Orel Hershiser continued his scoreless streak 25 years ago Thursday with a 3-0 shutout of the Braves in Atlanta. Perhaps it was a bit fortuitous for Hershiser, who was scheduled to pitch on Sunday, Sept. 4 against the Mets, but rained washed away the series finale in New York.
The Mets (80-54) held the National League's best record, while the Braves (46-88) had the worst mark. The Dodgers moved on to Atlanta for a two-game series to complete their road trip, beginning Monday night, Sept. 5.
Hershiser took advantage, though Atlanta threatened with a two-out double by Gerald Perry in the first inning. But Hershiser struck out Dale Murphy, one of four times he would fan the superstar on Monday, including once that made his pitching coach wince, per Sam McManis of the Los Angeles Times:
After striking out Dale Murphy for the third time Monday night, Hershiser looked to the Dodger dugout and smiled. Asked about it afterward, Hershiser said he was smiling at pitching Coach Ron Perranoski, who apparently was not smiling. Hershiser said he struck out Murphy with a side-armed curveball, a pitch Perranoski does not want Hershiser to throw for fear that he might hurt his arm. "He doesn't want me to end my career on one pitch," Hershiser said. "I only throw it against the great hitters when I really need an out." Said Perranoski: "I cringe every time he does that. I don't think it's healthy for him, number one. And two, it can (mess up) the mechanics on his other pitches. But he still does it. Even once is too much."
Hershiser allowed a leadoff single to Andres Thomas in the second inning but he was immediately erased by a double play.
In the third inning the Braves used a single, sacrifice bunt and a walk to put two runners on with two outs, but Perry flew out to Shelby to end the inning.
Perry was the first of 16 consecutive batters retired by Hershiser, who didn't allow another runner to reach base until the ninth inning. It was a great in-game turnaround for Hershiser, who told McManis he was overthrowing early, but then settled down:
"Now, I think I can get guys out even without my best stuff by making the right pitches and adjusting. You can have confidence in your ability and with your head. Now, I have both. In 1985, I didn't have that kind of confidence."
Jeff Blauser led off the final frame with a single and advanced to second base on a ground out by Dion James. But Blauser was stranded when Perry flew out and Murphy struck out to end the game.
The win was Hershiser's 19th of the season, matching his career high set in 1985. It was the 11th complete game and fourth shutout of the season for Hershiser, the latter two shy of Tim Leary for the team lead. Hershiser's ERA lowered to 2.73.
For Hershiser, who needed 109 pitches to beat the Braves, his streak was at 13 innings.
|Sept. 5 at Braves||9||4||0||0||1||8||0||31||.138/.167/.172|
|Streak to date||13||5||0||0||3||12||0||46||.119/.178/.143|