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Wells returns home, throws six strong innings in Padres win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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SAN DIEGO -- David Wells' return to a playoff race -- in his hometown, no less -- was quite a sight.

Wells gave the Padres a boost on Sunday in a 2-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds that allowed San Diego to pad its NL wild-card lead. The 43-year-old left-hander threw six strong innings and even got on base twice, with mixed results. He helped manufacture the tying run, and later was thrown out trying to score.

"Today was special," said Wells, obtained on Thursday from the Boston Red Sox. "I was locked in and wanted to show these guys that the old man can still do it."

Josh Bard hit a bases-loaded single in the eighth to bring in the go-ahead run, and Trevor Hoffman pulled within seven saves of passing Lee Smith on the all-time list.

San Diego took a 1½-game lead over Philadelphia, which split a doubleheader with Atlanta. Florida jumped ahead of Cincinnati, which ended a 2-8 trip and fell into a tie with San Francisco, 2½ games back.

The defending NL West champion Padres are three games behind division rival Los Angeles.

The focus, though, was on Wells, who grew up in San Diego's rough-and-tumble Ocean Beach neighborhood and is more than likely in the final weeks of his successful, colorful career.

"I tell you, Boomer, he continues to amaze you," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had great command out there. I mean, at his age, to be doing what he's doing, he has a way of rising to the occasion, which he did today."

Wells didn't get the decision, although he held Cincinnati to one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out two and walked one.

"It's nice to come home and keep the team in the ballgame," said Wells, who pitched with the Padres in 2004. "It was hot and I didn't expect to be on base, and got stuck on base, but it was great."

With the score tied at 1, Wells singled to center with two outs in the fifth.

"I was just going up there, closing my eyes and swinging," Wells said.

He advanced on Dave Roberts' base hit to center. Brian Giles singled and third base coach Glenn Hoffman waved Wells around, but the hefty lefty was easily thrown out on a one-hop throw to the plate by right fielder Chris Denorfia. Rather than trying to slide, Wells just slowed down.

"He was trying to turn it on, but there was no gear left," Bochy said.

"At this stage of my career, it takes four singles to score me, or something in the gap when I'm on second," said Wells, who figured the exertion cost him two innings on the mound.

Even so, "Wells was effective," Cincinnati's David Ross said. "He does such a good job of changing speeds and constantly keeping hitters off balance."

In the eighth, two Reds relievers loaded the bases with one and Bard singled up the middle to bring in Khalil Greene.

Pinch-hitter Mike Piazza started the decisive rally off Rheal Cormier (2-3) with a leadoff single. Greene, who came off the disabled list before the game, replaced Piazza and advanced on Roberts' sacrifice. Giles walked, and Mike Cameron was hit by a pitch by Gary Majewski. Bard followed with his hit up the middle.

Cla Meredith (3-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 40 chances. He needs seven saves to break Smith's record of 478.

Cincinnati was in the wild-card lead at the start of this disastrous trip.

"It was a bad day, a bad series, a bad road trip," Reds starter Eric Milton said. "We're not by no means out of it. We have to look ahead and find a way to turn it around."

Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead in the second on Chris Denorfia's RRI single.

San Diego tied it in the third on an unearned run, thanks to some shoddy defense by the Reds. Manny Alexander singled to left and Wells laid down a sacrifice bunt right to Milton. The pitcher turned and bounced a throw to second, with Alexander sliding in safe on what was ruled a sacrifice. With Roberts up, Ross tried to pick off Alexander, but the catcher's throw bounced and then caromed off Alexander's leg as he slid back into second. Alexander got up and took third, then scored on Roberts' sacrifice.

Milton went six innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits. He struck out two and walked one.

Notes

  • Wells' last hit came June 26, 2005, at Philadelphia, while with Boston.
  • The Reds had an error for the ninth straight game.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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David Wells brings his arm and gut to San Diego, and puts both to good use in a solid performance.  (AP)
David Wells brings his arm and gut to San Diego, and puts both to good use in a solid performance. (AP)

Players of the Game
San Diego

J. Bard
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
Cincinnati

E. Milton
IP 6.0
H 5
ER 0
BB 0
K 2
 
Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, CF4010001
Royce Clayton, SS4000012
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4010001
Rich Aurilia, 1B4000002
Adam Dunn, LF3110110
David Ross, C4010001
Brandon Phillips, 2B3000002
   a- Scott Hatteberg, PH1010000
    Norris Hopper, PR0000000
Chris Denorfia, RF3021010
   b- Ken Griffey Jr., PH1000001
Eric Milton, P1000012
   c- Todd Hollandsworth, PH1000000
    Todd Coffey, P0000000
    Rheal Cormier, P0000000
    Gary Majewski, P0000000
Totals331711412 
a-singled for B. Phillips in the 9th
b-grounded out for Denorfia in the 9th
c-grounded out for Milton in the 7th
Batting
SH - Eric Milton ()
RBI - Chris Denorfia ()
2-OUT RBI - Chris Denorfia ()
SB - Royce Clayton (, 2nd base off Wells/Bard), Adam Dunn (, 2nd base off Wells/Bard)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Chris Denorfia 1, Ryan Freel 1
E - David Ross (, )
Cincinnati Reds
Eric Milton 6510020
Todd Coffey 1000010
Rheal Cormier (L,-) 0.1111100
Gary Majewski 0.2100000
HBP - Cameron (by Gary Majewski)
Pitches-Strikes - Eric Milton 86-63, Todd Coffey 15-11, Rheal Cormier 10-5, Gary Majewski 8-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Milton 5-11, Todd Coffey 1-1, Rheal Cormier 1-0, Gary Majewski 1-0
Batters Faced - Eric Milton 23, Todd Coffey 3, Rheal Cormier 3, Gary Majewski 3
San Diego Padres
Dave Roberts, LF2011000
Brian Giles, RF3010103
Mike Cameron, CF3000001
Josh Bard, C4011010
Josh Barfield, 2B4010002
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B3000011
Mark Bellhorn, 3B3000011
Manny Alexander, SS3110000
David Wells, P1010000
    Cla Meredith, P0000000
   a- Terrmel Sledge, PH0000000
   b- Mike Piazza, PH1010000
    Khalil Greene, PR0100000
    Trevor Hoffman, P0000000
Totals27272138 
a-announced for Meredith in the 8th
b-singled for Sledge in the 8th
Batting
2B - Josh Barfield (, Milton)
SF - Dave Roberts ()
SH - Dave Roberts (), David Wells ()
RBI - Dave Roberts (), Josh Bard ()
Team LOB - 6
San Diego Padres
David Wells 6511120
Cla Meredith (W,-) 2100010
Trevor Hoffman (S,) 1100010
Pitches-Strikes - David Wells 81-54, Cla Meredith 37-24, Trevor Hoffman 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Wells 8-8, Cla Meredith 5-0, Trevor Hoffman 1-1
Batters Faced - David Wells 24, Cla Meredith 7, Trevor Hoffman 4
Game Information
Attendance - 31153
Game Time - 2:28
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Field Culbreth