The presumably damned Yankees whip the Dodgers 5-3 behind the sharp pitching of Mike Torrez and a series of big little hits. The first inning is full of Series firsts. Rivers, leading off the game, bloops a double for his first hit. Munson doubles him home, and then Jackson, playing as promised against John, singles the sick man in. Jackson takes second as Baker overruns the ball in left field for the first error by either team. Jackson scores as Piniella singles up the middle. The bad guys lead the good 3-0.
The Dodgers fall back on the long ball once more to even matters. In the third, with Smith and Garvey on base, Baker hoists one into the Dodger bullpen, once again just beyond the reach of the increasingly frustrated Piniella. But the Yankees, outhomered now 5-1, will scratch out the victory. Graig Nettles singles leading off the fourth and advances to second when Dent's hopper caroms off Cey's glove for an infield hit. Torrez sacrifices the runners along, and with the infield at double-play depth instead of in close to cut off the run, Rivers bounces to second, scoring Nettles. In the next inning Jackson walks with one out, and Piniella singles off John's glove. Had the pitcher not touched the ball, Lasorda says, it would have reached Russell for a cinch inning-ending double play. But John does touch it, and Chambliss follows with a single to right that scores Jackson with the final run. John, winner of the final playoff game and a folk hero in Los Angeles for his gallant comeback from arm surgery during the last two seasons, is removed in the sixth, a loser in his first Series game.
Torrez is huge and dark, a foreboding figure who is actually affable, particularly for a Yankee. He scatters seven hits and strikes out a season-high nine, his lone mistake being the hanging slider that Baker propelled over the fence. Torrez is a free agent, and his good humor after the game may be attributed not only to an important victory but to what it will do for his market value. Seventeen-game winners who are also World Series heroes do not come cheap.
Despite the victory, the talk in the Yankee clubhouse is of trouble. "We have controversy all the time," says Piniella agreeably. "We're used to it—although it does get sickening at times."
The protagonists are uncharacteristically diplomatic, having met earlier in the day in search of detente. The newest dispute with Jackson, says Martin, is "history." Asked if his team, like the A's of 1972-74, thrives on chaos, Martin replies, "I don't think we thrive on it. We overcome it. You settle an argument and forget it."
Jackson, protesting perhaps too much, says he is hurt by the notice given his every utterance. He spoke, he says, out of deep emotion and sadness in the Hunter matter. Perhaps he did say the wrong thing. But then, "Anything that has to do with Reggie Jackson becomes a big thing." He rolls his eyes in lamentation, a private man, he seems to say, basically a shy person, a straight shooter, certainly; maybe even a shrinking violet destined to squirm in the unwelcome limelight. "I do not think that Reggie Jackson should be the most well-known player in the game," he says. His eyes are twinkling.
The Yankees seem too happy for their own good before the game. After slamming five balls into the seats during batting practice, Jackson starts to take his lap around the bases. He stumbles, regains his balance, staggers a little, then says to hell with it. "One more block," says Nettles at the batting cage, "and you would've gone all the way." They laugh, and Jackson taps Nettles lovingly on the shoulder. Why are these men smiling?
The Dodgers, trailing in the Series, pull out all the stops.' Insult comedian Don Rickles, who inspired them to victory in the second game of the playoffs, is there to cheer them up again with vituperation. Sinatra is on hand, and so are Cary Grant, Walter Matthau, Shirley MacLaine, Milton Berle, Bob New-hart, Glen Campbell, Tony Orlando and only The Big Dodger in the Sky knows who else. Flown in specially for the occasion is Lillian Carter, mother of Jimmy. Miz Lillian, a 79-year-old righthander, throws out the first ball. "I'm a loyal Dodger fan," she says. The Dodgers have a record crowd of 55,995, the President's mother and half the Hollywood gentry behind them. It is an 81� day, and the palms beyond the outfield fences dance in the shimmering light of sun and smog. How can a Los Angeles team lose?
By starting Doug Rau is how. Lasorda picks him because he is left-handed and so is most of the Yankees' power and because Don Sutton can use another day of rest. Rau has been troubled with a sore pitching shoulder, but he tells Lasorda he is well. He is not around long enough for anyone to tell. He survives the first inning on the strength of a double play, but then in the second Jackson slices an opposite-field double. Piniella scores him with an opposite-field single to right and advances to third when Chambliss hits another opposite-field double to left. Lasorda pulls Rau in favor of Rick Rhoden. Piniella scores on an infield out, and Chambliss comes home on a single to right by the right-hand-hitting Dent. Three runs, four opposite-field hits.