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Dodgers Flashback: The Anniversary of the Greatest Regular Season Game of My Life Time

Happy 4+1-iversary!



14 years ago today. Vincent Edward Scully on the call. The Los Angeles Dodgers played host to the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Both teams were in the midst of a tight pennant race, and the LA faithful looked at this game as a must win.

On the mound for the Dodgers, right-hander Brad Penny — an All-Star that season — faced off against San Diego’s ace Jake Peavy on a cool night at Chavez Ravine.

The lineups looked like this:

Padres Dodgers
1. Dave Roberts, left field 1. Rafael Furcal, shortstop
2. Brian Giles, right field 2. Kenny Lofton, centerfield
3. Adrian Gonzalez, first base 3. Nomar Garciaparra, first base
4. Mike Piazza, catcher 4. Jeff Kent, second base
5. Russell Branyan, third base 5. J.D. Drew, right field
6. Mike Cameron, centerfield 6. Russell Martin, catcher
7. Geoff Blum, shortstop 7. Marlon Anderson, left field
8. Josh Barfield, second base 8. Wilson Betemit, third base
9. Jake Peavy, pitcher 9. Brad Penny, pitcher

What a throwback…

The game, by most measures, was not a well played one. Penny served up 4 runs in the first inning. But the Dodgers were a half game behind the Padres in the standings and weren’t about to lose a third straight to them. LA battled back for 4 runs of their own over the next 3 innings.

Flashing forward to the 8th — and stop me if you’ve heard this before, but reliever Jonathan Broxton served up 2 runs on a walk and 2 hits. The Dodgers added one back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single off the bat of Wilson Betemit.

6-5 Padres lead heading into the 9th and old friend Takaski “Sammy” Saito had a nightmare inning, serving up 3 and putting the Friars up by 4. 

With all the back and forth of this game already, the good part is actually coming up…

Back-to-back-to-back-to-back

There’s a chance that this game never happens if Saito allowed only 2 runs instead of 3. With the 4 run cushion, Padres manager Bruce Bochy opted to not go to his future Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman. Instead, journeyman Jon Adkins was brought in to face the heart of the Dodgers lineup. And they made him — and eventually Hoffman and Bochy — pay.

It’s 9-5 Padres heading to the bottom of the 9th… NOW you can watch:

J.D. Drew: home run (17)
Jeff Kent: home run (14)
Pitching change
Russell Martin: home run (10)
Marlon Anderson: home run (9)

Fans try to re-enter Dodger Stadium.

The action wasn’t done there. Tied at 9 all, the game goes to extra innings (back before that dumb runner on second rule) and wouldn’t you know it, the Padres tack on a run in the top of the 10th as current LA bullpen coach Josh Bard drives in Marcus Giles off reliever Aaron Sele. 10-9 SD.

…+1

That set yet another stage for the Dodgers. This time for Whittier’s own Anthony Nomar Garciaparra…

Kenny Lofton worked a key leadoff walk and Nomahh took care of the rest.

“And a high flyball to left field it is a-way out and gone,” exclaimed Vin Scully. “And the Dodgers win it 11 to 10… uh ho ho! Unbelievable.”

Hit it, Randy. I love LA!

The exuberance continued with Nomar in the postgame interview.

It was pretty crazy… I’m just so proud of our team, the way they stuck in there. They persevered. They pick each other up. And look at this crowd, they’re still here! They stuck around… it’s awesome! I don’t know what to say, it’s awesome.

The Dodgers rode the spark of that game to win 10 of their final 13 games and earn a wild card spot in the National League.

As usual, the story did not go well for the boys in blue in October, this time bounced in the first round of the playoffs against the Mets. But it was the stepping stone to a team that eventually made it to within 1 game of the World Series in back to back seasons in 2008 and 2009.

Final Thoughts

We’ve all seen some great regular season games in our lifetimes, but for myself, this was a true pinnacle as a then 20-something Dodger fan that was just shy of 3 years old that last time the club won it all in 1988.

NEXT: Doc Roberts Thinks Corey Seager is Playing Like an MVP Candidate

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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