Padres shut out Cubs to keep hopes alive

Los Angeles Times - - Sports - Kevin Bax­ter

In ad­di­tion to be­ing man­ager of the San Diego Padres, Bud Black has a de­gree in fi­nance. So he knows some­thing about math.

And the num­bers he’ll see in Thurs­day morn­ing’s news­pa­per won’t be en­cour­ag­ing.

Even though Chris Young and four re­liev­ers com­bined to beat the Chicago Cubs, 3-0, on Wed­nes­day, the Padres still trail San Fran­cisco in the Na­tional League West by two games be­cause the Giants also won, beat­ing Ari­zona, 3-1, be­hind an 11-strike­out per­for­mance by Tim Lince­cum (16-10) and a three­run home run by Pat Bur­rell.

The Padres also re­main 11⁄

2 games be­hind At­lanta in the wild­card race af­ter the Braves com­pleted a three-game sweep of the Florida Mar­lins with a 5-1win.

And time is run­ning out on the Padres’ flick­er­ing post­sea­son hopes since San Diego has only four games to play.

Black also knows enough about chem­istry to be­lieve his team can over­come the odds.

“There is an esprit de corps among cer­tain teams,” Black said. “Our group is a group that has a lot of team chem­istry. They just care about each other and care about play­ing.”

If they care about mak­ing the play­offs, they’re go­ing to need a huge se­ries against the Giants this week­end and an aw­ful lot of help from the Philadel­phia Phillies, who close out the Braves’ reg­u­lar-sea­son sched­ule.

To have a chance to win the West, the Padres must beat the Cubs on Thurs­day, hope the Giants lose to the Di­a­mond­backs, and then win at least two of their three week­end games in San Fran­cisco. To win the wild-card berth, they’ll have to do the same thing and hope the Phillies win two of three at At­lanta.

And if all that hap­pens? Then the three teams would fin­ish the sea­son tied, forc­ing two one-game play­offs to de­ter­mine who ad­vances.

It’s about the best the Padres and their op­ti­mistic man­ager can hope for.

In the Amer­i­can League, Tampa Bay was shut out for the sec­ond time in three games, fall­ing to Kevin Mill­wood and Bal­ti­more, 2-0, in front of a packed house in the Rays’ home fi­nale. Man­age­ment made sure the game would be a sell­out, giv­ing away 20,000 tick­ets.

But the New York Yan­kees failed to take ad­van­tage, los­ing, 8-4, to the Toronto Blue Jays. New York trails Tampa Bay in the East by half a game. That’s no small mat­ter since the di­vi­sion win­ner will start the post­sea­son at home against West cham­pion Texas and the sec­ond-place team will ad­vance to the play­offs as the wild­card team and open at Min­nesota, the Cen­tral win­ner. kevin.bax­ter@latimes.com Bax­ter re­ported from Los An­ge­les

Nhat V. Meyer

TEAMWORK: Pitcher Tim Lince­cum, right, and first base­man Aubrey Huff con­grat­u­late each other af­ter get­ting an out.

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