MILWAUKEE (AP)—The San Diego Padres were in a pretty foul mood Sunday after blowing their second straight shot at wrapping up the NL wild card.
And it didn’t get any better once they got to the clubhouse, where televisions were tuned to the final outs of the Colorado Rockies’ victory over Arizona.
The Padres couldn’t overcome a shaky start by Brett Tomko and lost 11-6 to Milwaukee, opening the door for the Rockies to force a tiebreaking game at Coors Field on Monday night.
San Diego is pinning its playoff hopes on the only guy who could manage a smile Sunday evening—ace Jake Peavy.
“I think the spirits and the mood right now is a little downtrodden, but we’re going to get it up,” Peavy said. “I’m not going to let this happen tomorrow. I can promise you it’ll be a new day, the boys will be excited. I mean, this is why we play the game.”
San Diego needed to win one of the final two games of the season to lock up a postseason spot but lost 4-3 to the Brewers in 11 innings on Saturday. Trevor Hoffman needed just one strike to finish off a 3-2 win but gave up a tying triple to Tony Gwynn Jr., the son of the Padres Hall of Famer, and Milwaukee won it in the 11th on Vinny Rottino’s RBI single.
Sunday’s game wasn’t even close as Milwaukee pushed across two in the fourth, chased Tomko during a four-run fifth and added three more in the sixth on a bases-loaded triple by Gabe Gross.
At least San Diego will have Peavy to fall back on in the extra game. Padres manager Bud Black started Tomko against Milwaukee, choosing to save his ace for the potential tiebreaker.
“We had this mapped out for a while that it could come to this, based on what was happening over the last couple weeks,” Black said. “And that was the case. We feel good with Jake, obviously.”
Peavy has no record and a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Rockies this year. He spent part of Sunday watching video of the Rockies, just in case he’d have to face them.
“They’re as good as anybody in baseball,” Peavy said. “But they’re definitely a beatable team.”
Colorado held on for a 4-3 victory over Arizona to force the play-in game, as Padres players cheered and groaned like fans as they sat in the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park.
They quickly focused on the positives, starting with Peavy’s 10-1 record and 2.20 ERA over his last 13 starts.
“Jake’s going to win the Cy Young for a reason—he’s one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in the game,” Padres pitcher Chris Young said. “We’ve been swinging the bats well. Our bullpen’s been throwing well, minus a couple of innings the past couple of games. But we’re in great shape.”
Tomko (4-12) cruised through the first three innings as the Padres took a 3-0 lead but fell apart soon after that. He allowed five runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings.
Doug Brocail threw a tantrum in the dugout after giving up Gross’ triple, knocking equipment off a shelf and winging his hat to the floor—another sign that the Padres were unraveling.
Can they forget about the last two days?
“We have to,” right fielder Brian Giles said. “It’s a one-game season now.”
Black said the team’s mood was OK despite the discouraging loss.
“Obviously when you fall behind, and fall behind by a number of runs, it can be deflating,” Black said. “But our mood was, overall, fine. Guys kept having good at-bats.”
Jeff Suppan (12-12) pitched six innings to get the win as Milwaukee finished the season on an upbeat note with back-to-back comeback victories. The Brewers went 83-79 for their first winning season since 1992.
Still, they missed the playoffs—a disappointing end to the season for a team that held an 8 1/2 -game lead in the NL Central in late June.
“We played the way we would like other clubs to play for us in those situations,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “We were going to go full out. We feel like we owe it to major league baseball to give our very best effort even though we were eliminated.”
Milwaukee—the town, not the baseball team—also made off with some of Peavy’s money. The Padres pitcher went to a local casino Saturday night and lost his money clip.
A bad omen?
“I don’t think so,” Peavy said. “Just me being careless.”
Prince Fielder did not play because of a high right ankle sprain he sustained when San Diego’s Jason Lane slid into first base in the 11th inning on Saturday. … Veteran umpire Bruce Froemming, a Milwaukee native, received a standing ovation before working the final regular-season game of his career.