Alan Trammell may not be able to go home again. After what the resident of San Diego did to the Padres today in the World Series on behalf of his Detroit Tigers, he may be greeted not as a favorite son but a prodigal son.
Trammell smashed a pair of long two-run homers into the left field bleachers here in Tiger Stadium this afternoon to drive home all four runs in Detroit's 4-2 victory in the fourth game of the 81st World Series.
Detroit stands on the brink of its first world title since 1968 as the Tigers hold an all-but-prohibitive three-games-to-one lead. To make matters worse for the Padres, they must send run-of-the-mill left-hander Mark Thurmond to the mound here at 4:45 p.m. Sunday against the Tigers' classy 18-game winner, Dan Petry.
The Tiger who shared heroic billing with Trammell this smoky, cool autumn day was strapping Jack Morris. He mastered the Padres, allowing only five hits, for his second complete-game victory of this classic.
If the general tone of this World Series has been slapstick, then two men have stood way above the comic fray: Trammell, who had three hits in this game and has nine for the Series, and Morris, who has allowed only four runs in 18 innings.
This was, in fact, a three-swing game. Trammell Lightning struck twice, in the first and third innings -- both times with Lou Whitaker on base. The only Padre moment worth a memory was an upper-deck, second-inning line-drive homer by catcher Terry Kennedy. The Padres added a meaningless run in the ninth on a double by Steve Garvey, a ground out and a wild pitch.
Once again, as has been the case in every Series game, San Diego's starting pitcher was abominable. Eric Show lasted only 2 2/3 innings, giving up five hits and both of Trammell's blasts. The Tigers have greeted the Padres' four-man rotation in this classic with 14 runs in just 10 innings and have knocked out San Diego pitchers in the first, second and third innings in the last three games.
Maybe Thurmond can reach the fourth.
Also as usual, the Padres' bullpen was excellent beyond belief. Dave Dravecky entered in the third and slammed the shutout door for 3 1/3 innings while Craig Lefferts and Goose Gossage each worked a shutout frame. The trio of Dravecky, Andy Hawkins and Lefferts now has the amazing mark of 26 1/3 scoreless innings in the postseason.
In fact, the Padres' bullpen has allowed only one run in 24 innings.
Only four teams in baseball history have come back from 3-to-1 deficits, the most recent the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates. Certainly the Padres, the way they have played in this World War I-style park, don't look much like comeback material.
"It's kind of a repeat from the other losses," said Garvey. "Get behind early, get good middle relief, but the Tigers have the solid starting pitching. It's almost painless."
And dull. Even Manager Sparky Anderson seems to be in a sulk that his Tigers aren't showing more of their claws. "I wish we'd have one day where we play like we can play," he said, after Detroit had won its sixth postseason game in seven this year. "This team has been cheated a little. It wasn't shown people the way it can play (on national TV)."
Perhaps the only Padre showing life was crusty Manager Dick Williams. Asked how he would rate odds of winning this Series, he snapped, "Probably a lot higher than you would . . . I don't have to say a word to my ball club. They know what to do. They've won three in a row before."
"I don't believe either team is playing as good as they're capable," said the Padres' Kurt Bevacqua.
The Padres helped did their own hole immediately when Alan Wiggins was charged with a tough and debatable error on the Tigers' first offensive play. Trammell stepped up, got the room-service fast ball down the middle that the Padres' starters seem ordained to throw in the first inning and hammered it over the 340-foot sign in the left field corner.
"Wham bam, thank you, Tram," said the huge center field scoreboard.
Thank you, indeed. Trammell has been at the center of almost every Tigers offensive spark in this Series. He has two walks, six singles, an RBI double on Friday night and two homers today. He'd have had a fifth RBI in this game if the third base coach hadn't mistakenly held up Whitaker at third on a sharp, none-out single in the seventh.
After Kennedy's second-inning blow cut the lead to 2-1, Trammell stunned the Padres again in the third after Whitaker's single to right. This time, Show, who has allowed an amazing seven home runs in eight postseason innings, hung a slider down the pipe.
"I really hit that one," said Trammell, who had 14 homers in a .314 season. "I wasn't surprised, but I wasn't trying to pump it out."
"I know I'll be welcomed back to San Diego by my friends, but I don't know about the fans," joked the shy Trammell, who practically had to be pushed back on the field to take a standing-ovation curtain call ("I don't like to show people up . . . not my style.")
"San Diego is still my home. It's a beautiful city," added Trammell, "but you know who I want to win."
Whether the San Diego starting pitchers will be welcomed back to Southern California is another story. They have allowed 29 earned runs in 31 1/3 innings in nine postseason games.
In complete contrast to that incompetence was the excellence of Morris, who threw 98 pitches, 71 of them strikes, in a 2-hour 20-minute game. "It's not too hard to explain Morris," growled Williams. "He throws hard, had a good hard breaking ball, a good fork ball, keeps the ball down and doesn't walk anybody."
Yes, that will win you 103 games in the last six years. "Good enough," shrugged Morris, asked to evaluate his performance. "I'm glad when I get runs early because I can challenge the hitters and make them prove they can beat me with the bat (not with walks). I was kinda coasting a little bit in the fourth inning, but Kurt (Bevacqua) took a good swing (on a double) and that woke me up."
"Jack's kind of laid-back and lackadaisical sometimes," said Anderson, who used to fight with Morris but now has a fairly warm relationship with him. "The game's too easy for him sometimes. You knock him around and he snaps back to attention."
"This is as well as I've concentrated all year," said Morris, who is notorious for reeling off streaks of outs, then suddenly throwing two bad pitches -- ie., single, homer -- and undoing all his good work.
It's a very good thing for the Tigers that they have Trammell and Morris. Aside from Trammell, who's batting .563 and almost has a lock on the Series MVP award, the Tigers are hitting .182 as a team. Detroit hasn't scored a run yet after the fifth inning in this Series.
"I was hoping Trammell would get to play in a World Series," said Anderson. "I don't know what people have been looking at. He's the best shortstop in baseball and if he keeps doing this for 10 more years, I'll say he's the best I ever saw."
Trammell was the best that the Padres ever saw today.
Now the problem is San Diego's. Should the town give him the key to the city, or ride him out on a rail?