inning began with a one-out single by Eddie Murray against reliever Atlee Hammaker. Murray, playing with a sore wrist, had already hit a homer and double and scored two runs.
After Murray took second on a balk, Hubie Brooks was intentionally walked and Mike Scioscia singled, loading the bases. With right-handed hitting Juan Samuel batting, Greg Harris, a right-hander, relieved Hammaker.
Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda considered this the perfect "emergency" and called on Daniels.
"If you were Greg Harris, which of those two batters would you rather face?" Lasorda said after citing Daniels' team-leading 24 homers with 77 RBIs.
Daniels lined a 1-and-1 pitch down the first base line, over the bag and into right-field corner for three runs.
The Dodgers added four runs in the ninth against Eric Show. Jay Howell, pitching a scoreless two innings, converted his seventh consecutive save opportunity for his 15th save, and the victory went to reliever Tim Crews, who faced two batters in the seventh.
But what big batters they were. Crews walked Jack Clark to load the bases after the Padres had scored three runs, then retired Joe Carter on a fly ball to deep center to end the rally.
Crews said he is one Dodger who is not going to visit Riverfront Stadium to watch the Reds play Houston tonight.
"Are you kidding me?" he said. "I've got to get away from the park and relax. I've been in so many situations with men on bases lately, that's why my hair is gray."
The Padres, stung by Murray's 23rd homer and RBI singles by Jose Offerman and Samuel in the first six innings, rallied with one out in the seventh. After Neidlinger had retired 12 consecutive hitters, Fred Lynn singled to center. One out later, pinch-hitter Mike Pagliarulo singled to right.
Bip Roberts singled to left for one run. Garry Templeton singled to center for another. Against Walsh, Gwynn hit a grounder that bounced off the glove of a diving Murray. It ricocheted to second baseman Samuel, who threw high as Murray raced back to the bag.
A run scored and runners advanced to second and third before Crews replaced Walsh and walked Clark. Then he retired Carter.
After the game, the Dodgers recalled four more players from triple-A Albuquerque: third baseman Dave Hansen, catcher Carlos Hernandez, pitcher John Wetteland and infielder Luis Lopez. Albuquerque defeated Edmonton, 2-0, to win the Pacific Coast League title.
The Cincinnati Reds will pitch three left-handers at the Dodgers this weekend--Tom Browning, Danny Jackson and Norm Charlton--and they probably will be the Reds' rotation for the playoffs. Even though four of the Dodgers' top five power hitters hit better against right-handers--Kal Daniels, Eddie Murray, Kirk Gibson and Mike Scioscia--the Dodgers are 27-22 against left-handed starters. The Dodgers will counter with Fernando Valenzuela, Ramon Martinez and Mike Morgan, who has only won once since pitching a two-hitter against the Reds July 30. . . . Ray Searage said he will be ready for the Reds series after pitching four strong simulated innings. Searage was activated from the disabled list Tuesday but wanted one more appearance on the side before entering a regular game. He has not pitched since Aug. 14. . . . Mike Hartley was still suffering from a sore left side after injuring it in his start here Tuesday. Hartley is not scheduled to start again until Tuesday.