Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Jan. 27
Last game of the season, who cares, right? Apparently, the Padres care, fighting back from being drunken under the table. Down six runs, the Padres chipped away and downed Milwaukee's finest on Wednesday, the last game of the season, 7-6.
Impressively, at one point in the game, San Diego was down 6-0 and never gave in. Padres starter Andrew Werner was responsible for all of the runs that the Brewers scored, but his teammates came through to get him off of the hook.
But the Brewers came hard and fast in this last game of the season for both squads. They started in the first inning and never let up on Werner.
In the bottom of the first inning with one out, Rickie Weeks singled to center field. After Ryan Braun lined out, Weeks stole second base and Aramis Ramirez singled Weeks home and the Brewers took a quick 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Brewers added on when Carlos Gomez singled to center field to open the frame. Gomez took second base on an errant pick-off throw by Werner, and then stole third base before Travis Ishikawa grounded out, plating Gomez, and the Brewers were up on the Padres 2-0.
And it really went bad for the Padres in the bottom of the third inning. Norichika Aoki singled, and Rickie Weeks struck out, but Ryan Braun singled to put runners on first and second base with one out.
Jeff Bianchi then flied out for the second out in the inning, but Jonathan Lucroy doubled home Aoki and sent Braun to third base. After Werner intentionally walked Carlos Gomez to load the bases, Travis Ishikawa belted a double to clear them, Cory Burns then replaced Werner and got Jean Segura to ground out to end the inning, but the Padres trailed 6-0 to the Brewers after three innings.
But San Diego whittled away at that lead slowly. Chris Denorfia hit his 8th home run of the season over the right field wall in the top of the fourth inning and the Padres trailed 6-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Brewers replaced starter Josh Stinson with reliever Kameron Loe, and the Padres got busy in a hurry. Alexi Amarista pinch-hit for Cory Burns and opened with a double.
Everth Cabrera then hit an infield single, putting Amarista at third base. Cabrera then stole his 44th base of the season, and Amarista scored when Brewers shortstop Jean Segura failed to catch the ball.
After Will Venable accounted for the second out, with Cabrera taking third base, Chase Headley hit a ground-rule double (after review, as it was first ruled a home run), and Cabrera scored, and the Padres trailed the Brewers 6-3.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Padres continued to climb up on that lead. Brandon Kintzler replaced Kameron Loe for the Brewers and Chris Denorfia greeted him with a single to right field, and then Cameron Maybin homered to left-center field, his 8th of the season, and the Padres were within a run at 6-5 in favor of the Brewers.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Padres completed their coup de grâce, their bastard swords thrust mightily into the sternums of the braumeister's hearts. Jim Henderson replaced Kintzler and he duly granted Will Venable a walk.
Chase Headley then tripled, with Venable simply dancing home to tie the score. After Yasmani Grandal struck out, Yonder Alonso hit a sacrifice fly to center field and Headley tagged and scored and the Padres were up a run and held the fort nicely.
Padres relievers stayed the course, and the Brewers couldn't manage a rally. Climbing back, down six runs, and winning, says a lot for this Padres squad, let's hope this is what we'll see next season out of the gate.
Hey, give it up for Everth Cabrera, most stolen bases in the National League. Everth nabbed 44 bases this season, tops in the NL and that was accomplished with fewer plate appearances than his competition. And Chase Headley topped the National League in runs batted in with 115 this year. Simply awesome, considering the extremely poor start by the club and the lowered expectations thereafter. Baseball is a team sport, with individual contributions meaning more than in many other team sports. So, kudos to Everth and Chase, well-deserved and let's hope this carries into next season.
No games on Thursday, and no more Padres games in 2012. We'll have some follow-up stuff here for the next week or so, grading and guessing and raking Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-verse over the coals, the rat-bastards. We'll try to be entertaining through all of the vitriol, that's all that we can promise at this point. And if any breaking Padres news occurs, we'll be all over it between now and spring training; meanwhile, enjoy the playoffs.