The San Diego Padres kept their National League West hopes alive by beating the Giants 6-4 in the opener of their do-or-die, three-game series in San Francisco on Friday.
San Diego’s win kept the Giants from clinching the division title and kept the pot boiling for the last two National League playoff berths to see who will join East winning Philadelphia Phillies and Central champions the Cincinnati Reds in the post-season.
Trailing the Giants by three games with three left to play, the Padres (89-71) pounded San Francisco (91-69) starter Matt Cain for nine hits and six runs in four-plus innings, including homers by Ryan Ludwick, Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Stairs.
Victory by the Padres also improved their chances for the consolation prize of a National League wild-card berth.
San Diego moved within one game of wild-card leaders the Atlanta Braves (90-70), who fell 11-5 to Philadelphia.
Playoff possibilities abound.
Should the Padres sweep the Giants, they would play a one-game playoff against San Francisco in San Diego, California, tomorrow for the National League West crown. If San Diego and the Braves finish tied for the wild-card, they would play a one-game playoff in Atlanta, Georgia.
Should all three teams end up 91-71, the Giants would play the Padres in San Diego for the National League West, with the loser going to Atlanta on Tuesday to play the Braves for the wild-card.
In the American League, the New York Yankees were rained out of their series opener against the Boston Red Sox, but were given the inside track to grabbing the American League East title as the Tampa Bay Rays were blanked 7-0 by the Kansas City Royals.
The Yankees were scheduled to play a doubleheader yesterday against the Red Sox, before their season finale today.
The American League East champions will get home-field advantage and open at home against American League West winners the Texas Rangers. The wild-card team will travel to Minnesota to play Central champions the Twins in their best-of-five first-round series.