Twenty-eight innings in less than 22 hours.
That’s what the Padres and Montreal Expos just endured beginning Wednesday night and finishing up Thursday afternoon at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
And when all was said and done, the two teams ended up with a split of two games.
After Montreal won in 17 innings at 12:21 Thursday morning, the Padres came back Thursday afternoon with a 3-2, 11-inning victory in front of 14,331.
Joe Carter, the major league leader in runs batted in, got his 95th to drive in Bip Roberts with two outs in the bottom of the 11th.
In the top of the 11th, Montreal appeared to have the game in control and a 3-0 series sweep of the Padres, when Jack Clark made a throwing error allowing the go-ahead run to score from second.
With two outs and Larry Walker on second, Expo catcher Jerry Goff hit a bouncing ball to first that forced Clark to back peddle. Clark’s throw to pitcher Rich Rodriguez, who was covering, was high and to Rodriguez’ left, pulling him off the base. Goff was safe, and Walker came around third to score.
The weary Padres could have quit in the bottom of the 11th. In fact, they might have, but Benito Santiago, leading off the inning, was hit by a Tim Burke fastball that nearly incited a brawl.
Santiago, just coming off the disabled list last Friday from a broken left forearm on a pitch from San Francisco’s Jeff Brantley, managed to get his right hand up in time to stop Burke’s pitch from hitting him in the head.
Immediately, Santiago bounced up and began walking toward Burke. Just as immediately, home plate umpire Ron Barnes jumped in front of Santiago to stop him.
The benches emptied, but no punches were thrown.
But all the commotion was enough to wake up the Padres.
Since the third inning Wednesday, they had scored just one run in 24 innings.
Roberts promptly lined a single to left, and Roberto Alomar, the game’s defensive star, singled up the middle to drive in Santiago. Tony Gwynn, who collected his 1,500th career hit Wednesday night, bounced back to Burke setting up Carter’s heroics, a sharp bouncer up the middle.
"(It was) a little emotional roller coaster there for a while,” said Rodriguez, who picked up his first major league victory against no defeats. “But the intensity was very good in the dugout. We had a lot of confidence. Even before Benny got hit.”
Starter Ed Whitson pitched well enough to win most games, but not this one. Whitson allowed just one run on eight hits through nine innings. he lowered his earned run average to 2.53, second in the National League.
Naturally, Rodriguez, who yielded two hits and no earned runs in two innings, was quite pleased with his first victory. “Especially when you’re down and looking at an ‘L’ with two outs,” he said.
Strangely, in the 10th inning of Wednesday’s game, the Expos felt the same way.
The Padres thought they had won the game when home plate umpire Joe West called a balk on Burke with Roberts on third.
Roberts crossed home, the Padres were beginning a mild celebration for their come-from-behind effort, and then . . .
Expo Manager Buck Rodgers convinced West to get some input from the other umpires.
They discussed that Burke had stepped back off the rubber before making a pump fake to first and coming back to third with an attempt at nailing Roberts.
Replays showed it was an appropriate decision and Roberts was sent back to third. Garry Templeton grounded out to end the inning.
That game lasted seven more innings before the Expos finally won, 5-3, on a throwing error by Santiago on a pickoff attempt of Marquis Grissom at first base with Andres Galarraga on second. Galarraga came around to score as Santiago’s low throw skipped under the glove of first baseman Jack Clark and into right field.
Oddities were the norm in these two games, that combined, lasted 8 hours 29 minutes.
--The Padres stranded 28 runners in the two games, the Expos 25.
--The Padres scored just six runs on 28 hits, the Expos seven on 24.
--Joe Carter hit his 20th home run of the year in the sixth inning Thursday to give the Padres their first homer in seven games and second in 11. The last four Padres’ home runs belong to Carter, who also had his first four-hit game of the year.
--The Padres received six intentional walks, including four in Thursday’s game. Clark received two Thursday and one Wednesday.
--Clark, who did not start for the sixth consecutive game and was not expected to play because of a sore hamstring, played 11 innings.
--Alomar was just three for 14, but he extended his hitting streak to seven games going 9 for 34 during that span.
--Alomar set a club record for assists with 12 in Wednesday’s game and had eight Thursday. He also had eight putouts Wednesday and three Thursday.
--The Expos entered Wednesday’s game with the fewest wild pitches in the National League (14). They had three in the two games. Goff had two passed balls Thursday.
--The Padres used 20 players Wednesday and 15 Wednesday. The Expos also used 20 Wednesday and 17 Thursday.
--The Padres snapped the Expos’ seven-game winning streak, after the Expos had lost their previous six. Both were season highs.
--With their first two losses on this nine-game home stand, the Padres lost two in a row for the first time since July 16-23. Since then, the club is 17-7, including 10 of 14.
--Manager Greg Riddoch evened his record at 18-18 after starting 1-11 since taking over July 11.
--Singles by Darrin Jackson and Santiago in the ninth inning was the first time this season the Padres have had back-to-back pinch hits.
--Santiago took his first “day off” since rejoining the club last Friday, but ended up catching three innings after going the full 17 Wednesday. He extended his hitting streak to five games going seven for 20 since returning.
--Catcher Tom Lampkin, who started for the first time since Santiago’s return, was 0 for 2, extending a 0 for 19 slump after a seven-game hitting streak. He did, however, throw out Otis Nixon (fourth in the league with 37 steals) trying to steal second in the eighth inning. Lampkin has thrown out six of 12 runners attempting to steal.
--Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd had allowed no runs in his first 23 innings against the Padres this year, before Carter’s home run. Despite that, Rodgers lifted him for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning with the score, 1-1.
--And lastly, if still not convinced, stadium Diamond Vision scoreboard operators set a team record during Wednesday’s game with 48 replays shown.