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David Brown

Crack a smile, San Diego: Padres win, Giants, Rockies, Braves lose

Big League Stew

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All of the San Diego Padres should be sporting ear-to-ear grins like the one Miguel Tejada(notes) had after hitting his 300th career home run Wednesday night.

The Padres, by virtue of their 3-1 victory against the Dodgers, along with losses by the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves, allowed them to gain ground on each of their key adversaries.

Whether it's the NL West race (the Padres jumped back into first place by a half-game) or the wild card scrum (they would lead there, too), San Diego controls its own course with 11 games remaining in the regular season.

"With three teams out there, it's going to be a nail-biter," Padres reliever Heath Bell(notes) said.

The Rockies might have bitten off more nail than they can chew; Ace Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) got knocked around by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Colorado dropped its third straight to fall three back in the West and the wild card.

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To get swept, by the lowly D-backs, right before a three-game series against the Giants at Coors Field starts Friday night, would be really poor timing. Right, skipper Jim Tracy?

"We need to take a major step forward tomorrow night because you certainly wouldn’t feel too good about yourselves from a momentum standpoint going home after getting swept here, that’s for sure," Tracy said. "Tomorrow's a very, very big game for us."

The Giants, even after inexcusably falling to the Cubs, have more wriggle room than the Rockies. They also have three more games against the Padres, at AT&T Park, to finish the regular season.

But let's not get too ahead of ourselves. For the moment, the Padres can allow themselves a little bit of a smile.

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