(Wednesday, September 28th)
Final Score: San Diego 9, San Francisco 1
San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Pedro Astacio twirled six-plus strong innings and Mark Loretta went 3-for-4 with two RBI as the San Diego Padres became the 2005 National League West champions with a 9-1 victory over San Francisco at Petco Park.
Ben Johnson also finished 3-for-4 and knocked in one run to help fuel a 15-hit attack, which allowed the Padres to sew up their first playoff berth since 1998 and just the fourth in the franchise's 37-year history. The Padres are division champions despite a current .500 (79-79) record.
The last time they captured the NL West, the Padres reached the World Series before being swept by the New York Yankees.
Astacio (4-2) shut out the Giants over the first six innings, but was charged with a run after letting the first two hitters reach in the seventh. The veteran right-hander, who has won his last four decisions, scattered seven hits and walked only one.
Closer Trevor Hoffman, the longest-tenured Padre, fittingly recorded the final three outs to wrap up the win.
"I couldn't be happier for (the players)," remarked San Diego general manager Kevin Towers afterward.
Barry Bonds, Ray Durham and Edgardo Alfonzo each collected two hits for the Giants, who made a late push for the division crown by winning eight of 10 before Tuesday's 9-6 loss to San Diego.
The Padres tagged San Francisco ace Jason Schmidt (12-7) for four runs over the first four innings en route to the playoff-clinching triumph.
Schmidt struggled from the onset, as he surrendered a leadoff single to Loretta in the bottom of the first and then walked Ryan Klesko before Brian Giles lined an opposite-field base hit to plate Loretta. Klesko then scored on Mark Sweeney's groundout for a 2-0 lead.
Johnson tripled into the right-field corner in the second and later came home on Loretta's sacrifice fly to extend the margin to three runs. San Diego would tack on another one inning later after Schmidt walked Sweeney, who raced to third on a single by Ramon Hernandez and then came home on Joe Randa's fly ball.
Giles crushed a triple off the center-field wall against Jack Taschner during the fifth and crossed the plate on a sac fly from Sweeney to put the Padres up 5-0. San Diego struck once more in the sixth when Khalil Greene doubled in Johnson, who had reached with a single.
Astacio held the Giant bats at bay until the seventh, when Durham led off with a double and Alfonzo singled to chase the Padre starter. Durham would eventually score on pinch-hitter Lance Niekro's sacrifice fly.
San Diego then put the game out of reach after erupting for three runs in the bottom of the seventh. After loading the bases with none out, Johnson, pinch- hitter Robert Fick and Loretta delivered consecutive RBI singles.
San Diego also won the National League West in 1984 and 1996...Astacio hasn't lost in seven starts since a July 30th setback to Cincinnati...Schmidt also hadn't lost since July 30th, winning his last five decisions coming in...San Francisco's Moises Alou went 0-for-3 and had an 11-game hit streak broken...Giles, Greene and Hernandez all had two hits.
09/29 01:35:28 ET