Final

Series: Game 3 of 4

San Diego leads 2-1 (as of 9/30)

Game 1: Thursday, September 28
San Diego12Final
Arizona4
Game 2: Friday, September 29
San Diego1Final
Arizona3
Game 3: Saturday, September 30
San Diego3Final
Arizona1
Game 4: Sunday, October 1
San Diego7Final
Arizona6

Padres 3

(87-74, 44-36 away)

Diamondbacks 1

(76-85, 39-41 home)

    4:10 PM ET, September 30, 2006

    Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona 

    123456789 R H E
    SD 000021000 3 6 0
    ARI 000000100 1 6 0

    W: D. Wells (3-5)

    L: E. Gonzalez (3-4)

    S: T. Hoffman (45)

    Pads clinch playoff berth behind newcomer Wells, Cameron

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The old man knew how to rise to the occasion.

    David Wells saved his best of the season for when it was needed most, a dominating performance that has the San Diego Padres in the postseason for the second year in a row.

    Todd Walker
    Padres infielder Todd Walker trades his cap for some goggles to celebrate San Diego's playoff-clinching win.
    (Matt York/AP Photo)

    The 43-year-old left-hander threw six scoreless innings, not even allowing an Arizona runner to reach second base, and the Padres clinched a playoff berth with a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Saturday.

    "This is what I live for," Wells said. "This is what I've played for is the opportunity to pitch in a big game when it counted. There's nothing better."

    Wells, who missed his previous start with gout in his right foot, allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one in his 230th career win.

    "I've been here plenty of times. I've failed and I have succeeded," said Wells, who expects to retire after the playoffs. "I still had huge butterflies going out there today and it was even more emotional knowing that it was the last regular-season start of my career."

    With Arizona ace Brandon Webb scheduled to go on Sunday, the Padres knew their best chance to clinch was Saturday behind Wells.

    "There was so much pressure," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. "This was a huge game. He showed what he's all about."

    Mike Cameron's booming two-run homer was the difference as the Padres' win clinched consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history.

    "It turns out it was a very big hit at the time," Cameron said. "I couldn't be any happier than I am right now, just to get an opportunity to go out there and do it again."

    Whether the Padres advance as NL West champions or as the wild card team won't be decided until Sunday's regular-season finales. But that was no reason to squelch the celebration.

    "We're going to celebrate this, but not go overboard," Bochy said as champagne flew all around him. "It's a great day."

    The San Diego victory eliminated Philadelphia from postseason contention, while the Padres and Los Angeles remained tied for the NL West lead after the Dodgers won at San Francisco 4-2.

    If the two still are even after Sunday's games, the Padres get the division title because they won the season series against Los Angeles.

    Playoff appearances of 2006 teams
    Team Team History
    Times In
    Pennants
    Titles
    Yankees 1913-2005
    45
    39
    26
    L.A. Dodgers 1958-2005
    14
    9
    5
    Oakland A's 1968-2005
    14
    6
    4
    Tigers 1901-2005
    11
    9
    4
    Mets 1962-2005
    6
    4
    2
    Twins 1961-2005
    8
    3
    2
    Padres 1969-2005
    4
    2
    0

    The playoff berth is San Diego's fifth. The Padres also made it in 1984, 1996, 1998 and 2005.

    When it was over, the Padres rushed the mound around closer Trevor Hoffman, who earned his NL-leading 45th save.

    Champagne spewed everywhere in the locker room, where the Padres reveled as the first visiting team to clinch a playoff spot in Arizona. Wells burst into Bochy's office and emptied a champagne bottle over the manager's head.

    "You look too dry," Wells said as the two hugged.

    Moments later, an unsuspecting Wells was drenched with ice and water from the big tub where the champagne had been stored.

    Padres fans gathered above the dugout, cheering and chanting long after the game ended. Players came out onto the field to join the fans, dousing them with what seemed like an endless supply of the bubbly.

    The San Diego victory eliminated Philadelphia from postseason contention, while the Padres and Los Angeles remained tied for the NL West lead after the Dodgers won at San Francisco 4-2.

    If the two still are even after Sunday's games, the Padres get the division title because they won the season series against Los Angeles.

    The playoff berth is San Diego's fifth. The Padres also made it in 1984, 1996, 1998 and 2005.

    "Well, congrats to them. They've won it two years in a row," said the Diamondbacks' Craig Counsell. "We've come in and said the division's up for grabs and they've grabbed it two years in a row."

    Stephen Drew hit a pinch-hit solo homer off reliever Cla Meredith in the seventh.

    Wells (1-2) allowed four hits, struck out three and walked one in his first victory in eight outings, dating to a 6-4 win for Boston over Detroit on Aug. 16.

    "That's big-time Boomer, man," Cameron said. "He's been doing it for 20 years now."

    Since he was acquired by the Padres from the Red Sox on Aug. 31, Wells was 0-2 in four starts in his return to San Diego. The three-time All-Star was 12-8 with a 3.73 ERA for the Padres in 2004, his only full season in the National League.

    He was scratched from his scheduled start Monday, but said he felt fine for this one and responded by blanking an opponent for the first time this season.

    "He's known to come up with big performances in a big game," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said, "and he made really good pitches when he had to."

    The Padres didn't get a hit until Russell Branyan's single off Edgar Gonzalez to lead off the fifth. Cameron followed with a 455-foot shot far into the left field seats, his 22nd home run of the season, and San Diego led 2-0.

    San Diego added a run in the sixth on Josh Bard's RBI line drive off Gonzalez's glove.

    Juan Cruz, who has been in the bullpen but hadn't pitched since Sept. 16, started for Arizona and pitched two perfect innings.

    Gonzalez (3-8) relieved Cruz and allowed three runs on three hits in three-plus innings. He struck out two and walked two.

    Right fielder Carlos Quentin robbed Dave Roberts of a home run with a catch just above the fence to end the Padres' third.

    Game notes


    San Diego finished September 19-9, matching the most wins in the month in franchise history. ... Wells is sixth among active pitchers in wins. ... Roberts extended his career high with his 49th stolen base. ... Drew's homer was the 31st in ballpark history to land in the swimming pool in right.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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