Homers sting Padres

Going into Monday, only two teams in the majors (the Royals and Twins) had hit fewer home runs than the Dodgers.

But they hit seven in an 11-10 come-from-behind victory over the Padres, including four consecutive home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game and a walk-off two-run shot by Nomar Garciaparra in the bottom of the 10th.

"If I could explain it, I'd be able to explain a lot of crazy things that happen in baseball," said Garciaparra, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a leg injury. "There is no explanation. All you can say is that's what's great about this game."

The Dodgers had not hit more than three home runs in a game all season before Jeff Kent, J.D. Drew, Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson went deep in succession off Jon Adkins and Trevor Hoffman in the ninth. It was just the fourth time in major league history a team had hit four consecutive home runs and the first time since the Twins did it on May 2, 1964.

"We just had a lot of home runs saved up over the course of the year for a game when we really needed them," Drew said. "Talk about timely hitting. That's pretty timely."

The powerful finish allowed the Dodgers to salvage a split of the four-game series with the Padres and leapfrog them back into first place. Los Angeles leads the division by a half-game.

Who knows what will be the lasting effect of the Padres' loss Monday night at Dodger Stadium? Or how long the Padres will take to get over the game?

Padres pitchers twice blew four-run leads, gave up seven homers -- including a major league-record-tying four in a row in the bottom of the ninth -- and lost 11-10 in the 10th when a two-run homer by Nomar Garciaparra erased a one-run lead.

No way to candy-apple this one. Devastating.

Twice the Padres were three outs away from a 1 1/2-game lead on the Dodgers in the National League West. And now they are a half-game behind the Dodgers and only 1 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia in the wild-card race.

"That had to be one of the greatest games ever," Padres right fielder Brian Giles said. "Hopefully, both these teams will reach the playoffs."

The Padres took a 9-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth only to have the Dodgers become only the fourth team in major league history -- and the first since May 2, 1964 -- to hit four consecutive homers.

The first two, by Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew, were given up by Jon Adkins. The next two, on back-to-back pitches, were served up by Trevor Hoffman, who blew what would have been his 40th save of the season.

In the bottom of the 10th, with the Padres back on top by a run, Rudy Seanez gave up a leadoff walk to Kenny Lofton, then served up a two-run homer to Nomar Garciaparra, and the Dodgers finished a wild 11-10 win.

The Padres bused home from Los Angeles early Tuesday morning and will open their final homestand of the season (six games) Tuesday night against Arizona.


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