Looking Back: The Padres 1984 World Series Game Three
By Billy Brost
Coming off the heels of the franchise’s first-ever World Series victory during Game Two of the 1984 Fall Classic, the San Diego Padres had to feel pretty good about themselves heading into Game Three in Detroit. After all, they lost a heartbreaker in Game One, unable to put Tigers’ starter Jack Morris down after having several opportunities to do so, and then bounced back nicely in Game Two, getting the clutch hitting they needed. It didn’t hurt that Andy Hawkins pitched the game of his life, tossing 5+ innings of scoreless relief while the Padres fought their way back, and took the lead on a Kurt Bevaqua home run.
Game Three for the Tigers had some historical relevance. When the series shifted back to Tiger Stadium, the venue became the oldest ballpark in big league history to host a World Series game. Tiger Stadium was built in 1912. The Red Sox and their famous building, Fenway Park, would break that record two seasons later when they hosted a World Series game against the New York Mets in 1986.
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Unfortunately for the Friars, there would be no timely hitting, and no miracle performance by a member of the bullpen, as Detroit scored early, and never looked back. The visiting Padres had a chance early, as lead-off man Alan Wiggins torched a double with nobody out. Tony Gwynn grounded out, Steve Garvey struck out, and after a Graig Nettles walk to put runners at the corners, Terry Kennedy grounded out, ending the early threat.
Detroit didn’t do anything in their half of the first, but quickly drove Padres starter Tim Lollar from the game in the second inning, with a four-run outburst. With one out, Chet Lemon singled for the Tigers, Lollar helped Lemon advance to second base on a wild pitch. Darrell Evans advanced Lemon to third with a long fly ball to center field. Lollar only needed one more out to get through the inning unscathed. That didn’t happen. Marty Castillo hit a two-out, two-run blast into the seats, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead. They wouldn’t stop there. Sweet Lou Whitaker singled, and came home when double play partner Alan Trammell doubled. Kirk Gibson then drew a two-out walk, and advanced to third on a Lance Parrish single. Greg Booker came out of the Padres’ bullpen to relieve Lollar, who issued a walk to Larry Herndon, forcing in Gibson. A fly out ended the inning, but the Friars were down big, 4-0 at the end of 2.
Wiggins reached to lead off the third inning, and advanced to third when Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn singled. Garvey then grounded to short, forcing Gwynn at second, but allowing Wiggins to score. Nettles followed with a foul out and Kennedy grounded out. After 2 1/2 innings, it was Tigers 4, Padres 1. The hard fought run the Padres got back, Detroit was handed right back in their half of the third inning. Three walks in the inning, and another pitching change by Dick Williams, this time Greg Harris replacing Booker, and Darrell Evans came home to score when Kirk Gibson was beaned by a pitch. At the end of three, it as 5-1 Tigers, and they never looked back.
Tigers starting pitcher Milt Wilcox was dealing. He ended up going six innings, allowing the one earned run, and scattering 7 hits, while striking out 2 and walking only one. Bill Scherrer replaced Wilcox in the seventh inning, and the Padres were able to push across their second and last run of the ballgame. With one out, Gwynn singled, and advanced to third on a Garvey double. Nettles hit a sac fly to center field, as Gwynn scored and Garvey advanced to third. AL MVP and Cy Young winner Willie Hernandez came out of the ‘pen to put the fire out. He retired Kennedy on a line-out to center, killing the rally.
Hernandez pitched the final 2 1/3 innings of the ball game, allowing no runs, and only one hit, as he closed out Game Three for the Tigers, getting the save in the process. The Tigers now had a 2 games-to-1 lead heading into Game Four in Detroit. The Padres starting pitching continued to be a grease fire, getting knocked out early in every start of the series thus far. Paired with a continued lack of timely hitting with runners in scoring position, and the Padres could quickly find themselves with their backs to the wall.
Join us again, as we continue our “Looking Back” series, celebrating the San Diego Padres 1984 National League pennant, as we take a look back at Game Four of the Fall Classic tomorrow!