04/15/2002 01:06 am ET
Lawrence lighting up zeroes
Padres starter piles up the scoreless innings
By Sandy Burgin / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Neither the Los Angeles Dodgers nor
ESPN could slow down Brian Lawrence Sunday night.
The Padres' 25-year-old right-hander threw seven shutout innings, extending his
consecutive scoreless-innings streak to 16, as he pitched the San Diego Padres to
a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday night in a nationally
televised game at Qualcomm Stadium.
Lawrence improved to 2-0 with the help of D'Angelo Jimenez's two-out, two-strike
single off Hideo Nomo that brought home Deivi Cruz with the only run of the game
in the bottom of the seventh.
Relievers Jeremy Fikac and Alan Embree held the Dodgers in check in the eighth
and Trevor Hoffman came on in the ninth to get his fifth save of the year and
his 319th career save, moving into eighth place all alone on the all-time saves
list, passing Rick Aguilera.
The final score belied the 2 hour and 46 minute game. ESPN TV games add 30
extra seconds between each half-inning for ads. Then there is Dodger pitcher
Hideo Nomo and his very slow delivery and his slow pitching pace, to say nothing
of the 114 pitches he threw, 62 strikes and 52 balls.
Lawrence, who allowed just four hits, walked one and struck out one, on the
other hand is a very fast worker. As Padres manager Bruce Bochy noted, "He's
always worked quick, that's his style, he takes the ball and goes. And guys like
playing behind him because of that. It also keeps him in a rhythm. He had to
fight that with the extra time between innings."
"Brian definitely set the tone throwing up a lot of zeros like he has," said
Hoffman. "Working fast and getting quick outs."
"The only time the extra TV time effected me was in the first inning," Lawrence
said. " I jumped up like I normally do and run out there (to the mound) and get
my pitches in and I'm ready to go. Then I realize this is an ESPN game and I've got
to stand around a little bit.
"But after the third out in the first inning, I just kind of took my time a
little more when I went out there. But I went through the same routine that I
normally do and it worked out fine."
Lawrence noted that because he is a fast worker, the Padres players aren't back
on their heels when they are in the field.
With Lawrence, who threw 82 pitches, 60 for strikes, the players are anticipating
him throwing a strike and keeping the ball in play.
That was certainly evident in the Dodgers' fifth inning. Lawrence, who had a
no-hitter through four innings, gave up back-to-back singles to Shawn Green and
Brian Jordan. He misplayed a tapper by Eric Karros, throwing late to
second base and L.A. had the bases loaded an no one out.
"You really can't make an adjustment," said Lawrence. "You have to stay with
your best pitch, which is my sinker, and hope that they're not going to get a hit
and hit a fly ball in that situation. I wanted the ground ball and that's what I
Adrian Beltre hit a grounder to third baseman Sean Burroughs, who threw home for
a force out. Lawrence got Jeff Reboulet to hit a comebacker to him, which he
threw home for another force. And finally Lawrence got Nomo to hit his first
pitch on the ground to shortstop for the final out.
"That inning changed the momentum and took some of the wind out of their sails,"
"Lawrence is just throwing strikes, he's pumping strikes on both sides of the
plate, he's making them hit the ball, he's not beating himself," said Bochy. "And he's got good stuff. He's got good movement on his fastball
and has a good slider. He's able to keep the ball out of the middle of the
"That's two games in a row where he was outstanding," Bochy said. "Our
bullpen stepped up. We executed, got a bunt down (a sacrifice by Tom Lampkin),
got a two out two-strike hit by Jimenez. It was a good crisp game for
Cruz, who drove in the game-winning run on Wednesday and Saturday nights, opened
the seventh with a single to center. Lampkin dropped down a perfect bunt moving
Cruz to second.
Nomo got Mark Sweeney, hitting for Lawrence, to fly out to left and then got the
first two strikes on Cruz. But the Dodgers right-hander came in with a fast ball
down the middle and Jimenez sent it up the middle and the Padres had their 1-0
lead and Lawrence was the very deserving pitcher of record.
Lawrence won his first major league start against the Dodgers on June 12, 2001,
allowing two runs on four hits in seven innings. He has worked at least seven
innings now in each of his four starts and is 2-2 overall against the Dodgers.
With the win, the Padres evened their record at 6-6, same as the Dodgers with
the NL West leading San Francisco Giants (9-3) coming to town Monday night.
Upon Further Review
The victory marked the 500th for the Padres since GM Kevin Towers took the helm
in November 1995. ... The last 1-0 victory for the Padres came in another Brian
Lawrence start, a 13-inning decision over Arizona Sept. 2, 2001 at Qualcomm
Stadium. Lawrence had worked eight scoreless innings before Ryan Klesko hit the
game-winning home run in the 1ths inning off Byung-Hyun Kim. ... Lawrence, who
picked up a hit in each of his first two starts, earned a walk off Nomo in the
fifth. ... D'Angelo Jimenez, who drove in the game-winning run in the seventh
inning, has now reached base safely via a hit or a walk in 11 of 12 games this
season for the Padres. ... Phil Nevin, who has also done that, has a six-game
hitting streak. ... The Padres stole a season-high three bases Sunday after
stealing just one base in their first 11 games combined. Mark Kotsay and Nevin
pulled off a double-steal against Nomo in the sixth and Jimenez stole swiped
second off Jesse Orosco in the seventh. ... The Padres have played five straight
games without an error.
Bon Mots de Bochy
"It's nice to turn things around after that road trip (1-5)," said Padres
manager Bruce Bochy. "We've had a good homestand (5-1) so far, but we have the
Giants coming into town and we've had trouble with them. We need to play the
kind of ball we're playing to beat them. This is something we can build on."
Bochy watched very intently the TV replays of Barry Bonds pulling up lame with
his right hamstring. Bonds hit 11 home runs off the Padres last year, had one
earlier this season and has 64 career homers off San Diego pitching.
Sandy Burgin covers the Padres for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the
approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.