The Padres won their first extra-inning game of the year Wednesday in their second-to-last series, coming out on top 5-2 in 10 innings.
The team left San Francisco with a whisper of a chance to claim the final National League wild-card slot, having eliminated the Giants by taking two games of the three-game set.
Chicago and Miami are tied for the spot heading into the final weekend of the season with Cincinnati and the Padres clinging to life.
One advantage for the Padres – they will play the woeful Chicago White Sox, which could suffer a 100-loss season if the Friars sweep. And they must do so to stay alive.
But there are several disadvantages – the Cubs and Marlins play Thursday, so the Padres could be eliminated during their off day. Both teams must lose their final four games to give the Padres any path to the playoffs.
“We’re going to need some help over the next four days where hopefully a miracle comes,” first baseman Garrett Cooper told the Associated Press.
They certainly got a boost in the Bay Area. San Francisco has compiled a 3-10 record down the stretch and the Giants made three errors Wednesday, including two in the decisive 10th.
Xander Boegarts gave his team the lead with a sacrifice fly to score Trent Grisham before Fernando Tatis Jr. reached on the first error, by shortstop Marco Luciano. After an intentional walk to Juan Soto, catcher Patrick Bailey made another, on a pickoff attempt, to move them to second and third.
Manny Machado almost followed with a three-run homer – it fell harmlessly on the wrong side of the left field foul pole – but he came through with a blooper that landed in short left amid a trio of converging Giants.
The victory gave the Padres a 1-12 record in extra innings on the year and some relief from the potential for tying an expansion club, the 1969 Montreal Expos, for the most losses in extra frames.
“Guys are still fighting hard trying to get the best record we possibly can,” manager Bob Melvin said. “Until you’re out of it, you know you’re still in it. That’s kind of what’s inspiring us at this point.”
The Padres will send Nick Martinez and Michael Wacha to the mound for the first two games of the series. Sunday remains TBD, though it would be Cy-Young contender Blake Snell’s normal spot on the season’s final day.