Raise your hand if you saw that coming…

Maybe with more time to think and put this all in perspective, I could sum up this game. Probably not, though, so I’ll just throw out a few unbelievable things to think about.

This is a team that hadn’t erased a four-run deficit to win a single time this year. Not once. Only once had they erased a three-run deficit to win. And yet, they erased two four-run deficits in the game, one in the ninth inning.

This is a team that is last in the league in homers and they hit seven on the night. Four in an inning. Four in a row. Three on consecutive. Off the game’s best closer ever.

This was a team in a must-win game. Not a "it’d be nice if we took this game from the Padres." Players before the game were calling it must-win. And falling behind 4-0 isn’t a great way to come out the gate. But in a must-win situation, this team won in arguably the best game anyone here has ever seen. Greg Maddux just told me he’s never seen anything like it. Same with Grady Little, Dave Jauss, Derek Lowe and just about anyone you could talk to downstairs.

Mariano Duncan seemed to fire up the team in the first inning, whether he meant to or not. That almost seems like ancient history – a different game almost – but the papers tomorrow will surely be talking about bulletin board fodder. I’ll let them tell that story.

In the clubhouse, James Loney was giddy. He didn’t want to get dressed and let the night end. He could be in this game 20 years and never see anything close to what we just witnessed.

Don Hartack, our official scorer, just came over to tell me that we had 47 total bases as a team. Marlon Anderson had 13. And his teammates were giving him grief because he didn’t stop at second on his homer to complete the cycle (his fifth hit of the game). And this is a guy we got to pinch-hit for us, but Grady said he liked the idea of putting him in the game tonight. Good idea.

Four homers in a row. Hasn’t happened since 1964. Has only happened four times in Major League history.

Oh, and by the way – this all happened on the largest Monday crowd in Dodger Stadium’s history. The largest attendance for a four-game series in Dodger Stadium history.

Another person just came over to me and told me that this was more exciting than Finley’s homer. Maybe it was. How can you judge something like that? I guess for that game, all 56,000 fans were still here, hanging on every pitch. By the time Nomar did his fist-pumping around the bases, quite a few were in the parking lot or on their way home. That’ll teach them.

And finally, how about Nomar, playing tonight’s game in Gibson-esque fashion with a bad knee, a bad quad, a bad oblique…and a bad first four out of five at-bats. But when it counted most, he hit the biggest homer of the season on a night with no shortage of big homers.

It’s midnight. Time to head home. Another game to play tomorrow that’s just as big as this one.

31 comments

  1. gnorm44@yahoo.com

    Truly awesome. I am speechless. There are a lot of negative things that the team has to deal with (hitting with runners in scoring position), but hopefully this victory will push them to the division title. Great win, now don’t let us down and get swept but another awful team. Win the final 4 series of the year and you’re playing the Cards in October.

  2. elkim27@yahoo.com

    I must have chopped off my hands by accident cuz I can’t seem for the likes of me, have the integrity to raise them. I so did not see this one coming!

  3. wordbooty@gmail.com

    I still have chills. It was the most amazing game I have ever seen, let alone attended. I hate to say it but I was walking out as Kent homered in the bottom of the 9th. I told my friend “we’re staying!” and we turned around to head back to our seats.

    I’ll never forget this one!

  4. fansince53@yahoo.com

    OH MY GOD!

    Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to win the Western Division. If you don’t think that this game was the biggest game of the year, you are nuts! The momentum from this incredible victory will take us into the post season. I have been a Dodger fan since 1953 and have never seen anything like this before. This was the greatest regular season Dodger victory I have ever seen. The electricity at Dodger Stadium was surreal. The place was rocking! And the dejected looks on the Padres faces was priceless.

    How about that Marlon Anderson? Do you guys recall my post saying that he will prove to be crucial to us in the stretch run and into the post season? Well, there you have it. Next to Maddux, he is the most important acquisitions of the season. (I still haven’t figured out what the **** regfairfield was trying to say).

    Man I can’t wait to get to the ball park tomorrow night! (or should I say tonight). I am AMPED!

    GO DODGERS!

  5. knouffbrock@frontiernet.net

    GREAT JOB, 53!!! Talk about doing it the hard way, but by God, I’m gonna take it and this punk still aint over.

  6. rayloveselaine@hotmail.com

    this was the greatest dodger game ever!.. i didnt want to leave the stadium, i love it! harold u missed it buddy,

    BELIEVE IN BLUE!

  7. patriotacts425@comcast.net

    nicely said, Josh.

    This was just completely unexpected. But that goes to show the weakness of expectations – you still have to play the game.

  8. fisher928@yahoo.com

    Its one game in a 162 game season….But it was A BIG one and against our Biggest Foe!SF may be the Hated ones But I know we Own Them this year the Pads in LA are like Kryptonite to the Dodgers and we Just wrinkled there little peavy’s.Now on to Crush Pitts and AZ like we didn’t do to the cubs who helped out tonight by crushing the phils.This Blue Train is in Gear & Playoff Bound!

    GO BIG BLUE WRECKING CREW!!!!

  9. kssparkuhl@msn.com

    Well Josh… I would be lying if I said I saw this one in the works… so my hand stays at my side. In fact, I was typing my reply to many who would give the sure thumping of Aaron Sele that was about to happen in the game forum, when Nomar pulled off the miracle. I was sad for Aaron, because I didn’t think he deserved to get blasted as it would seem was going to happen at the time. So I was furiously typing as the tenth inning unfolded. I was hoping though… and it was very cool to have heard Vin Scully do his thing, like he’s done so many numerous times before. I kept looking at the screen on each pitch, and when Nomar connected, I was beside myself! I still know that Sele was going to be the whipping-boy… raise YOUR hand if you were about to pounce on him. Be honest with yourselves, and if you want the truth about who would take blame for the loss if it happened, then go ahead and read my post there. The team pulled together though and I was very happy to see Saito taken off the hook as well.

    This game was truly priceless, and I don’t think I’ll be going to bed any time soon! I’m sleepless in Boise!

  10. kssparkuhl@msn.com

    To Harold (mostly) and to others who missed Vin Scully’s calls of the Dodgers halves of the ninth and tenth innings… this is for you! Vin Scully was in rare form tonight. He always seems to rise to the occasion, and his calls become the legend and lore of baseball history. Thank goodness for TiVo!

    ******************************************

    Here’s Vin’s ninth inning call:

    “Nine to five, San Diego. As expected, Trevor Hoffman sat down, and John Atkins comes in… oh now (a sleeping infant in his fathers’ arms is shown on TV), and wish you a very pleasant good evening. Sleeping the sleep of the good child. Nothing quite like it.

    John Atkins, among other things, had the Tommy John surgery eight years ago but he’s battled his way back. He was originally drafted by Oakland out of Oklahoma State. He lives in West Virginia, and he’s 29 years old.

    So nine-five San Diego, and the Dodgers are asked to do what they did, but they’ve run out of innings. Remember, they were down by four, came back to tie, and they’re down by four again. (Atkins throws ball one to Kent… Scully continues.) Only now it’s the ninth. Jeff Kent with two doubles and a single, three for four, rising to the occasion, seven for twelve in the series.

    And a drive to center, going back is Cameron, to the track, at the wall… and gone. (On TV, a man leaving the game can be seen beyond the center field screen, stops in his tracks as the ball bounces in front of him. Priceless.)

    So Jeff Kent comes up with a home run, leading off the ninth, his fourth hit of the game. And the Dodgers are now down nine-six. That would also be the third Dodger home run, fastball, out over the plate. And it’s gone.

    So Atkins is rudly treated, two pitches, one run.

    Now, JD Drew coming up with Russell Martin on deck. John Atkins with an ERA of three, had only given up one home run in fifty-one innings. And then Jeff takes him out. So here’s Drew.

    Strike.

    JD struck out, had a fly ball, ground-rule double in the third to left field, walked intentionally, and hit into a force play, one for three.

    Bounced that one. One ball, one strike.

    One and one.

    Two and one.

    With Atkins, fastball, change-up and slider.

    And another drive to deep right-center and that is gone! Whoa, was that hit! So now it is nine-seven on home runs by Kent and Drew.

    What is that line? Do not go gentle into that good night. Well the Dodgers have decided they are not gonna go into that good night without howlin’ and kicking, and Bruce Bochy goin’ out to the mound to find out what’s goin’ on. So John Atkins is bannished in a hurry, home runs by Kent and Drew, but of course the Padres still have a two-run lead, and all of a sudden, it is Trevor time.

    So Hoffman will be making the jog in, we’ll be back.

    (Break for commercial.)

    Well it didn’t look like we’d see Trevor Hoffman, after all the Dodgers were down nine to five in the ninth inning, so he stopped throwing, and you wonder when the last time he was interrupted: in other words, usually when he warms up he comes in the game. But he warmed up, the Dodgers looked like they were blown out of the park, so they gave the ball to John Atkins, and now the Dodgers have forced the Padres to bring Trevor in. He has been absolutely magnificent against everybody, but especially the Dodgers. He is fifty-five for fifty-seven in his career. He has saved twenty four straight, and the last time Trevor Hoffman had a blown save against the Dodgers was in April, five years ago.

    And a drive into left-center by Martin, that ball is carrying, into the seats! Three straight home runs!

    High and out. For Trevor Hoffman, he had allowed only two home runs, Russell Martin’s dad is ecstatic, the Dodgers are still a buck short on home runs by Kent and Drew and Martin. And now Marlon Anderson and Julio Lugo and the pitcher spot. And the folks who hung around to ride it out are in for quite a ride. For the Dodgers, five home runs in the game tonight. First time they’ve done that this year.

    And another drive into high, right-center, at the wall, running and watching it go out, believe it or not! Four consecutive home runs! The Dodgers have tied it up again!

    (Pause, Dodger Stadium is ecstatic.)

    They’re coming back in. (laughs) The people in the parking lot have decided they’d better come back. And for Marlin Anderson, what a night! Two singles, a triple and two home runs, a five hit game, and we’re nine-nine.

    Lugo a drive, but this one is catchable. Mike Cameron.

    Can you believe this inning? In fact, can you believe this game?

    Marlon Anderson, uncoiling, a five-hit game, and ties it up. Andre Ethier coming up with one out.

    (Replays showing the fans in the right field pavillion, Anderson’s reaction running to first base, the Dodger dugout in oblivion, Bochy in disbelief of what he’s just seen.)

    Boy, there is no reason to speak when you see pictures like that. And here is Andre Ethier, and a dazed Bruce Bochy.

    Ball one.

    Four consecutive home runs in the ninth inning. Jeff Kent, JD Drew, Russell Martin, Marlon Anderson, and we’re nine-nine.

    Strike.

    (The TV camera slow-zooms in on Takashi Saito. His head is in his hands, face down, and is visibly disturbed.)

    So the Dodgers have done what figured could not be done, they were down four-nothing in the first inning and came back, but they had innings to do it. Down four in the ninth, they have come back.

    That’s a strike.

    It is an unbelievable game, and before fifty-five-thousand, eight-hundred and thirty-one, many of whom, quite a few, are out in the parking lot.

    Fouled back.

    So Penny and Tomko and Beimel and Broxton are not involved. And probably not Saito either. (TV showing Saito, wiping his neck and face off, adjusting his cap, still looking toward the ground.) And Peavy and Embry and Meredith and Linebrink and Atkins: they’re not involved. But Hoffman is.

    Bounced that. Two and two.

    If you want to break down the four home runs, Kent hit his one ball and no strikes. Drew hit his two balls and one strike. Russell Martin hit the first pitch for a home run, Marlon Anderson hit the first pitch for a home run. Two and two.

    Foul ball.

    Of course Hoffman is human, he’s not absolutely invinceable. You may remember game three of the ’98 World Series, he gave up the three-run home run to Scott Brosius and the Yankees swept. You may also remember this years’ World Series will start in the American League, because Hoffman blew the save in the All-Star game and then blew two of his next three.

    Ethier a fly ball, shallow center, Blum.

    Well here’s what makes this really memorable, only four times in Major League Baseball history have there been four consecutive home runs. (TV Stat) And look, they’re all forty years ago. The Braves, the Indians, the Twins, and tonight.

    And what a memorable game for Marlon Anderson, five for five.

    And Furcal, a high fly ball to right, Giles, at the wall. Well wouldn’t you know this was gonna go to extra innings? No I don’t think you did, not when it was nine-five, in the bottom of the ninth inning. And this crowd is beside itself with joy. You can come down off the wall now, and we’ll be back.”

    (The Padres scored a run in their half of the tenth inning and now lead the Dodgers, ten-nine.)

    ******************************************

    Here’s Vin’s tenth inning call:

    “Ten to nine in favor of San Diego. Mark Bellhorn takes over at third base and will probably bat high up… no he’ll bat ninth. And Rudy Seanez the pitcher will bat in the cleanup spot. That way, if there is an 11th inning, Bellhorn would then bat second.

    So Rudy, coming in, and he becomes the seventh San Diego pitcher. And it’s only fitting I guess, in this rather memorable game, that a former Dodger will come in, a somewhat shell-shocked Trevor Hoffman watches, and Seanez who was with the Dodgers in ’94 and ’95, that’s a long time ago, he’s had a tremendous career, he was originally signed by the Indians out of Brawly High School 20 years ago. And he is still at it.

    Kenny Lofton is still at it, he’ll lead it off. Strike.

    Kenny has a single and a double. Hitting .302. Bellhorn well in on the grass at third.

    Fastball misses. One ball and one strike.

    Gonzalez is deep and guarding the line, so the right side pretty well wide open. And that’s ball two.

    On deck Nomar Garciaparra and then Jeff Kent. Seanez will be 38 in October. Check swing, did he? Yes he did says Tim Welke, and a two and two count to Ken.

    Lofton who had to go right up against the center field wall to haul in that long out from McAnulty, now just trying to get aboard. Two and two.

    Ball three.

    (pause)

    And ball four, and the Dodgers have a rabbit as the tying run.

    Kenny Lofton has stolen 27 out of 31, and he draws the walk. Now Garciaparra. And for Bochy, more anxious moments. No lead is big enough. Not four in the first. Not five in the last two innings.

    Nomar, hit into a double play, flied to right, doubled, flied to left and struck out. So he’s one for five, hitting 303. Jeff Kent, with four hits, is on deck.

    Ball one.

    Rudy Seanez had been with the Boston Red Sox. Only been in five games with the Padres. He’s one and one.

    And a strike.

    His ratio since coming over to San Diego, you can’t really guess much, he’s walked four and struck out four. In the American League he was just about two to one, strike-outs to walks. One and one.

    Ball two.

    On deck Jeff Kent, who’s had a huge night. A single, two doubles and a home run.

    And now Seanez, wild. Walks Lofton and he’s behind three and one, and Bochy is twisting in the wind.

    And a high fly ball to left field, it is a way out and gone! The Dodgers win it eleven to ten!

    Ohhuhu… unbelievable!

    (Long, long pause, Dodger Stadium is going nuts!)

    I forgot to tell you. The Dodgers are in first place.

    (pause)

    I think we’ve said enough from up here. Once again, the final score, in ten innings, believe it or not, Dodgers eleven, Padres ten. Stay tuned for Dodgers Live and it starts right now. Goodnight everybody.”

  11. euhlman@bwr.eastlink.ca

    Thanks Kevin. What a result to wake up to. Actually was tied 4-4 when I dozed off so felt pretty good then with four runs on Peavy. Someone asked, “How often do we score four runs on Peavy?” Now we know. Griffon – enter each game with a hope and an expectation. This should recharge your batteries. Sportsnet just showed the highlights with Vin calling. No cheap shots there. Good call 53 on Anderson. I too felt the vets should be playing now. Anderson has probably earned a spot now. Good to see Kent and Drew hitting long and Nomar. In checking the box I continue to be impressed with Martin – a clutch hitter and throwing out two of three stealing. I think this should be a confidence builder and as one writer in the times wrote, “You have to stop the stagger before you swagger.” Let’s swagger guys. Got the Giants back a ways so lets put the Pods there too. Go Dodgers!!!

  12. Jay

    Wow! Four straight HRs, two against Hoffman! I just can’t believe it. Dodger Magic!

    Obvious statement-Huge win against the team with the NL’s best ERA. That’s the type of victory that creates momentum and to do it against the Padres makes it all the sweeter.

  13. messagebear@yahoo.com

    What an amazing comeback to wake up to. Frankly I had given up when were four behind in the eighth and turned off my computer. Thank you “kssparkuhl” for Vin’s description of the events – that’s priceless. That should be just the spark to ignite our team for the remainder of the season.

  14. jimgar73@verizon.net

    Truly a tremendous comeback, i’m glad I stayed up to watch it! However I think it’s being overstated comparing Nomar’s injuries or HR to Gibson (atleast Nomar was able to play an entire game and run at 1/2 speed), nor would I say Hoffman the bets closer ever. Nonetheless it was a must needed win and a great comeback.

  15. drinkinmercury79@aol.com

    Well, ****’s Bells! I went to Friday night’s game with Maddux and Wells, and that one was great, but… wow. I have never heard of anything like this. I was on the phone with my parents who were listening to the game (I was back home in NorCal) and Monday (or Steiner, I couldn’t tell over the crappy cell reception) sounded like he was gonna have a heart attack. I still can’t believe that happened, but that was a great way to end their series against the Padres. I hope that will help the team charge into October with vigor.

    Also, thank you very much, kssparkuhl, for Scully’s call. It is so great to see the team come out like this after two heartbreaking losses. I have no doubts this team can do some damage in the postseason.

    Go Blue!

  16. griffon64@webmail.co.za

    An amazing game yes, and a very important closing comment, Josh. Only 1 game in 162, and today’s game is as important as this one. Keep the grit, win the game, team.

  17. protz82@gmail.com

    Thanks for the rare post after that special game last night. However, the local papers (aside from writing some very average articles with few quotes) didn’t mention a thing about what happened with Duncan. What happened? All I know is he had words with Peavy in the middle of the first inning, and the benches semi cleared. Thanks.

  18. garysmith@glsmith.com

    We’ll be telling our Grandkids this story one day. Sooner for some of us, my first grandson is due any day now and I think the wife and I have bought up every Dodger toy, outfit and collectors piece known to man. And what a year for him to be born in, “The 2006 Dodgers” !!!
    Go Dodgers !!!

  19. kevblewis@sbcglobal.net

    Ok, so I have to admit that after Saito gave up three runs in the ninth, I turned to my friend and said, “should we stay or leave?” Thankfully, we concluded that we should stay, cause “you never know”. I have never felt something so electric, joyful, and passionate all at once. When Marlon hit the fourth one out, I had tears welling up in my eyes, goosebumps all over my body, and I was running up and down the aisle in the top deck, giving high fives to anyone in site. Wow!!! I have seen a perfect game live, and this topped it for me. Of course, I would have loved one more home run in the ninth inning to seal the deal, but I will take the finish any day. It really was a game of ups and downs, and I would be lying if I didn’t say our stadium felt totally dejected after the tenth run was scored by San Diego. When the Dodgers were coming up in the tenth, I turned to my friend, feeling a bit bitter that we were losing again and said, “Lofton needs to walk, and Nomar needs to send us home, because I can’t take this anymore”. Unbelievable…Lofton’s at bat was so important and I am impressed with the discipline. I am also impressed with the fake he pulled off in the tenth inning on the deep fly ball. He sold that as a homerun to the runner on second, and to me. But man it was awesome. Now tonight’s game is just as important. We need to come out and dominate Pittsburgh tonight, continue a long winning streak here at the end, and to take the division!!!!

  20. abandonscience@gmail.com

    I wish I could say I watched every inning of this one like I do for every other game, but I had to finish a French paper by midnight and had quite a bit of work still to do with it. That having been said, I did manage to break away from my computer often enough to keep tabs on the game. When I saw it was 9-5 and the bottom of 9 I thought I might as well watch the last 3 outs and see if we could do something, after all, it wasn’t Hofmann pitching and Kent was up. After I saw him and Drew go back to back and Vin Scully announce that Trevor Hofmann was now going to come I knew this might be a good one. That’s to say the very least. I queued up my DVR and watched the bottom of 9 and on twice after I finished my paper. I cannot recall ever seeing a team come back from such a deficit in the face of surmounting odds that they couldn’t. Truely, this was one of the greatest endings I’ve ever seen.

  21. chazbro36@hotmail.com

    Great victory last night, however let me make one thing crystal clear. The greatest closer ever works on 161st and River Ave. in the Bronx, NY.

  22. drj884@yaho.com

    So, its worth noting that in San Diego the last thing that could be heard from the TV before the party started was the mega homer announcer saying … ” turn out the lights, the party is over, Hoffy’s coming in… ”

    Absolutely amazing game. Best ever for me (includes Gibson).

  23. John

    I turned off the TV after the Padres took a 9-5 lead so my wife could get to sleep. For some reason, I decided to follow the bottom of the 9th over my phone even though I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. After I saw that Kent and Drew had hit back-to-back home runs, I flipped the TV back on. Just seconds later, Russell Martin hits it out. A friend of mine calls me to see if I’m watching the game and while I’m talking to him, Marlon Anderson hits it out. My scream probably woke the neighbors up. And then Furcal just missed hitting it out. In the 10th, I sat dejected as Sele gave up the go-ahead run. I’m thinking, “No, no, no, we cannot blow this one.” But I knew there was hope now that Hoffman was out of the game. Hope gradually turned to confidence when I saw that Seanez was having trouble finding the strike zone. Then Nomar came up and well…the rest is history. I still can’t believe what I saw last night. It was beyond amazing. It bordered on the miraculous. I felt like I was watching a scene from Angels In The Outfield. Last night’s game is up there with Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run and Steve Finley’s division-clinching grand slam. I didn’t sleep much last night.

  24. larry@bellport.com

    Hi Josh…
    Boy am I glad I hung in there until the end (2am here in the East). It was 4am before I came down enough to get to sleep. XM radio is great, but I signed up for the Extra Innings package today so I can watch the Dodgers win the pennant.

    Larry

  25. kssparkuhl@msn.com

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. I think it’s fairly safe to say that not many Dodger fans got much sleep last night who witnessed this game either in person or in it’s many forms of media. I was so amped that I knew I wasn’t going to get to bed for at least three or four hours… I just wanted to re-live the whole thing, so I decided to type out Vinny’s calls. I’m glad you guys enjoyed it, because I enjoyed every key-stroke as I listened to Vin Scully do what he does best.

    The game last night was the kind of game that can carry a team deep into the playoffs with momentum. It can solidify team-mates, bring confidence to new heights and allow the fans to finally believe that their team can pull off what was earlier in the year thought to be unattainable. We are truly blessed to have witnessed baseball history… but yet it is still one game in the standings. But oh what a game it was! Very cool indeed!

    Big Blue Wrecking Crew, 2006 Baby!!

  26. maribel@loveisblindness.com

    Nomar is my favorite Dodger and I hated seeing him frustrated with his strikeout and pop-ups. I was crying with joy for him and the boys in blue. I still can’t believe it.

    luxx80

  27. bokonon42@hotmail.com

    Any chance of a collector’s edition DVD of the game? I bet you could sell a few of them.

    Thanks for not deleting the transcription of Vin’s play by play. Expressed written consent or not, it was a delight to read. And re-read!

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