Saturday, September 20, 2014

Game of the Day (9/19/84)

Padres 5, Giants 4 (10). San Francisco's Jeff Robinson was approaching the end of a pretty rough rookie season. He took on San Diego's Eric Show, who was establishing himself as the ace of the eventual pennant winner (albeit in part because no other Padre exceeded 200 innings).

The Giants took the lead in the top of the first, as Dan Gladden singled, stole second, and scored on a hit by Chili Davis. Tony Gwynn singled in the bottom of the inning, but was caught stealing - and the Padres scored anyway, thanks to a Steve Garvey double and a Graig Nettles RBI single. Show worked around a Scot Thompson single in the second, and San Diego pulled ahead on singles by Carmelo Martinez, Garry Templeton, and Show. Alan Wiggins hit into a force, but Gwynn singled Templeton home for a 3-1 lead, and Garvey walked to load the bases. Robinson was then pulled for Mark Davis, who retired Nettles to end the inning.

Gladden led off the third with a walk. Manny Trillo then flied to center, and Kevin McReynolds erred in throwing the ball back to the infield, allowing Gladden to take third. Chili Davis followed by reaching on a Wiggins error, bringing Gladden home to halve the deficit. Mark Davis worked around an error and a Martinez single, coaxing a double play from Templeton to end the inning. Both pitchers were perfect in the fourth, and Show worked a 1-2-3 fifth as well; the Padres then tacked on another run when Garvey led off the bottom of the fifth with a double and moved to third and home on a pair of flyouts.

Show worked around a Jeffrey Leonard single in the sixth, while Davis was perfect in the bottom of the inning. Chris Brown led off the top of the seventh with a homer; Show retired the next two hitters, but then allowed a Gladden single and was relieved by Luis DeLeon. Gladden stole second and scored the tying run on a Trillo single. Mark Thurmond took DeLeon's place and allowed a hit to Chili Davis before ending the inning without further damage. Bob Lacey was flawless in the bottom of the seventh; Brown singled off of Goose Gossage in the top of the eighth, while McReynolds doubled in the bottom of the inning, but both men were left on.

A Gladden walk, a Trillo single, and a Chili Davis walk loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Gossage struck out the next two Giants to end the inning. Gwynn reached on an error in the home ninth, but Greg Minton stranded him at first. In the top of the tenth, Andy Hawkins gave up a Brown single and saw Brad Wellman reach on an error, but induced a double play from pinch hitter Duane Kuiper to end the threat. Scott Garrelts relieved in the bottom of the inning and induced the first out, then walked Terry Kennedy. Pinch runner Eddie Miller stole second, McReynolds was intentionally walked, and Martinez drew an unintentional pass to load the bases. Templeton was up next, and he did not walk. He did, however, reach on an error by catcher Bob Brenly to bring home the winning run.

Losing on a walkoff of any kind is rarely a pleasant experience. Losing on a walkoff error is significantly less so. But losing on a walkoff error by the catcher - meaning the ball was within the vicinity of home plate as the winning run scored - has to be one of the most stomach-punching defeats you can absorb.

On the other hand, it's better to take a painful loss when you're already a bad team. This game put the Padres within a hairsbreadth of clinching the NL West, up 9.5 games with 11 to go. It also helped cement the Giants near the bottom of the standings - and with the second pick in the 1985 draft, they would select Will Clark.

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