Padres 1, Giants 0, 11 innings
SAN DIEGO (AP)—One night after clinching the NL West title, the San Diego Padres popped back above .500.
Brian Lawrence held San Francisco to three hits over nine innings and a lineup more suited for spring training beat the Giants 1-0 in 11 innings on Thursday night. Damian Jackson drove in the winning run with his fourth hit, a one-out single in the 11th.
The Padres improved to 80-79. They need to win two of three against the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend to finish with a winning record. No division winner has finished a non-strike year with a losing record.
“There’s some pride here,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We wanted to get that game. There’ll be a lot of talk if we don’t finish over .500. It would be nice to play well the rest of the way.”
Since 1969, and excluding strike-shortened years, the 1973 New York Mets own the lowest winning percentage of a division champion by going 82-79 (.509) to win the NL East.
David Ross started the winning rally with a bunt single leading off the 11th against Jeremy Accardo (1-5) and advanced on Sean Burroughs’ groundout. Jackson then singled down the left-field line, matching his career-high for hits.
Bochy rested all his regulars. San Francisco manager Felipe Alou played only four regulars, and Barry Bonds got the night off. The Giants haven’t said if Bonds will play at all in a season-ending home series against Arizona.
San Diego had runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth before pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney flied out to center.
Lawrence retired 12 straight and 16 of 17 before walking Yamid Haad with two outs in the eighth and allowing a single to Todd Linden. He then got pinch-hitter Randy Winn to fly out to center. Lawrence struck out five and walked two.
“It’s hard to throw much better than that. He made it look easy out there,” Bochy said.
Lawrence, who has struggled most of the season, would have gone back out in the 10th if his spot in the batting order hadn’t come up.
“The way I’ve struggled this month, and to go out and do well, it means volumes for whatever happens after this, to have confidence to go out there and know I can get outs still,” said Lawrence, who didn’t make it past four innings in any of his three previous starts.
“I think we hit about four balls hard today, or was it three?” Alou said.
“If they get pitching like that in the playoffs, they could be tough,” San Francisco’s Edgardo Alfonso said.
Lawrence doesn’t think it matters if the Padres finish with a winning record.
“We’re playing pretty solid baseball right now, so I think anybody who overlooks us right now, it’s going to be their problem to deal with,” he said.
Reliever Scott Cassidy (1-1) pitched two perfect innings for the win.
Giants starter Noah Lowry allowed three hits in six innings, struck out eight and walked two.
Bochy hasn’t announced his playoff rotation, but he did say that right-hander Adam Eaton is scheduled to start Sunday’s regular-season finale against Los Angeles.
Asked if that meant Pedro Astacio would start Game 2 of the division series next Thursday, Bochy said: “Not necessarily. You guys can speculate all you want.”
Eaton lasted only 3 1-3 innings Tuesday night against the Giants, getting a no-decision. He allowed six runs and nine hits.
“He needs to get back out there and pitch,” Bochy said.
Bochy said he would work the regulars back into the lineup over the weekend.
San Francisco reliever Scott Eyre pitched a scoreless seventh in his major league-leading 84th appearance. That breaks his own Giants record for appearances in a season by a left-hander, and is a career-high.
Bochy said he got a call at 4:30 a.m. from former teammate Rich Gossage, who was on the East Coast and had just found out about the Padres clinching the NL West. … The most surprising moment of Wednesday night’s clubhouse celebration for Bochy was when Robert Fick poured tequila over his head. “Nobody had as much fun as Ficky last night,” Bochy said. “I’m just glad somebody didn’t throw a cigar on me or something. I would have been like a torch running around.” … CF Dave Roberts, out with a strained left quadriceps, took batting practice and ran the bases before Thursday night’s game. He’s due back sometime this weekend.