LOS ANGELES (AP)—Heads were shaking in both clubhouses. Nobody could believe what they had just seen.
And no wonder—what they saw hadn’t happened since 1964.
Los Angeles hit four consecutive homers in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, and Nomar Garciaparra’s two-run homer in the 10th lifted the Dodgers to an 11-10 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night and back into first place in the NL West.
“That was the greatest game I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen anything like that,” Dodgers reliever Brett Tomko said.
“It was a great baseball game—two good teams going at it. They got the last big hit,” said Brian Giles, who scored in the top of the 10th to give the Padres a short-lived 10-9 lead.
After Los Angeles tied it in the ninth with four straight homers—just the fourth time that’s happened in an inning in major league history—the Padres went ahead on Giles’ double and Josh Bard’s two-out, single off Aaron Sele (8-6).
Those remaining from the capacity crowd of 55,831 at Dodger Stadium stood and cheered for several minutes afterward.
Garciaparra had to talk his way back into the lineup after not starting two games because of a strained left quad. Manager Grady Little relented.
“I wanted to play. I was telling Grady: `Let me play, let me play,”’ Garciaparra said. “I’m glad I was in the lineup. But you know what won that game? It was that ninth inning. No one was giving up.”
Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew opened the ninth with homers off San Diego’s Jon Adkins. Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson then went deep on the first two pitches thrown by Trevor Hoffman, who entered with 475 career saves—three shy of Lee Smith’s major league record.
The last time a team hit four consecutive homers was on May 2, 1964, when the Minnesota Twins accomplished the feat against Kansas City in the 11th inning.
Anderson, acquired by the Dodgers from the Washington Nationals on Aug. 31, had a career-high five hits, and Kent had four as Los Angeles moved a half-game ahead of the Padres.
“I can’t explain it. It’s absolutely the most wonderful night of my career, for sure,” Anderson said. “And to be able to do it on this stage—in a pennant race—it was awesome. The guys pulled together and stuck together. That was absolutely the most wonderful game I’ve ever seen in my life at any level.”
Fans who had left the game and were in the parking lot starting streaming back into the ballpark during the long-ball display.
Then came the stunning bottom of the ninth.
“You wouldn’t expect anything different the way this division has gone the last couple of years,” Giles said. “There are a lot of ups and downs in this game. This is going to go down to the wire. It would be nice if both of us got in the playoffs.”
The Padres have a 1 1/2 -game lead over Philadelphia in the wild-card race.
Hoffman said he didn’t remember giving up homers on back-to-back pitches.
“Marlon’s been in a groove,” Hoffman said. “You’ve got to tip your cap. It was just a pretty impressive ballgame on both sides of the field.”
Hoffman would have started the ninth had the Padres not scored three times to take a four-run lead, which took him out of a save situation.
“It’s something we’ve been doing for the last 13 or 14 years. I prepare to go in there when there are two guys on. Unfortunately, there were two guys in,” he said with a smile.
The Dodgers made it 6-5 in the bottom of the inning when Anderson tripled and scored on a single by Wilson Betemit. Scott Linebrink struck out Garciaparra with runners at second and third to end the inning.
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 battled back against Jake Peavy to tie it 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 was lifted after allowing seven hits and four runs in five innings. He walked three and struck out six. Peavy was also taken out after five innings, giving up nine hits and four runs. He walked one and struck out five.
The four-game series drew 219,124—the largest ever for a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. … Piazza, who played for the Dodgers from 1992-98, went 1-for-2 with two walks, making him 9-for-36 with no homers and four RBIs against his former team this season. … Penny made four starts against the Padres this season, going 0-2 with two no-decisions and allowing 19 earned runs in 20 innings. … Peavy made three starts against the Dodgers, going 2-0 with one no-decision. He and giving up six earned runs in 19 innings. … Kent hit two doubles, giving him 499 in his career and tying him for 45th place on baseball’s career list with Rusty Staub.