Padres Go Down in History, Then Down in Defeat

Times Staff Writer

San Diego Padres, who hit a total of three homers in Yuma this spring, hit back-to-back-to-back homers in their first three at-bats here Monday night.

No team in major league history had led off a game this way.

So the least the Padres could have done was win, but they didn’t because the San Francisco Giants hit four home runs themselves--including second baseman Robby Thompson’s two-out grand slam off Tom Gorman in the seventh--and they ruined the Padres’ home opener with a 13-6 victory in front of 48,686 at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.

Padre Manager Larry Bowa also went out with a bang as he was ejected (his first time as a big league manager) in the sixth inning. Second baseman Tim Flannery had tried to break up a double play with a swerving slide, and the shortstop, Matt Williams, threw the ball away, allowing a Padre run. But second base umpire Bob Engel ruled that Flannery went out of the base line, and he was called out.


Bowa went berserk. But it did no good.

At least, the first inning went down in history. The Giants came out and scored two runs off Andy Hawkins in the top of the inning (including a Jeffrey Leonard home run), but the padres’ Marvell Wynne, Tony Gwynn and John Kruk each hit their first homers of the season in succession.

First, it was Wynne. He had been penciled into the lineup just an hour before game time when regular center fielder Stan Jefferson couldn’t play on a sore left ankle. Wynne hit Roger Mason’s 3-and-2 pitch to right for homer No. 1.

Next, it was Gwynn. He was hitting only .250, but he blasted a 1-and-1 pitch to deep right center for homer No. 2.

Then, it was Kruk. He lifted a 1-and-1 pitch to left center for homer No. 3.

Steve Garvey hit one deep to center, but Chili Davis made the catch and the fans sighed.

Still, three homers to start a team’s first inning wasn’t bad. Twenty-seven different times, teams had hit two to start a first inning, but never three. The last time the Padres had back-to-back-to-back homers was in 1979 when Jerry Turner, Dave Winfield and Gene Tenace did it in the first inning in Philadelphia off Randy Lerch. But they weren’t the first three batters.


For an encore, Giants first baseman Will Clark tied the game at 3-3 with a solo homer off Hawkins in the third.

But third baseman Kevin Mitchell pushed the Padres in front, 4-3, with a single to left that scored Gwynn.

Then, Giants catcher Bob Melvin homered (his third against the Padres this year) to tie it at 4-4 in the top of the fourth inning. Melvin finished with four hits for the night.

Tim Flannery appeared to deliberately take a pitch off the right knee in the bottom of the fourth, and umpire Joe West sent him to first. Rookie pinch-hitter James Steels tripled Flannery in, and then Wynne singled in Steels, making it, 6-4, Padres.

The Giants scored four runs in the fifth off reliever Dave Dravecky (the losing pitcher), three of which were unearned. Mitchell started it with a throwing error on pitcher Jim Gott’s ground ball down to third. A single by Clark (he went 3 for 5), a two-run double by Davis and consecutive two-out run-scoring singles by Melvin and Williams completed the rally.

Then Thompson’s grand slam and a meaningless RBI single--again by Thompson--which was the Giants’ 17th hit.