It was the first win of Orel Hershiser's second pitching life, and he was appropriately respectful of the moment. "If I never win another game in the big leagues, all the work was worth it," Hershiser said Sunday after career victory No. 100 came when he beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 before 34,446 at Wrigley Field.
It was his first win since April 19, 1990, eight days before he underwent reconstructive shoulder surgery and began a rigorous 13-month rehabilitation. And it produced a couple dozen souvenirs, game balls Hershiser secured to pass out to hissurgeon, Dr. Frank Jobe, therapist Pat Screnar, and family members, including father Orel III, who attended the game.
Hershiser (1-1) extended himself to 90 pitches in his third start of the season, giving up two runs on six hits in seven innings. He walked one, struck out six and was hurt only by Andre Dawson's two-run homer that put the Cubs ahead 2-0 in the second inning.
Hershiser angrily chewed on his glove after hanging the curveball Dawson slammed onto Waveland Avenue. Especially since Dawson had just chased a pitch in the dirt for strike two and Hershiser meant to throw a short one again.
"I yelled at myself, "You gotta bounce that ball,' " Hershiser said. "I'm expecting more, being hard on myself. I'm not making any excuses. If my arm was sore, you'd see me more mopey out there after something like that."
But Hershiser is being demanding because that is what he feels his health allows, even if a close watch on his pitch count and lingering fear cloud the mind of his manager, Tom Lasorda.
"I'm proud of him, I really am," Lasorda said. "To see him do good and come back is a great feeling. (But) you always have to be concerned with him. There's always that chance. I don't know what's inside his arm."
Looks like plenty, although Hershiser admittedly wasn't as sharp as he was Tuesday in St. Louis, when he threw 6 scoreless innings but had a no-decision when the bullpen lost his 1-0 lead.
"My mechanics today weren't very good," Hershiser said. "I had trouble with the mound. It was flatter than most and I felt like I was pitching uphill sometimes."
But it's all downhill for Hershiser at the plate, where he continued his hot hitting by going 2-for-3 (he's 5-for-6 on the year) and scoring two runs, including the game-tying run in the fifth on a single by Juan Samuel.
"We're going to have him work with some of the hitters," Lasorda joked.
Alfredo Griffin also scored twice, going 2-for-4. Eddie Murray, who was 2-for-19 in the first five games of the road trip, broke out with three hits and two RBI, the first runs he has driven home in 11 games. And Brett Butler had three hits and two RBI, only his second multiple-RBI game of the season. It had been seven games since the NL West-leading Dodgers (32-23) had scored more than four runs.
Cubs lefty Danny Jackson (0-2) started for the first time since April 19, when he strained his groin and went on the disabled list.
Jackson was knocked around for 11 hits and five runs in 6 2/3 innings. The Cubs scored their other run in the ninth against reliever Jay Howell, on a one-out double by Chico Walker followed by a triple from Shawn Dunston.