Ferguson was a hero on offense the very next day, his two-run homer in the sixth inning enabling the Dodgers to reverse the 3-2 score in their favor. It was a prototypical Southern California day—warm and windless with only a suggestion of smaze in the air. Dodger Stadium, encircled by tall palms, its pastel shades glistening in the sun, seemed more like a beach resort than a ball park. The place has an ambience peculiarly its own and baseball is not always a part of it. Frisbee throwing may, in fact, be the stadium's No. 1 sport. Perhaps half a dozen of the discs were sailed onto the field in this game alone.
A nonparticipant who contributed to the unathletic atmosphere was this year's Miss California, Lucianne Buchanan, who is the tall, tanned blonde goddess everyone expects Miss Californias to be. Miss Buchanan is scarcely an impartial observer since she has been Finley's guest at all the A's playoff and Series games.
Lucianne had little to cheer about on Sunday as first Don Sutton and then, inevitably, Mike Marshall, throttled the A's in a game flavored with some astonishing defensive plays. The Dodgers scored a run in the second off A's starter Vida Blue on a walk to Cey, a bloop single to right by Bill Russell and a more legitimate hit by Yeager that sent Cey home. Then in the sixth Garvey beat out a hit up the middle that Campaneris nearly took away from him with a brilliant backhand stop. Ferguson followed with the game-winning homer, a line drive that easily cleared the center-field fence 395 feet away. When he returned to his position after the inning, the Frisbee throwers in the right-field pavilion rose to salute him.
Three runs seemed quite sufficient, for Sutton was having little difficulty with the futile A's. Up to the eighth inning he had held them to two hits, a third-inning double by Campaneris and a seventh-inning single by Jackson, and he had struck out eight. But with one out in the eighth, A's pinch hitters Jim Holt and Claudell Washington hit back-to-back singles and Campaneris reached first when Russell misplayed his routine ground ball. Three runs did not seem sufficient with one out, the bases loaded, the swift North at bat and an infield that had been anything but reliable.
North hit a sharp bouncer near second base that Russell fielded cleanly enough. He stepped on second for one out and threw to first, hoping for the double play. But the ball bounced in the dirt several feet in front of Garvey. At 5'10" Garvey is short for a first baseman and his infielders, most of whom are not celebrated for their accuracy, have fallen into the habit of throwing low to him, often too low. "I've probably had 30 to 35 pickups this year," he said. And this was another one. With a sweeping gesture he took two runs away from the A's, retired the side and saved his shortstop untold embarrassment.
"It was the key play of the game," Bando said afterward. "If he doesn't catch that ball, we have two runs and a man on second."
Bando himself was hit by the first pitch of the ninth inning. He went to third when Jackson, checking his swing, grounded a double to the left-field corner. Sutton, shutout or no, was taken out by Manager Walter Alston and replaced by Marshall, the professorial reliever from Michigan State.
Marshall's grand moment would not come immediately. Rudi, the first batter he faced, lined a single to center field that scored both Bando and Jackson. Then, after Gene Tenace struck out, Dark sent pinch-running specialist Herb Washington in to run for Rudi. Washington's arrival in a game is not always applauded by those he replaces. During the playoffs, Tenace expressed his resentment at being removed in favor of the sprinter by bouncing his batting helmet off the dugout floor and onto the field. But Rudi is a gentler sort.
"I had just said to [First Base Coach Jerry] Adair, 'Why don't they run Herb for me,' " Rudi said after the game. "And then when he came out, I said to Garvey, 'I guess this is mental telepathy.' "