SAN DIEGO (AP) -- As desperate as they are, the San Diego Padres
will take a victory any way they can get it.
Pinch-runner Khalil Greene scored the winning run on third
baseman Chad Tracy's fielding error with one out in the ninth inning and the Padres kept their slim playoff hopes alive by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 on Friday night."There's really not any tomorrow for us right now," said Jay Payton, who went 4-for-4 to tie his career high for hits. "Every game is an utmost, crucial one for us."The Padres remained 4½ games behind the Chicago Cubs in the
wild-card race and 5½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.The Padres gave David Wells a 4-0 lead in the fifth inning but the lefty gave it right back to the Diamondbacks, who scored five runs in the sixth on seven straight singles.San Diego came back in the ninth with two runs against closer Greg Aquino (0-2), who blew a save for the second time in 15 chances.San Diego's winning rally started when Rich Aurilia singled to left and was replaced by pinch-runner Kerry Robinson. Ramon Hernandez followed with a double into the left-field corner, but Robinson had to pull up at third.Greene, unable to play shortstop because of a broken right index finger, ran for Hernandez.Robinson scored on Ramon Vazquez's fielder's choice grounder to third when catcher Chris Snyder couldn't hold onto the throw from Tracy.The benches cleared after Payton was hit on the left biceps and took a few steps toward the mound, but no punches were thrown and there were no ejections.That loaded the bases and brought up Mark Loretta, whose hard grounder bounced off Tracy's leg to bring in Greene."It was an in-between hop and I guessed wrong," Tracy said. "It was one of those things that if you bobble it, it's the ballgame."It was one of two Diamondbacks errors, pushing their big-league high to 134."I don't want to keep talking about the defense," manager Al Pedrique said. "We should have won the game."Akinori Otsuka (7-2) pitched two innings for the win."We got lucky at the end, but that's what happens when you put the ball in play," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.With one out in the sixth, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases on bloop singles by Shea Hillenbrand, Robby Hammock and Snyder off Wells. Luis Terrero hit a broken-bat, two-run single to left, and pinch-hitter Alex Cintron singled to right to reload the bases.Pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga singled to center to pull the Diamondbacks to 4-3 and chase Wells. Antonio Osuna came on and allowed Scott Hairston's two-run single, giving the Diamondbacks the lead.Wells said he'd never seen an inning like that, so he was happy when the Padres rallied in the ninth."I figured there's an inning where we were going to get a little bit of that as well," Wells said. "We caught a break. I figured we earned it. They got a few of them in the sixth."These guys showed me a lot of poise and character out there by not giving up, and going out and taking it to the last out and making things happen," he said.Hammock went 4-for-5, tying his career high for hits.Wells, whose start was pushed back one night because of a sinus infection, allowed five runs and nine hits, struck out three and walked two in 5 1/3 innings.Chased after the Padres' four-run fifth, Diamondbacks rookie lefty Michael Gosling allowed four runs and five hits, struck out one and walked two. He was coming off a 3-2 victory over NL Central champion St. Louis.Payton extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He hit a two-run triple in the four-run fifth and then scored on a wild pitch. Alex Gonzalez hit an RBI double.
The flulike symptoms that forced Wells to miss his scheduled start against Los Angeles on Thursday night have also afflicted Bochy and RHP Scott Linebrink. ... It was the fourth time in six games that Payton had at least three hits.