The twouble with wabbits, as Elmer Fudd might say, is that you can't twust them. They were all over the place in Los Angeles and St. Louis last week, and they turned every game of the National League Championship Series into a hare-raising episode out of Looney Tunes. Everyone was running, but nothing was running to form. How do you explain a tarpaulin that swallowed up Cardinal Vince Coleman? To top it all off, Ozzie Smith chose the ninth inning of the fifth game to hit the first lefthanded homer of his major league career. It gave St. Louis a 3-2 victory and a 3-2 lead in games, heading back to L.A.
It was a week of speed on the base-paths and sloth on the clock. Hearts raced at the sight of Liz Taylor in Dodger Stadium, and pulses slowed as pitchers kept throwing over to first.
As predicted, the first game was decided by speed and bad defense. This time, though, L.A. had the bunnies and St. Louis had the boots. With no score in the fourth, Dodger third baseman Bill Madlock reached on an error. Madlock promptly stole second off pitcher John Tudor and raced home on Pedro Guerrero's looping single to right. Manager Tommy Lasorda kept up the attack by giving Guerrero a steal sign for the first time since June, and he slid in safely.
Los Angeles and Fernando Valenzuela took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth when the unthinkable happened. With one out, Madlock hit a sharp grounder into the hole at short. Shortstop Ozzie Smith darted over and tried to backhand it. On AstroTurf, the Wizard makes this play "99 times out of a hundred," said manager Whitey Herzog. But here the ball kicked up, hit him on the wrist and dribbled into left. Madlock was charitably credited with a double.
The Cards came apart after that. Following an intentional walk to Guerrero and a flyout, catcher Mike Scioscia lined a single, scoring Madlock and sending Guerrero to third. Tudor, unbeaten in 11 decisions since losing 3-0 to Valenzuela July 20, seemed vulnerable again.
Up to the plate stepped Candy Maldonado, a native of Puerto Rico. "�Toc�!" Lasorda yelled from the dugout in his best Norristown, Pa. espa�ol. "I figured Tudor and [catcher Darrell] Porter don't understand Spanish," he explained later. Maldonado laid down a hard bunt toward third baseman Terry Pendleton, who snatched it up and saw Guerrero going home. Instinctively, he threw to the plate. Clunk. Pendleton's throw hit Tudor on the right elbow. That gave the Dodgers a 3-0 lead, and they went on to win 4-1.
The second game provided another fascinating pitching matchup, this one between the Dodgers' engaging Orel Hershiser (19-3) and the Cards' disengaging Joaquin Andujar (21-12). In the top of the first Coleman lined Hershiser's second pitch up the middle for a single. A compelling little drama ensued. Hershiser made nine throws to first and threw a pitchout that caused Coleman to abort a takeoff. The moment arrived. Coleman ran. And Scioscia threw him out, thanks to a neat tag by shortstop Mariano Duncan, who was badly spiked on the left knee.
Willie McGee then reached base on an error by Duncan. McGee took off on a hit-and-run play, but the Dodgers pitched out and caught him dead to rights between first and second. Tommy Herr followed with a double that might have scored two runs. Instead, it was wasted. For Hershiser, the worst was over; St. Louis would scratch out two runs off him, but never solve his hard sinker.
At 27, Hershiser looks like a college undergrad. Pleasant, patient, a delight for reporters, Hershiser is the temperamental opposite of Andujar, who is mad as a March hare. Andujar undid himself in the third. Steve Sax had singled with one out, and Andujar tried to pick him off even though the Dodgers just wanted to sacrifice him over. His throw was wild and Sax went all the way to third. Hershiser tried twice to bunt Sax home, but with the count 0 and 2, Andujar threw Hershiser a hittable fastball, and he bounced a single over the drawn-in Pendleton for an RBI. One out later, Ken Landreaux doubled Hershiser home, and Madlock singled in Landreaux to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
Andujar further disgraced himself by knocking down two batters and bunting into a double play. He was finally removed with one out in the fifth, charged with six earned runs, two of which scored on Greg Brock's fourth-inning homer. The Dodgers won 8-2.