Pete Rose didn't play tonight, but he's going to break Ty Cobb's all-time major-league hit record here Tuesday night.

That's just in case anybody wants to plan his evening. Rose likes to be obliging, so it'll be Tuesday, he says.

"Yeah, I think I'm gonna get a couple of hits tomorrow night," Rose said after his Cincinnati Reds had beaten the San Diego Padres, 2-1, tonight on Dave Concepcion's two-out, ninth-inning single off Goose Gossage. "I'm not going to try to get another full house Wednesday night."

Rose expects to get his hit off right-hander LaMarr Hoyt, who, as he points out, "never walks anybody, always gives you pitches to hit . . . He's a gamer, a tough pitcher . . . But you can be aggressive against him . . .

"I'll be about 6-foot-6 tomorrow night," joked Rose, who used three pinch hitters tonight, but didn't use himself because the situation wasn't right. "You won't witness too many nights in the ballpark that will have the atmosphere we'll have here tomorrow night from batting practice on. I think it's going to be tremendous."

As to the possibility that something might spoil his near-perfect staging for his 4,192nd hit, Rose noted with a shrug, "Things always turn out right for me."

This evening, as right-hander Andy McGaffigan worked eight innings of four-hit ball against left-hander Dave Dravecky, Rose finally began to get the sense of his impending meeting with baseball history.

"It started up tonight," he said. "I was sitting in the dugout, not even moving, and I was pouring sweat. I said to (coach) George Scherger, 'It's really hot in here, isn't it.' He said, 'Not really.'

"Every time the crowd (of 29,289) started chanting my name, I got hotter and got up to get a drink. By the seventh inning, I was bloated."

The Padres scored in the fifth on Bruce Bochy's single and Kevin McReynolds' double to left. The Reds evened matters in the sixth on Gary Redus' walk, two stolen bases and a bloop to right over a drawn-in infield by slumping Buddy Bell.

In the ninth, Dave Parker opened with a single, took second on a sacrifice bunt by Eric Davis. Then, with two out, Parker scored as Concepcion's grounder up the middle on a 2-2 pitch scooted past Gossage to give the Reds a two-game edge over San Diego in the fight for second place in the NL West.

If Concepcion's hit had stayed in the infield, putting men at the corners, Rose said he probably would have pinch-hit, "but we'll never know."

In a casual aside tonight, Rose gave a clue to his uniqueness. Asked why he rubbed alcohol on his bats, he said, "So that, after a foul ball, I can see exactly where I hit it. If it's too close to the label, I know the guy's faster than he looked from the on-deck circle. If it's too far toward the end, I've overestimated him. If it's on the meat, I know all I have to do is get more on top of the ball.

"I make hand adjustments on the bat several times in any game."

So simple. Of course, none of the other 650 players in baseball do it.

But then they don't have 4,191 hits.

With one more to go.