Looking Back: The Padres 1984 NLCS Game Three


With the San Diego Padres’ National League West rival San Francisco Giants handling business against the St. Louis Cardinals, and taking a 3 games to 1 lead after Game Four last night, we continue our retrospective look back, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Padres’ first National League pennant in team history. Today, we will re-examine the events of the 1984 National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs, Game Three.

After being thoroughly dominated by Rick Sutcliffe and Steve Trout of the Cubs through the first two games of the 1984 NLCS, and falling behind two games to none, the series shifted out to Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego for Game Three. The Padres, facing elimination and having their backs to the wall, sent big Ed Whitson to the hill, hoping to stave off their winter. The Cubbies countered with yet to be converted to a Hall of Fame closer, Dennis Eckersley.

The Cubs threatened early, as early series hero, Bob Denier, led off the game with a walk, but was forced out by Ryne Sandberg, who got himself into scoring position by stealing second base. He was stranded when Sarge, Gary Matthews struck out, and first baseman Leon Durham lined out to Gary Templeton to end the first frame. 

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The Padres’ bats, which had been relatively silent throughout the first two games of the series, felt the pressure to come up big upon their return to Southern California. Unfortunately for the Padres’ faithful, the Cubs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, when Keith Moreland doubled to center field, and the Penguin, Ron Cey, drove him in on an RBI-single.

Eckersley and Whitson both looked solid, as the teams traded goose eggs until until the bottom of the fifth inning. Padres’ catcher Terry Kennedy led off with a single, and moved to second when Kevin McReynolds followed with a base hit of his own. Carmelo Martinez was the first out of the inning, popping out to Sandberg. The floodgates opened for San Diego, when Gary Templeton doubled to center, scoring both Kennedy and McReynolds, and giving the Friars a 2-1 lead. After Whitson popped out, the speedy Alan Wiggins drove Templeton home with a single, to finish the inning’s scoring, and the Padres entered the sixth, up 3-1.

Chicago attempted to shake off the crooked inning, as Sarge Matthews led off the Cubs half of the sixth with a single. He was erased on a Durham double play, and Moreland struck out to end the top of the sixth. The Padres, nice and warm from breaking through in the fifth, sent Eckersley to the showers. Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn, led off with a single. Steve Garvey grounded out, which moved Gwynn into scoring position. Third baseman Graig Nettles drove Gwynn home with a single and Eck was done for the night. He was relieved by George Frazier, but the bleeding didn’t stop.

Kennedy welcomed Frazier with a single, and McReynolds sealed the Game Three victory for the Friars, with a three-run blast, putting the Padres up 7-1. Martinez and Templeton both were retired to end the inning. The Padres never looked back, and Whitson cruised the rest of the way. He finished the night tossing 8 innings, allowing the one earned run, on five hits, and striking out six. Rich Gossage came on and tossed a scoreless ninth, striking out a pair to finish off the Cubs, and putting the Padres smack dab back into the middle of this series. The Padres finished the night with 11 hits, and 7 runs–more than they had scored in the first two games combined.

Join us tomorrow for our continuing series…Looking Back: The Padres 1984 NLCS!