SAN FRANCISCO - The San Diego Padres showed up in San Francisco on the verge of elimination, their hitters in a serious funk and plenty of people counting them out.
Two wins and they’re right back in the mix to win the National League West or land the wild card.
“We’re back,” shortstop Miguel Tejada said. “Everybody knows we don’t have tomorrow.”
Heath Bell stopped a Giants rally in the ninth inning and the Padres beat San Francisco, 4-2, on Saturday, leaving a pair of NL playoff races in question heading into the final day of the season.
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The Padres still must win today to have a shot at the division title. If Atlanta then loses again Sunday to the Phillies, the Giants and Padres would both celebrate playoff berths simultaneously at AT&T Park — the winner as the West champion, the loser as the wild card.
If both the Padres and Braves win Sunday, San Francisco would play at San Diego on Monday to determine the West champion and the loser would play at Atlanta on Tuesday for the wild card.
“It’s one that you want to win, both sides want to win,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Have to? I don’t know. We’re in a situation where we do have a little margin of error but we’d certainly like to win it.”
Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI single with one out in the ninth for the Giants, but Bell got pinch-hitter Jose Guillen to ground into a game-ending double play with runners at the corners.
Tim Stauffer gave San Diego another clutch start, and the Padres pulled one game behind the Giants in the NL West.
“I really haven’t thought about all the scenarios,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. “As a group we’ve really thought about coming up here and winning one game.”
THREE TEAMS, TWO SPOTS
A look at the National League West and wild-card scenarios for the Giants (91-69), Padres (90-71) and Braves (90-71):
• If the Giants beat the Padres today, San Francisco is the NL West champion. If the Giants win and Atlanta beats Philadelphia, the Braves win the wild card.
• If the Giants win and the Braves lose, San Diego and Atlanta tie for the wild card. A one-game tiebreaker would be Monday in Atlanta.
• If the Padres win and the Braves lose, San Diego wins the NL West and San Francisco is the wild card. The Padres win the division because they won the season series against the Giants.
• If the Padres win and the Braves win, San Diego, San Francisco and Atlanta all finish 91-71. The Giants and Padres would play a one-game tiebreaker for the NL West title Monday in San Diego. The loser would then go to Atlanta for a one-game playoff for the wild card Tuesday (the Braves would host because Atlanta won the season series against both teams).
McClatchy news services