Back-to-Back x 4 + Nomar

Those who feel the most exciting time in sports is the final two minutes of an NBA game shouldn't have been in their cars driving home from Dodger Stadium before the game ended to watch the previously punchless Dodgers, trailing 9-5, get off the deck with four consecutive home runs in the ninth to tie the game, and trailing 10-9 see Nomar Garciaparra's two run shot in the 10th to win 11-10.

The flood of home runs came from the Dodgers who were last in the league with 131 home runs and might finish the season with no player hitting 20.

The inexplicable game shot holes in Sherlock Holmes' famous "When you exclude the impossible, what is left must be the truth." However, on this night if you excluded the impossible, there would have been nothing left.

It was one of those games that will stick in the collective memory of Dodger fans alongside Lavagetto's double, Welch's strikeout of Jackson, Monday's homer in the cold, Hershiser's shutouts, Scioscia's homer and Gibson's classic shot off Eckersly.

Even the player's who participated in the game could hardly believe what they had witnessed.

"That was the greatest game I've ever seen. I've never seen anything like that," Dodgers reliever Brett Tomko said.

"I've never seen anything like that," said Dodgers starter Brad Penny. "Guys were jumping around like it was a World Series game."

Anderson, acquired by the Dodgers from the Washington Nationals on Aug. 31, had two homers and a career-high five hits, and Kent had four as Los Angeles moved a half-game ahead of the Padres with a dozen left to play.

The Dodgers trailed after San Diego has scored four off Dodger ace Brad Penny in the top of the fourth inning but tied it up by the third inning off Padre ace Jake Peavy.

The Padres regained the lead with two in the eighth and three in the ninth and led 9-5 before a ninth inning that no one in his right mind could have dreamed of.

Jeff Kent homered to deep center. J.D. Drew homered to deep right. Russell Martin homered to deep left and Marlon Anderson homered to deep right to drive the faithful wild who stayed to the bitter end.

Anderson homered in his first at-bat against Peavy and went 5-for-5 in the game with two singles, a triple, two home runs, a stolen base and three runs scored. Anderson is hitting .448 (13 for 29) with four home runs and seven RBI since he was acquired from the Washington Nationals.

Fans who had left the game got out of their cars and came running back into the ballpark during the remarkable home run explosion.

Like they say in the commercials, "but wait, there's more."

After the Padres had snatched the lead back in the 10th, Nomar Garciaparra, who had to argue to convinced manager Grady Little that he could play, followed Kenny Lofton's walk with the Dodgers' seventh homer of the game, this one deep into the left field pavilion.

And those who weren't struck dumb by the impossibility of the whole thing, shouted themselves horse. And why not, it was only the fourth time in major league history a team had hit four consecutive home runs and it hadn't happened since 1964.

Then Nomar's shot put the icing on the cake.

"I don't know. If I could explain it, I'd be able to explain a lot of crazy things that happen in baseball," said Garciaparra who limped around the bases bringing back memories of Gibson's gimpy-legged home run trot. "There is no explanation. All you can say is that's what's great about this game. That's huge. That's just big."

The Padres took a 4-0 lead in the first after Brad Penny retired the first two batters. Adrian Gonzalez singled and scored on Mike Piazza's double. After Russell Branyan drew a walk, Mike Cameron hit a two-run triple and Blum followed with an RBI single.

The Dodgers tied off Jake Peavy on Jeff Kent's RBI double in the first, solo homers by Anderson in the second and Rafael Furcal in the third, and back-to-back doubles by Kent and Drew later in the third.

Penny, who was 0-2 in four starts against the Padres and had allowed 19 runs in 20 innings against them, left after five innings having allowing seven hits and four runs in five innings. He walked three and struck out six. Peavy, who was 6-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 12 starts against the Dodgers, was also gone after five, giving up nine hits and four runs. He walked one and struck out five.

Jonathan Broxton took over in the eighth inning with the game still tied and, for the second game in a row, Broxton let it get away after issuing an ill-timed walk to Geoff Blum, a double to Jess Barfield and Todd Walker' pinch-hit single.

After the Dodgers got a run back in the bottom of the eighth when Wilson Betemit singled in Anderson, closer Takashi Saito gave up what appeared to be three in the top of the ninth.

Kent and Drew opened the ninth with homers off San Diego's Jon Adkins. Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson then connected on the first two pitches thrown by Trevor Hoffman, who entered with 475 career saves - three shy of Lee Smith's major league record and had not given up a run to the Dodgers in more than a year and with 54 saves in 56 career opportunities against them.

The Padres went ahead on Brian Giles' double and Josh Bard's two-out single off Aaron Sele (8-6), the eventual winner, in the top of the 10th.

But Rudy Seanez (1-2) walked Kenny Lofton to begin the bottom half, and Garciaparra followed by hitting his 18th homer deep into the left-field pavilion.

"That ninth inning had me on the verge of tears," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in the jubilant clubhouse and speaking for Dodger fans everywhere. "That 10th inning had me pretty close to actual tears.

"I admire the way they play, I admire how they care, and I admire the way they go at it every day. They never stop trying. The season may have started tonight."

The Dodgers salvaging a split of the crucial four-game series with just their fifth victory in 18 games against the Padres.

They now host the pesky Pittsburgh Pirates led by manager Jim Tracy, a recipe for trouble if ever you saw one.

So when the lights were turned off in Dodger Stadium after the game, the kid had found his injured dog, the guy had got the girl, the kids had saved the theatre by staging a musical and the bad guy lay shot in the dust as the wounded marshall rode off into the sunset on his faithful horse.

Ain't Hollywood wonderful?
  Score by inning           r  h e
San Diego    400 000 023 1-10 15 0
Los Angeles  112 000 014 2-11 19 2 

  Dodgers     ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss      6 2 2 1 .297
Lofton cf      5 1 2 0 .302
Garciaparra 1b 6 1 2 2 .305
Kent 2b        5 2 4 2 .288
Drew rf        4 1 2 2 .276
Martin c       5 1 1 1 .286
Anderson lf    5 3 5 2 .295
Betemit 3b     3 0 1 1 .267
 Lugo pr-3b    1 0 0 0 .225
Penny p        2 0 0 0 .188
 Tomko p       0 0 0 0 .120
 Robles ph     0 0 0 0 .172
 Beimel p      0 0 0 0 .000
 Broxton p     0 0 0 0 .000
 Saenz ph      1 0 0 0 .287
 Saito p       0 0 0 0 .000
 Ethier ph     1 0 0 0 .316
 Sele p        0 0 0 0 .192
     Totals 44 11 19 11
     Padres41 10 15  9

  Errors- Furcal, Betemit. 2B - Kent 2 
(25); Drew (30); Garciaparra (30); Lofton 
(15). 3B - Anderson (3). HR - Anderson 2 
(9), Furcal (14), Kent (14), Drew (17), 
Martin (10), Garciaparra (18). S - Robles. 
RBI - Kent 2 (67), Anderson 2 (30), Furcal 
(60), Drew 2 (88), Betemit (48), Martin (59), 
Garciaparra 2 (84). LOB - Los Angeles 10, 
San Diego 12. SB - Anderson (4). DP -
(Betemit, Kent and Garciaparra).

  Dodgers  in h r-er bb so era
Penny      5.0 7 4-4 3 6 4.13
Tomko      1.0 1 0-0 0 2 4.96
Beimel     1.0 0 0-0 1 0 3.08
Broxton    1.0 2 2-2 1 1 2.83
Saito      1.0 3 3-3 1 0 2.28
Sele (8-6) 1.0 2 1-1 2 0 4.40
  WP-Broxton, Saito. T-3:53. Att-55,831.
87 The Target-- Manager Grady Little insists that his club will need 87 victories to win the National League West. Although the Dodgers lead by 1/2 game, they are tied with the Padres in the loss column. San Diego has 13 games left and if they go 7-6, Los Angeles must win eight of the final 12 to finish ahead of them.

The league office held another coin flip to determine the site of a potential one-game playoff for the wild-card spot. And although the Dodgers won home-field advantage in last week's flips in the event of a one-game playoff against either San Diego or San Francisco to determine the division winner, they lost this one to Philadelphia, meaning they would have to travel to Citizens Bank Park if they finished tied with the Phillies for the wild card.

If the Dodgers and Padres finish tied atop the NL West and the Phillies finish with the same record, the Dodgers and Padres would meet at Dodger Stadium on Oct. 2 to determine the division winner; the loser of that game would go to Philadelphia to play one game for the wild card; and the winner of that game would then travel to the home of its first-round opponent - most likely the New York Mets in the Dodgers' case - to begin the playoffs Oct. 3.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The four-game series drew the largest ever for a four-game series at Dodger Stadium, 219,124. ... Piazza, who played for the Dodgers from 1992-98, went 1-for-2 with two walks, making him 9-for-36 (.250) with no homers and four RBI against his former team this season. ...Kent hit two doubles, giving him 499 in his career and tying him for 45th place on baseball's career list with Rusty Staub. …Chad Billingsley threw batting practice and said he felt much better. He still scheduled to start Thursday night against Pittsburgh.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories