Padres clinch NL West

Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2005

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres clinched the fourth division title in their 37-year history on Wednesday night, beating San Francisco 9-1 to return to the postseason for the first time since being swept by the New York Yankees in the 1998 World Series.

Midseason acquisition Pedro Astacio took a shutout into the seventh inning. Rookie Ben Johnson had three hits, scored twice and had an RBI, and Mark Loretta had three hits and two RBIs.

Trevor Hoffman, the only player who has been with the Padres continuously since 1998, pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Hoffman earned saves when the Padres clinched in 1996 and '98.

Barry Bonds went 2-for-3, both singles, for the second-place Giants, who were eliminated with the loss.

Astros 7, Cardinals 6

ST. LOUIS — Morgan Ensberg's tiebreaking double in the ninth inning, his fourth hit of the game, gave Houston the victory that maintained the Astros' 2 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.

With the score 6-6, Willy Taveras led off the ninth with his major league-leading 69th infield hit. He scored without a play on Ensberg's double into the left-field corner off Jason Isringhausen (1-2).

Houston swept a two-game series against the NL Central champions, finishing the season 5-11 against St. Louis.

Philadelphia beat New York 16-6 on Wednesday.

Phillies 16, Mets 6

PHILADELPHIA — Chase Utley hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs, and David Bell and Kenny Lofton each had four hits to keep Philadelphia's postseason hopes alive.

The Phillies avoided a three-game sweep and remained 2 1/2 games behind the Astros, who beat St. Louis 7-6.

Jimmy Rollins extended his club-record hitting streak to 33 games with a leadoff single, and Shane Victorino and Pat Burrell each homered during a seven-run eighth inning. Utley drove in two runs in the eighth to give him 101 RBIs, and the Phillies had a season-high 20 hits.

Pirates 3, Cubs 2

CHICAGO — Rookie Nate McLouth homered for the third straight day to lead Pittsburgh.

The Cubs finished the season 38-43 at Wrigley Field.

Paul Maholm (3-1), in his sixth major league start, outpitched Mark Prior (11-7), who lost to Pittsburgh for the first time in his career. Maholm gave up two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Rockies 10, Braves 5

ATLANTA — Colorado's Clint Barmes drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double in the sixth. Fourteen rookies started for the Braves and Rockies, including the starting pitchers for both. It was the most rookies to start a major league game since Sept. 24, 2003, when 14 started for Cleveland and Minnesota.

Jeff Francis (14-12) gave up seven hits and four runs, three earned, in five innings for Colorado.

Nationals 11, Marlins 7

MIAMI — Preston Wilson homered and had five RBIs and Nick Johnson added a home run and four RBIs as Washington swept the three-game series.

Miguel Cabrera had three hits, including his 33rd homer, and four RBIs for the Marlins, who lost their season-high sixth straight and 12th in 14. Rookie Jeremy Hermida also had three hits, including his second home run.

Esteban Loaiza (12-10) allowed six runs and 10 hits in six innings.

Reds 11, Brewers 4

MILWAUKEE — Adam Dunn hit his 39th home run and Felipe Lopez drove in three runs to lead Cincinnati.

Chris Capuano (18-11) pitched five innings, giving up six runs and eight hits. It was the second straight game he allowed six runs, although he was able to get the win over St. Louis on Sept. 23. He was trying to become the first Brewer to win 19 games since Teddy Higuera won 20 games in 1987.

Aaron Harang (11-13) pitched 7 1-3 innings, giving up four runs and 14 hits.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3

LOS ANGELES — Luis Gonzalez hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning and Arizona won for the seventh time in eight games.

The Diamondbacks have a seven-game winning streak against the Dodgers, and are 12-5 against them this year after going 3-16 against them last season.

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