Padres defeat Astros
3 games to 1
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Sep. 29||SD 2||HOU 1|
|2||Oct. 1||HOU 5||SD 4|
|3||Oct. 3||SD 2||HOU 1|
|4||Oct. 4||SD 6||HOU 1|
Managers: Bochy, Bruce, SD; Dierker, Larry, HOU
Path to the NLDS: San Diego (98-64) won the NL West by 9 ½ games; Houston (102-60) won the NL Central by 12 1/2 games.
Trevor Hoffman threw the final pitch in all four games, and that included a walk-off single by Bill Spiers on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth in Game 2, with Ricky Gutierrez scoring the winning run. That 5-4 Houston victory at the Astrodome tied the series at a game apiece, but it also marked the Astros' last home game of the year.
The other three times, Hoffman got the job done.
In Game 1, he bent but didn't break, allowing an RBI single to Moises Alou in the bottom of the ninth before retiring Carl Everett and earning the save for a 2-1 Padres win. In Game 3 at San Diego, Jim Leyritz's solo homer in the seventh inning gave the Padres a 2-1 lead, and Hoffman slammed the door shut by striking out the side in the ninth. And in the clincher, a two-run pinch triple by John Vander Wal and a Wally Joyner two-run homer in succession gave the Padres a 6-1 lead in the eighth. Hoffman pitched the ninth for the fourth time in a row, a 1-2-3 inning that secured San Diego's first postseason series victory since 1984.
Randy Johnson struck out 17 Padres and walked two over 14 innings, but his 0-2 record told much of the story in this series. He had little offensive support -- the Astros hit only .182 in the NLDS -- and the Padres basically waited him out both times, doing most of their damage after he had been removed. Larry Dierker's Astros had won 102 games during the regular season, still the most in their franchise history through 2015, and yet their season was somehow suddenly over - the second of what would be three consecutive NLDS ousters from 1997-99.
San Diego then flew across the country to Turner Field for the NLCS to face a Braves team that had won 106 games in the regular season and swept Chicago. Beating the Big Unit twice had been an impressive act, but Hoffman, Tony Gwynn and the Padres were just warming up.