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Gwynn Finds Power on Game-Winner

June 23, 1997|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Tony Gwynn was surprised when he saw the first pitch from Bruce Ruffin. Ruffin was surprised that Gwynn was so aggressive with it.

Gwynn, a seven-time NL batting champion, hit an opposite-field, three-run double with one out in the eighth inning to lift the San Diego Padres to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies and a split of their four-game series.

Gwynn didn't want to fall behind Ruffin and have to try to hit a slider, and he had a hunch where the first pitch was going to be.

"If you get a fastball, and get it up and out over the plate, just go with it," Gwynn said. "Don't try to pull it. Sure enough, there it was. More times than not, though, it doesn't happen."

It did this time, and Gwynn's hit gave the Padres their second victory in eight games.

"I really didn't expect him to be that aggressive on the first pitch," Ruffin said. "I was just trying to make sure I got ahead of him. If he hits it, I just hope he hits it at somebody. He's a great hitter."

Gwynn was still kicking himself for hitting into a double play off Mike Munoz in the exact situation in Saturday night's 9-4 loss. Earlier Sunday, Gwynn felt he should have taken an inside pitch from rookie John Thomson, but ended up with a flyout with a runner on second.

Thomson shut out the Padres on three hits through seven innings, but San Diego finally broke through in the eighth.

Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney singled and Rickey Henderson walked to open the inning and chase Thomson, who was facing the Padres for the first time.

Ruffin (0-2) relieved and Steve Finley sacrificed, and Chris Gomez walked to load the bases.

On the next pitch, Gwynn hit a one-hopper to the fence in left-center field to give San Diego a 3-2 lead.

Gwynn went two for four, raising his average to .393.

Padre starter Joey Hamilton and two relievers combined on a four-hitter. Tim Worrell (3-6) pitched a perfect eighth inning for the victory.


Next Series for Dodgers

WHO: Colorado Rockies

WHERE: Dodger Stadium

WHEN: Today: 7 p.m., Tuesday: 7 p.m., Wednesday: 7:30 p.m.

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