Looking Back: The Padres 1984 NLCS Game Four


Since we last met up, the NL Wild Card team, the San Francisco Giants once again proved that they are the class of the senior circuit. While the Dodgers may have won the division, they are sitting at home, while the hated Giants, will attempt to win their third World Series since 2010. In terms of the Padres’ involvement, it’s nice to see former skipper Bruce Bochy, former ace Jake Peavy, and former infielder Tim Flannery get another shot at October immortality.

Today, we continue our 30th anniversary retrospective, by reviewing Game Four of the National League Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs. After jumping out to a decisive two games-to-none lead, the Cubs were looking or the sweep in Game Three, but as well reviewed yesterday, the Padres’ bats came alive, the pitching was solid, and the bullpen slammed the door. The Padres got back into the series, and are looking to even things up at Jack Murphy Stadium, to force a fifth and final game to determine the National League pennant winner.

The Padres would have Tim Lollar start on the bump, and it wasn’t a great outing. The Cubs would counter with Scott Sanderson, who had his own issues. The bats came prepared on both sides in this contest. Each side exchanged zeroes through the first two innings. It appeared a pitcher’s duel was going to develop, until the Padres’ half of the third inning.

Gary Templeton took off from his solid performance in Game Three, getting the Friars started with a lead-off single. The starting pitcher, Tim Lollar was retired on strikes, but Templeton stole second base to move into scoring position. Templeton then moved up 90 feet on a shallow single to center field by second baseman Alan Wiggins. Mr. Padre of course, coming through in the clutch, hit a sac fly that scored Templeton from third base. Steve Garvey then doubled to bring Wiggins home, and at the end of three, the Padres had jumped out 2-0.

The Cubs weren’t about to lay down and let the Padres put a beating on them however. In the top half of the fourth, the Cubbies got to Lollar, as Sarge Matthews led off with a walk. After the next two hitters were retired, catcher Jody Davis hit a two-run bomb to tie the game at 2, and just as quickly as the Cubs dugout began to settle down, Leon Durham gave Chicago the lead with a follow-up home run of his own. After 3 1/2, the Cubs led the Padres, 3-2.

The Padres went down in their half of the fourth inning, and the Cubs jumped on Lollar again in the fifth. Bob Denier, walked, and then stole second base, and after a one-out walk to Ryne Sandberg, Lollar was done. Dick Williams brought in righty Andy Hawkins to work the Padres out of the jam, which is exactly what he did, as he induced Gary Matthews into an inning-ending double play. No harm, no foul, and the Cubs continued to cling to a one-run lead.

Hawkins’ appearance was short and sweet, as Williams used Tim Flannery as a pinch hitter to lead off the Padres’ half of the fifth inning. He immediately reached by singling back up the box past Sanderson. Wiggins, who handled the bat about as well as anyone on the roster, moved Flannery up on a sac bunt, and then was moved to third by Gwynn on a ground out. Garvey once again came through for San Diego, tying the game with an RBI-single. That was all for Sanderson, as manager Jim Frey went to the bullpen and brought in Warren Brusstar to end the rally.

Dave Dravecky came on for the Padres to preserve the tie, as the two teams exchanged zeroes for the next couple of innings. The momentum and the game swung in the Padres’ favor once and for all in the bottom of the seventh inning. Tim Stoddard relieved Brusstar, and the change suited the Padres well. Bobby Brown replaced Dravecky at the plate, and drew a walk, and then stole second base. Wiggins flew out, and Tony Gwynn was walked intentionally. Why anyone would purposely pitch to Steve Garvey in this situation is still debated, but nonetheless, Garvey delivered yet again, driving in Brown and moving Gwynn to third. The RBI-single gave San Diego a 4-3 lead. Gwynn then came home on a Jody Davis passed ball. At the end of the inning, it was Padres 5, Cubs 3.

Dick Williams, not wanting to let the newly gained lead slip away, turned to the Goose to slam the door for a six-out save. It turned out to be the wrong decision. Sandberg hit a single and stole second as Sarge Matthews whiffed looking. The Goose then got cooked, as Gossage gave up and RBI-single to Keith Moreland, and then an RBI-double to Davis, which allowed pinch runner Henry Cotto to come around to score. When the dust finally settled, Gossage had given up the lead, and the score was once again tied, this time at 5 going into the bottom of the eighth. 

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Frey countered with his bullpen gun, big Lee Smith, and he worked a scoreless inning to send Game Four of the 1984 NLCS to the final inning, all tied at 5 runs each. Williams, not wanting Gossage to have a repeat performance of the 8th inning, with the series on the line, brought Craig Lefferts in from the bullpen. After retiring the first hitter, Bob Denier, again, made a statement for the Cubs, doubling to left to get the Cubs in scoring position. Sandberg, with a chance to be the hero and send the Cubs to the World Series, popped up to Nettles at third. Sarge Mattews was then intentionally put on, and the bases became juiced when Cotto was drilled by a pitch. Like Garvey, former long time Dodgers’ third baseman Ron Cey came up in another big postseason moment, this time for the Cubs. Unlike Garvey however, he couldn’t come through, and grounded out weakly to Wiggins to send the game to the bottom of nine, knotted up at 5.

Unlike Dick Williams, Cubs’ manager Jim Frey had all the confidence in the world in Lee Smith to get through another inning. After all, it was the Padres with their backs to the wall, facing elimination. Wiggins attempted to bunt his way on and struck out. That was followed up by a sharp single by Gwynn to put the winning run on first base with one out, and Garvey coming to the plate. With one pitch, Garvey gave long suffering Cubs’ fans more reason to suffer, as he launched a Smith pitch over the 370-foot sign in right-center field, for his fourth and fifth runs batted in of the game. Even more importantly, he helped the Friars stave off elimination yet again, and helped San Diego force a fifth and final game to determine who would represent the National League in the 1984 World Series.

Be sure to come back tomorrow as we continue celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1984 National League Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs!