Series: Game 3 of 3

San Diego won 3-0

Game 1: Friday, September 24
San Diego6
Game 2: Saturday, September 25
San Diego6
Game 3: Sunday, September 26
San Diego7

Diamondbacks 1

(47-109, 22-59 away)

Padres 7

(85-71, 41-37 home)

    4:05 PM ET, September 26, 2004

    Petco Park, San Diego, California 

    123456789 R H E
    ARI 000010000 1 6 2
    SD 41000110 - 7 12 0

    W: J. Peavy (14-6)

    L: S. Sparks (3-7)

    Peavy lowers ERA to 2.25

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- While the rest of his teammates were running on adrenaline, slugger Phil Nevin needed four bags of IV fluid to get through a critical weekend for the San Diego Padres.

    Fighting a virus that's been going around the clubhouse, Nevin had IVs on Saturday night and again an hour before Sunday's game, which the Padres won 7-1 for a three-game sweep of Arizona that helped them make up ground in the NL wild-card race.

    Phil Nevin

    "I've been waiting a long time to play games that mean something this time of year," said Nevin, who hit two sacrifice flies Sunday. "I wasn't about to sit one out."

    Nevin joined the Padres in 1999, the year after they were swept by the New York Yankees in the World Series. San Diego had five straight losing seasons before rebuilding into a contender this year.

    With Jake Peavy pitching six strong innings to lower his NL-leading ERA to 2.25, the Padres pulled within 2½ games of the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card race and remained 4½ games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL West. Houston and San Francisco are also ahead of the Padres in the wild-card chase, and the Giants are two games ahead of San Diego in the division.

    Nevin was too sick to drive to his suburban home after Saturday night's win, so he checked into a hotel near the downtown ballpark. On Sunday, he skipped his usual postgame beer with teammate Brian Giles and sprawled on a clubhouse couch, watching football on TV.

    The Padres host the Giants for three games starting Tuesday night.

    "We've got a day off tomorrow so that'll be a lot of recovery time, and hopefully I'll feel good on Tuesday," Nevin said.

    The Padres know they've got to win their remaining six games and get help from other teams.

    "Crazier things have happened," Ryan Klesko said.

    After three games against the Giants, the Padres finish with three at Arizona, which has the worst record in the majors. That same weekend, the Giants play three games against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

    "This is not an insurmountable situation," Mark Loretta said. "We feel like we're playing our best baseball of the year."

    Several Padres have either been through or are currently sick with a virus, including Klesko, David Wells, manager Bruce Bochy and reliever Scott Linebrink, who was too sick to come to the ballpark Saturday and Sunday.

    "Especially where we are, nobody wants to miss these games for any reason," Loretta said.

    Peavy (14-6), in his second full big league season, allowed one run and three hits, struck out seven and walked two. He needs to pitch 1 2/3 more innings this season to qualify for the ERA title. The only Padres pitcher to win an ERA crown was Randy Jones in 1975.

    Peavy will make one more start. Winning the ERA title "would be nice, just to have a San Diego Padre in there and to represent the kind of year we've had," he said.

    Working on three days' rest for the first time in his career, the 23-year-old right-hander shut down the Diamondbacks until the fifth, when he loaded the bases with one out before allowing Chad Tracy's sacrifice fly that made it 5-1. Peavy hit Alex Cintron with a pitch to load the bases again, then got Robby Hammock to pop up to second base.

    "I think that was probably the ballgame," Peavy said. "There, you have to bear down."

    Three San Diego relievers finished the six-hitter.

    The Padres had 12 hits, all singles. They batted around in the first inning to take a 4-0 lead against Steve Sparks (3-7).

    The first three batters reached before Nevin hit a sacrifice fly. Loretta slid in ahead of first baseman Shea Hillenbrand's throw on Klesko's grounder, and Rich Aurilia and Ramon Hernandez followed with RBI singles.

    The Padres made it 5-0 in the second when Jay Payton hit a leadoff single, advanced on Loretta's single and scored on the play when center fielder Luis Terrero bobbled the ball for an error.

    Aurilia hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth and Nevin had one in the seventh.

    Arizona went 1-8 on its final road trip.

    "It's been a tough year," Hillenbrand said. "We just want to do what we can to finish strong and show pride in what we do."

    Sparks, who pitched well in three starts against the Padres earlier this year, allowed five runs, four earned, and nine singles in four innings. He walked three and struck out one.

    Game notes

    Loretta was hit on the left forearm by a pitch from Shane Nance in the seventh. He came out, but Bochy said it was because Loretta's quad tightened up. One batter earlier, Nance plunked Payton on the left shoulder. ... Loretta scored his 107th run, setting a Padres record for a second baseman. The previous mark was 106 by Alan Wiggins in 1984. ... Wells was throwing in the bullpen in the seventh inning. He said it was regular work between starts, but he would have been available if necessary.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press