From 21-year-old budding superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. to 36-year-old reliever Craig Stammen, the San Diego Padres tossed aside more than two decades of futility and brought joy to a city that’s had its sports psyche beaten down for far too long.
Stammen and eight fellow relievers combined on a four-hitter in a brilliant, record-setting effort that sent the Padres over the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 Friday night in the deciding Game 3 of their National League wild-card series in San Diego.
The Padres won a postseason series for the first time in 22 years and advanced to face the NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series at Arlington, Texas, starting Tuesday.
Stammen, making his first start in 10 years, said the Padres weren’t wrapped up in past playoff failures, including being eliminated from the playoffs by the Cardinals three times since 1996.
“We’re trying to write our own piece of history right now,” said Stammen, who mentioned the Padres’ return to a brown and gold color scheme. “It’s icing on the cake to maybe turn the page on some of the San Diego struggles in the playoffs against the Cardinals, turn the page on maybe some struggles within the organization, the blue Padres, and now we’re the brown Padres. Excited to build some memories with the new colors.”
The nine pitchers marked the most used in a nine-inning shutout in any big league game since at least 1901.
With starters Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet unavailable due to injuries suffered in their final regular-season starts, rookie manager Jayce Tingler was forced to tap the Padres’ already-stressed bullpen and it came through magnificently. San Diego became the first team in baseball history to use eight or more pitchers in three straight postseason games.
“What those guys did this series and tonight, wow,” Tingler said. “They’ve been overworked, they’ve been overtaxed. Man to man, everybody came up and said, ‘I’m good, give me the ball. I’m good, give me the ball.’ Tonight, for me, was as team-oriented as so many guys contributed again.
“That’s who we are. That’s why we’re going to continue to keep playing.”
Trevor Rosenthal, who started his career with the Cardinals, struck out the side in the ninth and the team began celebrating in empty Petco Park. Players gestured toward fans who watched from balconies overlooking the ballpark. Fans crowded downtown and honked car horns and chanted.
This was the first postseason series victory for the Padres since the 1998 NLCS.
Tatis, who homered twice and drove in five runs in Thursday night’s wild 11-9 victory, doubled into the left-field corner off losing pitcher Jack Flaherty with one out in the fifth and scored on Eric Hosmer’s two-out double to right-center.
The Padres added on against reliever Alex Reyes in the seventh, on a bases-loaded walk to Hosmer, Manny Machado’s fielder’s choice and an error on third baseman Tommy Edman.
Rookie Jake Cronenworth homered in the eighth.
The loss ended a season that saw the Cardinals shut down by a virus outbreak in the early going. Manager Mike Shildt’s team earned a playoff spot last Sunday by winning on the final day of the regular season.
Marlins 2, Cubs 0: Garrett Cooper homered against Yu Darvish in a two-run seventh, hard-throwing rookie Sixto Sánchez dominated for five innings and Miami won its first playoff series in 17 years, beating host Chicago to complete a two-game, wild-card series sweep.
Miami will face Atlanta in the NL Division Series in Houston starting Tuesday.Cooper gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead with two out in the seventh with a drive into the seats beyond the left-field wall. Matt Joyce doubled off the glove of diving center fielder Ian Happ, and Miguel Rojas chased Darvish with an RBI single.
Winner Brad Boxberger threw 1 1/3 innings. Former-Cub Brandon Kintzler gave up a leadoff double to Jason Heyward in the ninth then struck out the next three batters.
Chicago missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2014, then scored one run in its return. The Cubs haven’t advanced since the 2017 team lost in the NLCS.
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