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Padres History

1996 Season Recap
  • Record for Month: 17-10
  • Position: First Place (2.5 games ahead of San Francisco)
  • Leading Hitters: Joyner .407, Gwynn .403, Caminiti .343
  • Leading Pitchers: Hamilton 5-1, Ashby 3-1, Hoffman 1-1 (5 saves)
  • April 5: The Padres pound out 15 hits off 4 Astros pitchers, as the Pads win 10-4 and take first place in the N.L. West by themselves for the first time since 1992.
  • April 11: The Padres end Greg Maddux's major league record 18-game road winning streak, and the Padres beat the Braves 2-1.
  • April 16: Ashby goes 4-4 with 2 doubles and 3 runs, becoming the third pitcher in the 1990s to rack up 4 hits in a game, while the padres beat the Rockies 10-6.
  • April 25: Caminiti extends his hitting streak to 12 games as the Padres sweep the 2-game series from the Cubs winning 8-3, and tie a season-high with their fifth consecutive win.
  • Record for Month: 17-10
  • Position: First Place (5 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles)
  • Leading Hitters (for month): Finley .318, T. Gwynn .307, Johnson .355
  • Leading Pitchers (for month): Ashby 4-1, Tewksbury 2-1, Hoffman 2-0 (6 saves)
  • May 1: The Pads notch their first home multi-homer game of 1996, slamming a season-high 4 home runs and running their record to a major-league best 18-10 beating the Giants 9-4.
  • May 13: The Padres win the first game of a homestand for the third time in as many tries as Valenzuela lowers his ERA to 2.93 and the Pads take New York 5-2.
  • May 24: Bochy wins his 100th game as a manager with the Friars' 13-1 win over New York.
  • May 31: Hoffman earns his 11th save as the Padres top the Phillies, 4-2.
Ken Caminiti
  • Record for Month: 9-19
  • Position: First Place (1 game ahead of Los Angeles)
  • Leading Hitters: T. Gwynn .314, Finley .283 (9 HRs, 25 RBI), Caminiti .257 (6 HRs, 19 RBI)
  • Leading Pitchers: Worrell 2-0 (0.68), Villone 0-0 (0.00 ERA in 12 innings), Hoffman 2-1 (5 saves)
  • June 1: Steve Finley cranks his third career grand slam in the 6th, and the Pads beat the Phillies 8-3. The club is now 15 games over .500 for the first time since 1989.
  • June 5: Tony Gwynn blasts a dramatic game-winning 3-run homer with 2 out in the ninth to snap a 3-game losing streak, as the Friars take the Cards 6-4.
  • June 18: Padres acquire John Flaherty and Chris Gomez, but lose 5-3 to Atlanta despite 3 hits from Gwynn and 2 each from Cianfrocco and Newfield.
  • June 27: The Padres tie a club record with 5 home runs and win the first game in a stretch of 22 straight against N.L. West foes, crushing the Giants 11-1.
Flaherty and Gomez catching
  • Record for Month: 15-12
  • Position: First Place (1/2 game ahead of Los Angeles)
  • Leading Hitters: Finley .381 (20 RBI), Flaherty .378 (16 RBI), Caminiti .357 (6 HRs, 26 RBI)
  • Leading Pitchers: Sanders 3-1, Tewksbury 3-1, Hoffman 1-2 (8 saves)
  • July 7: The Padres complete their second four-game sweep of the Giants (winning 10-3) in 2 weeks and go into the All-Star break in first place for the second time ever (1984).
  • July 16: The Padres score 7 runs on 4 Dodger errors through 4.0 innings and snap their 5-game losing streak humiliating them 10-1.
  • July 23: The Padres win this 3 hour and 27 minute game, despite stranding 15 runners. Bochtler and Hoffman each pitch perfect innings in this 7-4 win over Houston.
  • July 27: The Padres pound out a franchise record 20 runs in the longest 9-inning night game in N.L. annals, beating Florida 20-12.
Fernando tips cap
  • Record for Month: 18-10
  • Position: First Place (1.0 games ahead of Los Angeles)
  • Leading Hitters: Gwynn .373, Caminiti .344 (14 HR, 38 RBI), Henderson .338 (7 SB)
  • Leading Pitchers: Hamilton 3-1 (1.76), Sanders 4-1 (2.20), Valenzuela 4-0 (2.93), Hoffman (0.00, 9 saves)
  • August 1: Caminiti goes 2-4 with homers from each side of the plate for the first time this season, and the 5th time in his career, but the Braves still take this game, 3-2.
  • August 11: Padres complete their first-ever 4-game sweep at Three Rivers Stadium as Hoffman notches his 28th save, and Gwynn goes 2-4 raising his average to .455 since coming off the DL on August 6.
  • August 16: Valenzuela becomes the first pitcher to win a regular season game in Mexico tossing 6 scoreless innings, but is helped offensively with four home runs as the Pads beat the Mets 15-10 in Monterrey, Mexico.
  • August 18: A near scratch due to dehydration, Cammy takes 2 liters of IV fluids before the game, eats a Snickers bar, and hits home runs in his first two at-bats, single-handedly staking the Pads to a 4-0 lead after 3 innings. The Pads went on to win 8-0.
  • August 19: The day after the Snickers Game in Monterrey, Caminiti hits a grand slam in the first inning of 7-3 win over the Expos.
  • August 29: Hamilton pitches eight strong innings and Hoffman saves his ninth game of August as the Pads sweep the Mets in New York for the first time since 1977.
Steve Finley
  • Record for Month: 15-10
  • Sept. 2: Valenzuela hurls 7.0 shutout innings for his seventh straight victory as the Padres take the Phillies 5-1.
  • Sept. 3: With this loss, San Diego falls into a tie with Los Angeles for the first time since August 18.
  • Sept. 4: Gwynn records his 28th careeer 4-hit game, and the Pads beat the Phillies, putting them up one game ahead of the Dodgers once again.
  • Sept. 6: Gwynn, Flaherty, and Gomez each record two htis, but it is not nearly enough, and the Cards beat the Padres 8-3.
  • Sept. 7: Padres set a season-high using seven pitchers, but none of them can stop the Cards as they beat the Padres again 8-3.
  • Sept. 8: The Pads snap the Cards 8-game winning streak and end the roadtrip 7-5.
  • Sept. 9: In the second of three comeback wins, with Vaughn homering dramatically in the Padres' last at-bat.
  • Sept. 10: Finley finishes 4-5 with 3 RBI, and hits a 2-run homer off an 0-2 count in the ninth to propell the Pads to victory.
  • Sept. 11: A 2-out single in the bottom of the 9th by Gomez delivers the Pads' 4th straight come from behind win, 8-7 over the Pirates.
  • Sept. 13: Three rally-killing double plays by the Reds enable them to beat the Pads 3-1, and they fall 1/2 game behind the Dodgers.
  • Sept. 14: Reed brings this 12 inning game to a close by knocking in the winning run over Cincinnati 3-2.
  • Sept. 15: Only 8 1/2 innings are needed to beat the Reds this time as Hamilton wins his 14th game of the season, and the Padres win 8-0.
  • Steve Finley
  • Sept. 16: Hoffman and Finley are the stars today, with Finley hitting his 25th homer in the 11th, and Hoffy striking out 6 of the 11 batters he faced, downing the Giants 2-1.
  • Sept. 17: The Padres blow a six run lead, and Barry Bonds hits his 39th homer against San Diego in the 8th, and the Giants win 9-7.
  • Sept. 18: The Friars break a 4-4 tie with 3 runs in the 8th, and then Cammy hits his 37th homer in the 9th to beat the Giants 8-5.
  • Sept. 19: Dodgers come to town and romp on our Padres 7-0, with Mike Piazza and Eric Karros each hitting home runs.
  • Sept. 20: Finley avenges yesterday's loss hitting 2 home runs on his first 2 at-bats, and Cammy follows his lead hitting his 38th, and the Dodgers go down 4-2.
  • Sept. 21: The fans at this sellout are not happy as they watch the Dodgers crush the Padres 9-2 in this ugly game.
  • Sept. 22: Finley again is the hero with his 2-run homer in the 5th, enabling the Padres to split with the Dodgers with this 3-2 win.
  • Sept. 24: Finley, Gwynn, and Joyner each get three hits, and Finley and Cammy each hit a homer, but Dante Bichette hits his own, and the Rockies win 5-4.
  • Sept. 25: The Rockies sweep the Padres on this rainy night in San Diego, leaving the Pads 2 1/2 games behind the Dodgers.
Sept. 27-29: Faith Rewarded

Trevor Hoffman The Padres capped their most exciting season ever with a stunning 3-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles September 27-29 to capture the second National League Western Division title in the 28-year history of the franchise...down 2 games with 3 to play, the Padres headed up the freeway needing to sweep the Dodgers for the flag...Ken Caminiti won the September 27 series opener with a 10th-inning double as San Diego clinched at least a tie for the wild card berth, taking a 5-2 decision...Tony Gwynn was the hero the following day, breaking a 2-2 tie in the 8th with a 2-run single as the Pads assured themselves of a post-season spot with a 4-2 win...not since 1908 had an N.L. (division) title been decided in a head-to-head matchup on the last day of the season, but that's exactly what happened between the Padres and Dodgers.

In the regular season finale, Chris Gwynn's 2-run pinch-double in the 11th inning, knocking in Caminiti and Finley, gave the Padres a 2-0 lead and Trevor Hoffman notched his 3rd save in as many days, nailing down the N.L. West...on September 30, 1995, the Padres were forced to watch as the Dodgers celebrated their Western title on the Jack Murphy Stadium day short of a year later, the Padres returned the favor, celebrating their first division championship since 1984 at Dodger Stadium.

National League Division Series
Padres (91-71) vs. Cardinals (88-74)
St. Louis defeats San Diego, 3-0

1996 Division Series After winning the West on the last day of the regular season, the Padres were matched up against the N.L. Central champion Cardinals in the Division Series. St. Louis swept San Diego, outscoring the Padres by only 5 runs (15-10) in 3 hotly contested games.

In the opener at Busch Stadium, Gary Gaetti reached Joey Hamilton for a three-run home run with two outs in the first inning. Todd Stottlemyre, Rick Honeycutt and Dennis Eckersley made the lead stand up for a 3-1 victory. Rickey Henderson led off the sixth inning with a homer for the only Padres run. San Diego could not convert on opportunities to tie the score in the seventh and ninth innings en route to the series-opening setback.

Steve Finley Game 2 in St. Louis was decided during a dramatic eighth inning. The Padres, who had earlier trailed 1-0 and 4-1, entered the eighth trailing, 4-3. After Scott Livingstone and Henderson reached to open the inning, Tony Gwynn, batting against Honeycutt, sacrificed the runners over. A Steve Finley groundout tied the score, but the go-ahead run was stranded at third base. In the bottom of the inning, the Cardinals scored the winning run without managing a base hit. Tom Pagnozzi's slow liner off Trevor Hoffman's glove plated Brian Jordan to make the score 5-4. Eckersley saved his second consecutive game, and the Padres returned to San Diego in a 2-0 hole—the identical situation they faced a dozen years earlier before sweeping three in a row from the Chicago Cubs in franchise's only National League Championship Series appearance.

Brian Johnson Until the very end, Game 3 looked an awful lot like 1984. A sellout crowd of 53,899 fans at Jack Murphy Stadium cheered wildly as the Padres climbed back from 1-0 and 5-4 deficits.

St. Louis pushed across a run in the first inning and was threatening for more when Archi Cianfrocco gunned down Ron Gant at home plate for an inning-ending double play. The Padres took a 2-1 lead in the 2nd inning before Ken Caminiti added an opposite-field solo home run in the 3rd. With the Cardinals holding a 5-4 advantage after 7 1/2 innings, the San Diego third baseman put the final touch on his spectacular MVP season, drilling a Rick Honeycutt delivery over the right-centerfield wall for his third homer of the series, a game-tying shot.

Ken Caminiti Just as visions of San Diego's stirring 1984 playoff comeback were rekindled in the hearts and minds of the capacity crowd, the Cardinals' Brian Jordan took control of the game with his glove and bat, ending the Padres' magical season. With two outs in the eighth and pinch-runner Luis Lopez on second base, Jody Reed lined what appeared to be a go-ahead single to right-center. But Jordan raced over and dove head-first to spear the ball and end the inning.

In the top of the 9th, Jordan broke a 5-5 tie with a crushing two-run homer to left. Eckersley came on one final time and, as Caminiti waited in the on-deck circle, retired Finley for the final out. Despite the heartbreaking loss, San Diego fans stood and cheered the Padres, who returned to the field from the clubhouse and in turn recognized the fans for keeping the faith during an unforgettable 1996 season.

Tony swings In addition to the National League West crown, several Padres took home prestigious individual honors...third baseman Ken Caminiti was a unanimous selection as the National League Most Valuable Player after batting .326 with a club-record 40 homers and 126 RBI...skipper Bruce Bochy won both the BBWAA and The Sporting News' Manager of the Year Awards...Tony Gwynn hit .353 to win his 7th N.L. batting title, his 3rd in a row...Trevor Hoffman was named The Sporting News' N.L. Fireman of the Year, and both Caminiti and Steve Finley won their 2nd consecutive Rawlings' Gold Glove Awards.

Watch Game 3 of the 1996 Division Series in's Baseball Best.