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Lemon explained that he merely wanted to "shake things up and get something going," but there were darker hints that the heavy hand of owner George Steinbrenner may have taken hold of the lineup card. Steinbrenner was predictably enraged after the Yankees' narrow loss of the previous evening, and when he's in that humor, the bodies fall. Mumphrey hadn't had a hit since the first game and had gone 0-for-5 in the third game. His absence may, however, have cost the Yankees the game, because in the decisive seventh inning, one of his replacements, Bobby Brown, failed to reach a sinking Monday liner that went for a double and put the eventual winning runs on second and third. "I can't say I would've caught that ball," said Mumphrey charitably. There were others who were less charitable.
Another absentee was Gossage. A no-outs, bases-loaded situation in the seventh seemed to cry out for him. Instead, John came in, and the two winning runs scored on a sacrifice fly by Pinch Hitter Yeager and Lopes' infield hit between John and Rodriguez. Here again Nettles' absence may have been a factor. To inquiries on his pitching strategy, Lemon testily responded, "The score was tied. Suppose we use him and nobody scores for five or six innings. Where are we then?" "It was just the way the game went," said Goose. Then he shrugged. "Hell, in a game like that I can't even remember what did happen out there."
In the press interview room after the game, Johnstone, the jester, raced down the aisle and tackled Garvey as he stood on the dais. "As you can see, I'm used to this," said Garvey, unruffled by the intrusion. "He'll be back in The Home in two hours." The comebacking Dodgers were driving more conventional sorts than Johnstone back to The Home these unpredictable days.
The Dodgers, as defined by Reuss, are battlers who "don't know when they've had enough." They have made a religion of their pertinacity, seeming to be at their strongest when the lights are about to go out. They came home down by two games to the Yankees; they would return to New York leading 3-2 in games after consecutive one-run, come-from-behind wins. No one said it would be easy.
It certainly wasn't in this game. After giving up two hits in the first two innings, Guidry began machine-gunning Dodger batsmen with his fastball and slider. He was staked to the only run he seemed to need in the second when Jackson led off with a whistling double down the left-field line. He took third when Lopes muffed Watson's grounder and scored when Lou Piniella singled to left. Thereafter, Guidry settled into a frightening groove. He struck out the side in the fourth, and when he fanned a frustrated Dusty Baker leading off the seventh, he had nine strikeouts for the game.
His lead was nearly lengthened in the fourth when Lopes first hobbled Piniella's grounder and then tossed the ball into the Yankee dugout for two errors on the same play. Reuss, pitching nearly as well as Guidry, was eventually confronted with a bases-loaded, one-out situation, which he deftly pitched himself out of, mainly by inducing Guidry to bunt into a force at home.
Had the Dodgers had enough? Surely, you jest. After Baker's whiff in the seventh, first Guerrero, then Yeager lined homers into the leftfield pavilion, leaving Guidry nonplussed and the paper-tossing Dodger fans giddy. Lasorda and his hitting coach, Manny Mota, had advised both batters to swing softer and stand farther back in the batter's box, the better to get a longer view of Guidry's pellets. Guerrero dutifully listened to these instructions. Yeager, who had barely missed hitting a homer in the second inning, hadn't the slightest idea what Lasorda was talking about. "I didn't hear him tell me anything," he said later. "I was too excited."
Now it was Reuss's turn. He retired 12 of the final 13 Yankees, firing fastballs at them in defiance of scouting reports that recommended breaking stuff. Reuss had tried that approach in Yankee Stadium in the first game of the Series and had given up five hits and four runs in 2⅓ innings. "Oh, we went over the Yankees in detail," he said, smiling ironically. "But I finally decided to pitch my kind of ball game. I decided that if I was going to win, I was going to win with what's made me successful—and that's the fastball."
The only scare the Dodgers had in the final two innings of their 2-1 victory came in the eighth—and it had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. With two outs and a count of one strike, Gossage, who had entered the game in that inning, fired one of his dreaded fast-balls high and inside to Cey. It was too high and too far inside, striking Cey on the left side of his helmet. He dropped on the spot and rolled onto his back. He was helped off the field and taken to the Dodgers' training room, where his wife, Fran, was rushed in to see him. "I thought you were dead," she said. "I'm O.K.," said Cey. And he was. And so, at least for the moment, were the Dodgers, come-from-behind kids who were now ahead.