No they didn't. Yes they did!
The Dodgers, after a nice piece of nostalgic pitching for real by Greg Maddux, took a one game lead in this four game - for the season - series with the Can't Beat Em Padres. They blew a laugher to give the edge right back. The Dodgers did their very best in a classic 2-1 loss.
So what did the Dodgers do in game 4? They gave up 10 runs, that's all. Brad Penny stacked the rivals to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. He got two quick outs and then stuttered, stumbled, and played Santa Claus before the Dodgers could even get their first lick in.
The Dodgers, who have hit fewer home runs than EVERYBODY else in the league can NOT give up four run leads. They can NOT win doing so.
But they DID.
To do so, they would have to explode in a very Hollywood - and very unDodgerish manner. Tommy Lasorda's "Big Dodger in the Sky" would have to put aside such meaningless things as the war on terror, the trouble the pope is in, Al Gore's apocalyptic warnings on global emissions (not Lasorda) and other affairs of state, and make believe something as minor as a baseball game meant something. (I do not want to hear Lasorda's baseball theology today for he is overbearing everyday and today his answered prayers theme will be off the charts. Well maybe it will be a pleasant relief from Iran's crazy Outofhismindajad at the UN.)
No the Dodgers should be able to hit home runs. Jeff Kent has before. J.D. Drew has a bunch in his tank if he'd ever take the bat off his shoulders. Old Aches 'n Pains Nomar could do it before. Stocky catcher Russell Martin looks like he should be able to. Rafy Furcal has torched pitchers too careful to walk the speedster before.
Now Marlin Anderson, he's different. A lifetime second baseman with a touch of speed, the 30something journeyman, has all of a sudden developed into a mature hitter in the last year or two.
But some of them hitting a homer, well maybe. Even the bookmakers wouldn't stop laughing long enough to bother to quote the odds that all of them would homer -- in the series much less in a single game, much less than four in the 9th and one in the 10th. No sucker, even the most hopeless Dodgers nut, would waste even chump change on such a happening.
But it did.
It was so unexpected even the most doting mother could not have wished for better luck for a wayward son.
Takeitonhome Saito proved mortal. Four runs down. The Padres, already feeling champs, didn't want to waste their great closer Trevor Hoffman on these chumps, preferring to look ahead to the pesky Arizonaians.
Boom, a homer. Yeh, another one of those runs too late, when it didn't mean anything. An Alex Rodriguez type.
Boom. Another. Well, it least it was the Dodgers cleanup and number 5 hitter.
It had to happen sometime, although it hadn't this year.
The Padres woke up old man Hoffman and rushed him in to halt the damage.
Boom. Canadian rookie catcher Russell Martin, a throwback, for all the world looking like a reincarnation of Campy, hit a first pitch homer.
Too bad the Dodgers had to waste all these homers in a loss.
Aging second baseman Marlon Anderson up. Too bad he already had four hits in the game. He had had his quota. If he could have only saved one for now.
Boom. First pitch. Deep. Homer. Tie game.
Good lordy, Miss Maudy. This couldn't be the Dodgers.
But it was.
Ole Tommy napping throughout the game as he is won't to do these days, surely nodded off once or twice saying goodbye to the season, the pennant.
Now all the noise had woke him up. What was all this about?
Now, truth be known, even Ole Tommy doesn't always believe himself all of the time.
Some of it is for an act. But even Ole Tommy couldn't believe this one.
What did the Dodgers do? Of course they went right out into extra innings and immediately surrendered the lead.
From 9-9 tie, is was behind 10-9.
What a shame, and very Dodgerish, to do some much and come up so short. Aw well, we never should have come back this far anyway.
Nope. Not to be. Kenny Lofton works a walk. But there are two out. Have not the Dodgers used up their share of miracles. NO, they have not. Nomar, who struck out as a pinch hitter the night before in the 2-1 loss, hits a 2 run walk off homer.
And the Dodgers are back in first. Not by a lot. In fact you can't be ahead any less and still be in first. But they are in first. And the darned Padres are done for the season against the boys in blue, and they are strangely normal against other opponents.
No dream. Really. This really happened.
To tell you how surreal this was. The Dodgers won a game Brett Tomko got in -- first one in September. Tomko even pitched a shutout inning -- first and only one in September.
Seven homers in a game. Four back to back to erase a four run lead in the 9th.
A walk off homer in the 10th. And a Tomko September shutout inning. Come ON!
What kind of cigarettes we smokin' dude?
Forty year old Greg Maddux was at the game. In uniform even. The Hall of Famer has worked his way into baseball history by art, by mastery, by smarts, by science. Very little of his success had to do with luck.
What he had just seen with his own eyes must have made Greg Maddux shake his head in bewilderment. God must have some sense of humor to craft one like this.
Surely I'm still dreaming. Holmes, do me a favor, call me sometime later today and wake me up. Boy, wait 'til I tell you the crazy dream I had last night.